minu võiduessee inglise keeles. my winning essay in english.

Ma otsustasin et kuna ma lühendasin inglise keelse variandi puhul teksti ja muutsin lausete struktuuri, siis eesti keelset varianti siia ei panegi. seda enam et too on 10 lk. pikk.
I decided that since I made the english version of the essay shorter and changed the structure of the sentences a bit, I won´t publish the estonian version here; besides that´s 10 ps long.

Essay: How to be an estonian (on the 21st century)?

In my opinion Being Youself is such a universal question, that national borders and the Time bounce back from its surface, thus "21st century" is put in brackets.
In 1991, when we claimed our independence, a very thought-provoking and touching movie hit the screens in USA. It is the story of a tender and talented Edward, who, from the loneliness of his dream castle suddenly runs up against a prejudiced, but thursty for sensation suburb society.
To me, tha fate of Estonia and estonians seems somewhat familiar: did we not get into a new world, a new situation after regaining independence, a world showing a friendly face, but treating us with precaution. As individuals we have been wiggled from one environment and set of rules into another, we´ve had to adapt to different world philosophies and lifestyle, none of which is really WE. All that has destorted our self-image and national pride, made us doubt in the most important things: is there a place in the World for us, The Way We Are? It is so easy to surrender to what is impliged to you if you doubt in yourself, yet trying to do your best to be accepted.
Imagine yourself into the body of Edward Scissorhands. Imagine that you´ve been pushed from familiar surroundings into a strange space with different rules - rules you have not studied yet.
We study a lot of things inside a culture and from the culture we live in. Unfortunately most of the things that matter in the Real World cannot officially be learned from any school or other isntitution. We have to learn looking away from rules we know, we study many two-sided truths that no one honestly understands nor can they step out of that game for the sake of preserving their comfort and known routine. we are asked to be on one hand "our own sweet selves" but also Something More. because if it is Only Us, we are Not Good Enough.
On the side of this we get a crumb of patriotism stuffed into us. But patriotism is affection to your country, and no affection can be forced, it can only grow in you influenced by personal positive experience. For Edward the Boggs family was the only anchor in that confusing and unstable society. Thats how Edward Scissorhands developed affection to the family of Boggs, and that is how most people learn to love the things of personal importance.
When something we truly care about is attacked, an affection, even the one we have not been aware of till that moment comes, can suddenly emerge. we do not have time to argue about the rights and wrongs of sticking to certain beliefs and values. We act, fast and often surprising ourselves , so admitting the true importance of something, a country, a person, a belief for us.
Not always are our self- sacrificing deeds rated fairly and objectivly. For the estonians, The Second World War was something that has caused false beliefs, prejudices and accusations, based on only how things appeared and the world view of The Stronger Side, not for once considering the backgrounds and motifs of some actions.
Thus men, who put on a uniform of german army for Workforce ( Arbeitmacht?) are often categorized as cruel SS soldiers simply because they also carried a svastika on their sleeve. In truth many of them never even got a single gun to protect their life while they were working on roads and rebuilding hospitals, still some diplomatic instances demand they be accused and sent to justice.
Like the scissorhands for Edward, people react at what they see and not what they know. Who could firmly stand up for himself when looked at with blinders, eliminating the possibility of listening and understanding? You can lose all hope. Men went to war not because they believed what one or the other side told them. They had personal motifs, very personal. They hoped to promote their career, get a better economic security, and simply because you have now choice when the tanks are in your back yard.
Red Army on one side, the nazi on the other, that situation reminds me a lot of the drama taking place in Edward´s castle with Jim and the angry suburb people both after Edward in serak of a final result brutal in case of any scenario you imagine.
The people who have lived before us have had to make a lot tougher choices than we ever have. We have to find a peg Boggs in us to shout: "Leave him be! it is just a scratch!! If we do not turn the false beliefs upside down now, we might transfrom from "exceptional" into "freaks" in the eyes of the blindfolded Majority. this is not so impossible, since despite the strive to be Northern Tigers, IT country, natural paradise, we are quite often still referred to as "Ex -USSR", former allies of nazis (although the Red Terror had us on hook during war for a much longer period than the germans did). Or then we are seen as Eastern Europe, and in best cases we are the most retarded sista´ of the imagined siamese triplettes called "The Baltics". Maybe it is impossible to create a different view of ourselves in just 15 years of independence to people who have lived in a different society and environment 50 years longer than us - after all, we were suddenly imposed on them 15 years ago like some unknown, weird, handicapped creature from behind the seven seas. we have not broken that view completely even after 15 years. For a country, a decade in one cultural space is much like a day in suburb for Edward, no one has a chance to really get to know him in that time yet, and it can only cause gossip, loathing, disbelief and confusion.
But nevertheless it is not hopeless, after all we did survive something far worse than Edward´s suburb - the Soviet Occupation. It does seem downright amazing doesn´t it? What helped Edward to be (even if temporarily) accepted? well, his skills - in fact, the very thing that made him a "freak". and for estonians, our creativity and different aesthetical discourse helped us survive.
During the soviet time, some enterpreneurial female artists started to give home decoration and crafts advice to people through magazines they compiled. through the aesthetics and home culture we preserved and presented a side of the national identity that most charactrizes us - the Home. It is the most important thing and a center of estonian life and has always been. Home is to us like the castle where Edward chamfered his ice statuettes, a place to be ourselves and be safe mentally and physically. At a time when differing from the "soviet standards" and lifestyle often brought accusations of nationalism and being a "public enemy", at a time when Being Yourself was considered a handicap and a criminal offence inside the System, estonian environmental and home culture, crafts and applied arts won the right to be Exceptional and be a role model for everyone else in USSR. Our home culture had an effect on the soviet lifestyle, no doubt, not quite at the same amount that Edwards creations changed the suburb, but still.
The Edward of the movie was chased back into his castle. You, who you tried to cope with his role, think now: you´ve done a lot better, haven´t you? You are here, not alone, among people you have so much in common with. The sense of Belonging is not a distant, melancholic memory but your present day. Wherever you go, you can firmly say Who You Are, Where You Are From and Where is Your Home.
The main thing creating national pride is a sense of Belonging. Without that a person is often like Edward Scissorhands . incomplete and pushed aside. On the other hand, the culture would be poorer, incapable of inner debate and self analyze without people like that, without exceptions. What unites us is tolerance and appreciation toward one another, and a societal acceptance towards differences.
We also cant let the flaws and deficiences of the society change us until we are the opposite of Ourselves and we can´t cut all ties and run away, thats only possible in a movie. In real life we need this environment and culture to be able to show Who We Are. Everyone needs that place where they can be themselves. preferably not a lonely castle up on a hill, but among others, a society that accepts us and connects with us.
Affection towards a country cannot be practiced in front of a mirrow like an American Smile. Especially if the society around us is not flawless. The love and respect towards our environment, society and ourselves only come from the fact that here and now we are accepted and acknowledged The Way We Are. So come shake hands with me, Edward.


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