Wednesday’s Globe and Mail’s Technology section revealed what many have suspected for some time – Canadians have too much time on their hands, living in cyberspace on average for 43.5 hours a month, - more than an unionized work week. (Yep, the devil sure finds a use for idle hands and minds.) This figure is almost twice the international average, and it should go without saying that the category obviously includes the worthies and the less-than-so, who read EE Online and feel the compulsion to comment.
(The link to the G&M article is to be found on this site in the local news section, http://www.eesti.ca/index.php?... )
It remains a mystery to many, why people hide behind the presumed shield of anonymity and post nasty comments for the sake of lambasting the expression of a viewpoint. Rather than comment on the validity of the argument made or raise points to support opposing perspectives, far too many debate why a viewpoint is even allowed to be expressed in an open public forum. Take for example something that the undersigned discovered this morning on EE Online – a vitriolic series of comments by someone whose limited ability to understand the topic at hand has evidently not matured in step with his age. I say his, for this commentator chose to attack an International News item about women in a truly chauvinistic way, asking what interest that news item holds for the Estonian community. News is news.
Estonia, and Estonians do not live in a vacuum. As the state is a member of the European Union, it behooves everyone to be aware of what is taking place in the European Union. As members of the global community, it is certainly prudent to be up-to-date on what is transpiring elsewhere. And for those Canadian-Estonians, so proud of their ancestral roots, one is certain that a broad-minded view of governmental policy, be it on a local, provincial or federal level, can only be of benefit.
Why this parochialism? Misguided as it is, it is only reminiscent of the era of the “kaikamehed”, those valiant patriots who frowned upon, nay outright assailed and threatened Estonians living abroad who had the temerity to be in touch with their countrymen. The sin of those countrymen/women? The fact that they lived in Soviet occupied Estonia, hence had to be commies.
It is truly sad to realize that the kaikamehed are alive and well as pusillanimous online blow-hards. Hats off to those frequent positive commentators who are far from craven, posting under their own names and e-mail addresses. Note here that this latter group is almost always positive, unlike the vast sniping majority.
What good is there is such negative activity for our community abroad? These comments are generated by people, perhaps alienated from the community but more likely leading members of the same, who do not like the idea of an open, unbiased forum available to all, with only the goal of remaining apolitical and providing access to information that does not always reach the mainstream. Just as some people join political parties to be amidst likeminded individuals in a communal sense, others perversely enjoy being the ones who create schisms within congregations if not even in churches, or other social organizations whose raisons d'être are to work for the benefit of others, not to serve an agenda, hidden or otherwise.
Do these people not realize the harm that they are doing, fracturing an already small polity? This is reminiscent of Soviet policy, as well as seen in the U.S., where babbling heads jump on the soap-box and polarize the one country in the world that should lead through example, being the UNITED States.
It can be argued that being united is also a form of brainwashing or herding the populous into uniformity stifling individualism (again, the USSR was the Soviet UNION). Something as Estonians we were supposedly fundamentally opposed to. Pardon the capital emphasis, but otherwise some readers might just not get the point.
Finally, it is well-known these days that it is not all that difficult to track the origins of users and “anonymous” commentators. My advice to the Editor of EE Online might be to post some of this information in this public and democratic forum. Many names are familiar, the Maxims and Olevs are easily dismissed. Yet they are only the tip of the iceberg, others are much more devious. In true Orwellian fashion, Big Brother can also unearth their identities. After all, if there are hundreds of negative comments coming from one individual, especially from people who are in trusted positions, - or to be fair, aspiring towards them: Would that not be news? Perhaps even international news?
Let’s end this with the question: Qui bono? Who do you think benefits from this cowardly undermining? And if the answer is not immediate, no matter your IQ, then rather obviously a modified version of Pogo’s maxim applies – we have seen the enemy. And it is amongst us. Estonians.
Too much time on their hands (1)