Monday, August 24, 2009

The Baltic Way 20th anniversary - post factum

The 20th Anniversary is happily over. Thanks to the organizers, volunteers , and orienteering enthusiasts in all the three Baltic States this rather sporty anniversary was a success. Unusually hyperactive Latvian electronic media channels were somewhat overflown with nationalistic utterances and thus the whole anniversary reminded me of the PR campaign for certain political class/es in Latvia. Throughout the August 23 the Latvian electronic media was reminding that there are about 15 000 registered participants from Latvia, while in Estonia there are 5000 and in Lithuania 3000 only. At the end corrections of participation numbers "made" Estonians into laggards of the Baltic Way 20th anniversary participation and Latvians came out as winners with about 50 000 participation rate and leaving Lithuanians in the middle. I felt that these constant reminders about high rates of Latvian participation somehow overshadowed very good speeches of Mr Toomas Hendrik Ilves in Tallinn and Ms Dalia Gribauskaite in Vilnius.


I ran my couple of kilometers in Ķekava (411 km of the Baltic Way), and rather expected, the feeling on the Baltic Way 2009 was emotionally and qualitatively different from the one in 1989 which I had near Tallinn. Sportsmanship was there and I saw several sports teams and families with their offsprings spending their Sunday commemorating the paramount summit of the Baltic unity that rather ironically commemorates one of the nastiest secret deals of realpolitik (Ribbentrop - Molotov Pact).












However, I was missing the feeling of Baltic unity. It is a fragile concept this Baltic unity, because its existence came about more like an historic paradox. And it was not missing just because Estonia and Lithuana in Latvia sounded just as a point of reference for the event commemorating the historic event, when about 3 million Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians joined their hands in defiance of the Soviet empire of evil and so reminding the world that injustice of August 23, 1939 and subsequent June 16/18, 1940 would be undone one day. I missed the feeling also because I believe that the present governors of Latvia do not deserve neither to commemorate nor celebrate this event. First, they have miserably failed doing all the necessary homework required to enable sustainable governance of their represented nation state. Second, their complacent behaviour is far from over, because former ministers and present MP's still dare to speak out like boorish politicians from the state that just learns to coexist in the family of nation states. As a proof here you have just a quick excerpt from an interview of the worst Latvian minister of finance (Atis Slakteris) given to the July 2009 number of O KLUBS.



Q: What makes you to enjoy politics, why aren't you the simple Atis, who works on his farm?



A: (Waits for rather long time) "All in all I am still the simple Atis. (while laughing) I came to politics gradually, because I never aspired to be in politics. But I became a minister because I had mobile telephone (!transl. note), which I had because I bought a used one for 800 USD, and it had an antennae - like a big whip. You see, people could reach me, and so I became a member in the first Šķēle government."

Those are the former ministers who still kill their time shamelessly in the Latvian parliament that is habitually in recess when the worst economic crisis has hit Latvia. Politicians like the official court jester of Latvian Saeima Juris Dobelis happened to run with his family, and rather positively he did not start his filibustering diatribes on the route. Other politicians still believe that that they can continue their short term back stabbing policies and they believe that their mishaps are possible to undo with the help of some money and effective PR campaign. Probably, just like some of them did also during the 20th Anniversary of the Baltic Way celebrations. Anyway, end is good and all is good. Some 50 000 Latvian active citizens were shaken up from their daily routine and probably made to think also about how atomized the Latvian society is today. I hope that at least some of them thought about it prior the economically harsh autumn and winter sets in. Freedom, accountable political class, and rule of law does not land from heaven, those virtues must be won first and what is as important - those virtues must ensure continuation of the domestic checks and balances system that would enable the vigilant civil society to enjoy comfort of the commonwealth continuously.











P.S. Also Gatis Šļūka has added his poignant view on the Baltic Way 2009


Text in Latvian: EST & LIT talking about LAT: "She is absolutely sick! Should move farther away in order to not to get infected"

31 comments:

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balso par Spoliti!

Veiko Spolitis said...

Michael:

Balsot kur un kāpēc:)

V

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