Sirp Saga Takes Another Twist as Kender Resigns
After two weeks of controversy that culminated in the culture minister vowing to resign, the Sirp scandal took one more twist when the cultural weekly's interim editor Kaur Kender announced early Monday morning that he himself would resign, after just a week and one issue under his belt.
Kender's appointment, along with the firing of senior editors at the newspaper, had precipitated the whole affair. Some felt that that Reform Party politicians, led by Culture Minister Rein Lang, had exerted too much influence in the matter after the newspaper was unable to pick a new editor.
Kender and editor Robert Kurvitz announced their resignations early this morning on the website of the ZA/UM group of artists, which had authored the vision document for the new, revamped Sirp.
"We are stepping down as Sirp acting editor in chief and editor," said the statement, posted a little before 1am.
The reason given was that they had quoted the unpublished work of poet Andres Aule. Aule had taken to the pages of the Eesti Päevaleht daily to protest Kurvitz's quoting from unpublished poems.
"In the last weeks, despite attacks from political circles, creative societies, educational institutions and the press, we were able to launch a cultural publication with a great concept. But we failed on a poetic level. This is the only error we made and it's all that matters to us," wrote Kender and Kurvitz.
The culture minister, Rein Lang, was among the people they thanked. "We ask the prime minister not to satisfy his resignation request," Kender and Kurvitz wrote.
In the one issue of Sirp that he edited, published on Friday, Kender wrote a leading article in which he reflected on a childhood trauma and likened his role to that of a heart surgeon trying to save a dying patient.