Who's in charge here? By Abdul Turay Published Postimees 23 December 2009
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is an eccentric chap. He is from an aristocratic background, earns the equivalent of 2,500,000 kroon a year, is wealthy anyway, but he likes to get about by public transport. As mayor he holds sway over millions of people. He is charge of a budget that runs into billions of pounds, he makes decisions for one of the world's three financial hubs, he's a powerful man.
The mayor of Tallinn you all know. He is runs a city of about 400,000 people with a budget of 700 million kroon. He is by some measure more powerful. In fact even the mayor of a small town like Haapsalu, a man by the name of Urmas Sukles, is more powerful than Boris Johnson. How so? To understand this we have to look at the way local government is run in Estonia
On paper there is nothing usual about local government. By the standards of many countries, Estonia has a remarkably simple system. Many countries…
Pyrrhic victory By Abdul Turay Published Postimees 23 October 2009
Tallinn let out a collective howl of anguish this Sunday night. Everybody knew what the results of the local elections would be, yet still people didn't want to believe it was true.
It was a resounding victory, an absolute triumph for the Centre party, or so it seems. They got an absolute majority in Tallinn, 53.5 per cent of the votes, better than last time round.
Overall they did better than even recent polls have predicted. The Centre party won 31.1 percent of the popular vote. If this result was reflected in a general election it would make the Centre Party the large single party in Riigikogu.
At least as far as Tallinn is concerned I was wrong about one thing. Savisaar is not “almost” the champion of the silent majority. He is simply the champion of the silent majority
Tallinn is the big prize and as mayor Edgar Savisaar will continue to be a major player in national affairs. In a highly centralised country like Esto…
Abdul Turay: The man who annoys Estonians Interview by Priit Pullerits Published Postimees 14 November 2009
He came here like a breath of fresh air. Some say he is showing us how the world sees us. Others question how he dare say something about us. A year ago, a black man shocked Estonia when he wrote a couple of sentences in Postimees which enraged the nation.
“Suppose in three or four years, Russia decided to try its luck and attack Narva. We can be certain the United States and the whole West will condemn it publicly. But don't rule out the possibility that the United States and NATO are actually doing nothing, because the President's wife is privately thinking: 'Ah... Estonia, isn't that the little small-minded white country, to hell with them.'”
Curiously this do not lead to Turay becoming a pariah, quite the opposite. Through his work he has become an opinion leader (though he himself does not agree with the title). His opinion pieces have become eagerly anticipate…
Black men, Estonian women: the truth By Abdul Turay Published Postimees 11 November 2009 Well that got your attention; the headline I mean. Any story on this subject, the technical term is miscegenation, is bound to get punters. The yellow media, women's magazines and reality TV shows are obsessed with the subject. Not a month goes by without some publication writing about it. Anne and Style, for example, recently ran a long feature about mixed couples. Most of these stories are muddle-headed and wrong. There's paranoia in this country that there is an army of dark-skinned men form Turkey, the tropics, some place south, who are going to make off with the nation's women. It's never going to happen. I'll explain why in a minute. Seriously, I think there are more important things to think about and worry about. I worry about feeding my family. I worry about other people being able to feed their families, so I write about politics and economics. But the press won't leave…
Black man flies solo By Mart Zirnask Published Eesti Ekspress 2 October 2009 Political observer Abdul Turay columns' are causing politician to line up, publicly to churn out replies. What lies behind this phenomenon?
One day, Abdul Turay was walking through a small birch-edged Tallinn parking lot Suddenly a young gentleman, driving a car shouted out: “Hey nigger, you fucking nigger! Get the fuck out of my country!!”
For fun Turay answered him in French (which he learned in his native country of Great Britain). The other person was silently surprised for a moment and then carried on shouting abuse.......also in French. “Totally unbelievable,” Turay said rolling with laughter. “Then I thought for a moment that this is indeed an odd country.” Turay didn't say there is large scale racism in Estonia. He did say he has had more positive experiences than negative ones. But he wouldn't permit the paper to name the cafe where we rested for a chat. (Ed note: because it's near where I liv…
I do not regularly read the weekly paper The Baltic Times, but sometimes, especially whilst flying, it catches the eye. It's one of the few, if not the only English language press publications, which reflects events in the Baltics. I am not up-to-date about who is behind this publication today and what is going on with the editorial line. But especially recently, I have noticed very bizarre editorial choice and stories of questionable journalistic value being published. Yesterday on a plane back from Riga I picked up and read TBT's latest number (August 20-26 668). In the attached opinion piece stared back the heading: “The difficult lessons of Estonia's foreign policy”, authored by Tartu University “political scientist and foreign policy analyst” Anna-Maria Galojan With this somewhat ambitious title she glorified herself. Galojan's story is one of strangest articles I have re…
Estonia needs a bail out package (Response to The sexiest man in Estonia) by Kadri Simson Centre party faction chairperson Postimees 4 September
On 2 September, British journalist, Abdul Turay commented about my position that Estonia needs to boost its economy with a support packet model like US president Obama's. Looking critical at the content of the article, gives rise to the question, did the foreign journalist critically read through the proposal. The journalist understands that aid packets by the governments of the USA and Great Britain are above all to get banks out of difficulties and points to how this proposal is irrelevant in Estonia, as here we don't have our own banks. Unfortunately Turay is fighting with non-existent adversaries, because my proposals for an economic boost packet didn't even deal with banks, in that part. Obama package content, which deserves to be followed in Estonia, is compensation for decrease in internal demand through state orders, whi…
The sexiest man in Estonia
Return of the silent majority (well almost)
By Abdul Turay
Published Postimees 2 September 2009
The three faces of Savisaar
At a festival atLinnahall a public figure stepped on the stage, gave a speech and announced it was his birthday. The crowd oohed and aahed like he was a movie star. They were lapping up his every word, they loved him. This was more than just charisma, this was pure sexual magnetism. Unless the paper have stuck a picture of Brad Pitt next to the story, you know where this is heading.
There is more to Edgar Savisaar than Estonia's answer to Brad Pitt though. He is more of a cross between the aforementioned Hollywood star, Richard Nixon and Jesus.
A visitor to Estonia would get the impression that everybody, everywhere hates the mayor of Tallinn. A friend described how her 14 year old daughter had scrawled abuse on Savisaar's poster, which for some inexplicable reason was in the school poster board. Actually she didn't finish …
How Estonia made Michael Jackson a megastar By Abdul Turay
Years ago as an undergraduate student I had conversation with someone who was studying psychology. I didn't know anything about the subject at the time, so I asked him what he thought of Sigmund Freud. He said something so simple and so sage that I have never forgotten it. “He was a genius, but he was one genius out of many geniuses.” What he meant was that fame and genius are not the same things. Freud was one of a number of men and women doing ground breaking work in his field. Though he became more generally known by the public at large, Freud wasn't better than these other pioneers, he was simply more famous. The same principle can be applied to any field; physics, acting, invention, history and pop music. Some would have us believe that Michael Jackson was somehow superior to everybody else working in showbiz. That he was the world's greatest entertainer, a megastar in a premier league all by himself. He was no…