Andres Põder: What will we have in place of Soviet monuments?
The removal of Soviet monuments should spark the question of how we feel about our own national monuments. Let us find the time, reason and dedication to replace the monuments war with monuments culture, Andres Põder writes.
The government is deserving of recognition for its decisive action removing the Narva tank and other Soviet monuments. While it was said last decade that monuments should not be combated, their role in information warfare and shaping people's mentality and identity is clear by now.
Naturally, I would like to see a time and mental culture where even hostile symbols could be treated as artifacts to remind us of the past and render us wiser. At the same time, we can see temples thousands of years old blown up and statues of Christopher Columbus torn down as they are still seen as symbols of injustice and foreign power today. Mankind's road to conciliation and understanding is still long.
The removal of something begs the question of what will replace it. A question Narva Mayor Katri Raik has also asked. "We cannot just take away, and must give something in return," Raik said. Of course, I do not think that people who used to take flowers to a tank symbolizing the taking of the city will start taking them to the Blue Hills Memorial instead. However, what are the possible pro-Estonian alternatives?
The removal of Soviet monuments should spark the question of how we feel about our own national monuments. Unfortunately, I have come across several disintegrating and neglected War of Independence monuments when driving around the country. Groups of just a few people only gather there a few times a year. Forgetting something is even easier than removing it.
What could inspire the elderly, schoolchildren and even foreigners to visit them? Where and how could everyone show respect to our country and its founders, their sacrifice and love.
When will the War of Independence Victory Column be covered in flowers, much like the Bronze Soldier? True, its creation didn't go smoothly and every work can be criticized. It is clear that pejorative attitudes have also been amplified and fueled by the local Kremlin agency to discredit the moment of victory over Russia as much as possible. It is high time to change attitudes and see in it a manifestation of national pride and unity.
I believe that those who feel differently can be convinced if we care about our own history, heroes and monuments. If paths leading to places that serve as symbols of our faith, freedom and independence are not allow to overgrow. Let us find time, reason and dedication to replace the monuments war with monuments culture.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski