The psychobabbling food-loving seamstress.

The Baltic State’s 1939 – 1991

Posted in Uncategorized by Ambs on December 8, 2009

So… Anyone who knows me well enough by now, would know how badly I want to make my way to Latvia and Estonia.  Mostly for the fact that it is where my family heritage lies.  My Nanna and Grandad were Estonian and Latvian respectively, and were forced out of their countries during the second world war.
Unfortunately I never really got to speak to my Nanna about what she saw during the war.  I do know that by the end of the war she new how to speak, Estonian, Latvian, German, Russian and English.  That she spent a majority of the war in “labour camps” throughout Estonia, Latvia, Russia, and finally in Germany, after being captured in a forest, where her father was trying to hide her (it was the last time she saw her father).  She met my Grandfather in either one of those camps or in a Refugee camp (I think it may have been the latter).  I remember it being described to me that she saw him from afar and knew she liked him (sounds like I may have picked up her romanticized view of the world!).   My grandfather on the other hand was a part of the Latvian Army, fighting off the Soviets (who illegally invaded Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania after the German/Russian non-aggression pact was signed).  I vaguely remember a story being told by my grandfather about walking for twelve days and eating rations, they saw no one, and then they were captured (I think?  Mum?  Tonia?).  Nanna was about 18 or 19, and I’m not sure how old Grandad was, I think he was about 20 or 21.

I have been messaging a friend and asking her about her experiences in Bosnia during the Bosnian/Seb War. Also profusely apologising for not actually understanding what she was going through when we were younger.  I used to live in my own little world (sometimes I still do!).
Anyhow, countering this, she admitted to not knowing abut the Human Rights violations by the Russians in the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), during their occupation from 1939 – 1991.

I’m trying to be as accurate as I can, but I’m sure I’ll miss a fair amount of information.

Such was the instability at the time, The Baltic States were invaded by the Soviets Twice and the Nazis once.

The first Soviet Occupation lasted from 1940-1941.  From the giving of orders to the all out invasion, it took about 6 days for The Soviets to take control of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  They had annexed them from the rest of the world.   From what I can gather, many people were caught and deported under The Serov Instructions, which detailed the procedures and protocols  in which to deport non-Soviet Nationals.  Most non-Soviet nationals were deported to Siberia, many of them lost their lives in inhumane conditions.
So, when the Nazi’s invaded The Soviet Union in 1941….
….the Nazi’s invaded from Poland, the people were over-joyed as they thought they were being liberated from Russian Rule, unfortunately not.  The German’s policy was harsh, and deported thousands of Jews (along with Estonian’s(apparently conceived as the most Aryan of the three states), Latvians and Lithuanians) to labour and death camps.  Lithuania was one of the most heavily hit area’s by the Nazi’s.  With the Nazi invasion of Poland the Jewish population in Lithuania grew from 160,000 to 250,000.  By the end of the Nazi occupation in 1944, 95 – 97% of the Jewish Population had been killed.  It was the highest Genocide rate in Europe.
IN 1944, as it was becoming more apparent that The Germans were going to be defeated, The Latvians joined the Germans to fight off the invading Soviets, the Estonians went to help the Finnish, and The Lithuanians joined the Germans as well.  They thought this would help them with their call for independence as states.  The Soviets invaded in 1944, and stayed in power until 1991, after the wall fell in 1989.

In this very dark period of Baltic history, the Soviets used threats of violence, mass deportations and torture to bring the Baltic states into alignment with their views.  A perfect description of what happened in rural Estonia is written about here.
Russification had taken full hold by now:
The Learned Estonian Society, the Tartu Art Institute, and the Estonian State Theatre Institute were closed down, and scientists and university lecturers were dismissed from their posts. Books were burnt, monuments demolished and cemeteries ravaged; a total ideological control was set up to keep an eye on the entire intellectual life of the country. Intellectuals were made to serve Stalinist propaganda: to produce songs, works of art and plays extolling the virtues of the Stalinist regime. In the course of this ‘cultural revolution’, the occupation powers tried to root out everything that reminded people of independent Estonia; even the traditional administrative system was changed”, quote from Estonica.

During The Soviet annexation and occupation from 1944 to 1991, The Soviets bought in any measures they could to keep the people in line.
According to Article 58 of the 1926 Criminal Code of Soviet Russia, anyone could be accused of anti-Soviet activities, counter revolutionary crimes or of being  disloyal to the Soviet regime.  Article 58 was applied retroactively to include crimes committed before Soviet rule was established.
More details descriptions of crimes of deportation, death and torture can be found on The Three Occupations of Latvia.

More coming soon, I need to actually get some sleep this evening!

Amendment:  After thinking and looking back over the stories that I have listened to through my family, I have amended about when my Grandparents were captured.  Knowing that Nanna was about 19 when she was captured and taken away.  Granddad was about 21, and that they both ended up in Germany, and from both descriptions, Germany was coming from one direction, and Russia from the other.  I would not be surprised if they were captured when Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

What time is it? Time to open your eye’s maybe?

Posted in Uncategorized by Ambs on December 7, 2009

Having another one of those days when I sit back and wonder why I write this thing?

I’ll admit a small part of it is an ego boost, I’m human, ego is healthy.  As is anything in moderation.
I will defend my position on anything I say, I stand by what I say, and I mean it because I actually believe it.  Although I’ll admit I’m human I make mistakes, I say the wrong thing, and sometimes it comes back to bite me.  Actually most of the time…

I could write about The Copenhagen Climate Summit, but I think others are doing a fantastic job here, here, here, and here. (oh and I LOVE Copenhagen for Dummies!)
I would like to be clear on something though, I do not share the same beliefs as James Hansen.  I think even the slightest step forward is critical, as I would hope that instead of receding (as we have done on many other international agreements), it is time to move forward.  How is the question…  I don’t have an answer to that unfortunately.  I just feel that if not even the slightest step forward is taken, waiting another year isn’t the answer.  Working together to find a solution that will support the current environmental and economic climate would be better.

The other thing I wanted to mention was the worsening situation in Sudan.  As I’m even having trouble fathoming the trouble brewing, I’ll leave it to the experts:
Michelle (@michelle4change) from the Stop Genocide blog is amazing, and you can read her blog posts on the topic at Stop Genocide.
There is also many many relevant posts at Opinio Juris.
I can not speak (or write for that matter) highly enough about both of these blogs.  Also War and Peace.
There is also Making Sense of Darfur.

I have added two new doco’s to my list of “must see’s”, The Reckoning, and The Power of the Powerless. Both look incredibly interesting.  If anyone knows where I might be able to get a copy of these, let me know!?

Apart from that, I’m still going, hoping that I’ve at last found something I enjoy studying.  Apart from Psych of course.

How many Psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb ?

– Just one. But the bulb has to really WANT to change.

Question: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer 1: Three; one to do it and two to sue him for malpractice.

Answer 2: It only takes one lawyer to change your light bulb to his light bulb.

Answer 3: You won’t find a lawyer who can change a light bulb. Now, if you’re looking for a lawyer to screw a light bulb…

Answer 4: Whereas the party of the first part, also known as “Lawyer”, and the party of the second part, also known as “Light Bulb”, do hereby and forthwith agree to a transaction wherein the party of the second part (Light Bulb) shall be removed from the current position as a result of failure to perform previously agreed upon duties, i.e., the lighting, elucidation, and otherwise illumination of the area ranging from the front (north) door, through the entryway, terminating at an area just inside the primary living area, demarcated by the beginning of the carpet, any spillover illumination being at the option of the party of the second part (Light Bulb) and not required by the aforementioned agreement between the parties.   The aforementioned removal transaction shall include, but not be limited to, the following steps:

  1. The party of the first part (Lawyer) shall, with or without elevation at his option, by means of a chair, stepstool, ladder or any other means of elevation, grasp the party of the second part (Light Bulb) and rotate the party of the second part (Light Bulb) in a counter-clockwise direction,this point being non-negotiable.
  2. Upon reaching a point where the party of the second part (Light Bulb) becomes separated from the party of the third part (“Receptacle”), the party of the first part (Lawyer) shall have the option of disposing of the party of the second part (Light Bulb) in a manner consistent with all applicable state, local and federal statutes.
  3. Once separation and disposal have been achieved, the party of the first part (Lawyer) shall have the option of beginning installation of the party of the fourth part (“New Light Bulb”). This installation shall occur in a manner consistent with the reverse of the procedures described in step one of this self-same document, being careful to note that the rotation should occur in a clockwise direction, this point also being non-negotiable.

NOTE: The above described steps may be performed, at the option of the party of the first part (Lawyer), by any or all persons authorized by him, the objective being to produce the most possible revenue for the party of the fifth part, also known as “Partnership.”

Frustrated much?

Posted in Uncategorized by Ambs on December 1, 2009

I’m growing even more dismayed by the media and its evil, one-eyed ways.

How hard is it to really just lay down the facts as they stand?

So I’ve found myself more and more, wandering to blogs/twitter to read about the world, and where we are.

I read the following blogs on a regular basis:

http://www.opiniojuris.org
http://www.change.org

I also check the following web pages for real updates:

http://www.hrw.org
http://www.securitycouncilreport.org

I even have trouble reading The Age these days, so instead I read:

http://www.crikey.com.au

Not only major division inbetween left and right, but within the left and the right.
It makes you wonder if the people fighting for the real protection of human rights, are doing for themselves, and their own looks of grandeur, or for the right reasons?
It’s incredibly frustrating to see illicitly incorrect reports, swayed one way or another, by bodies who claim to be independent.
I’ll admit, I’m a dead-set lefty, I’ll fight for the environment and human-rights.   So, now I’m starting to get interested in international law, it feeds just the right parts of my brain, and makes sense to me.  It’s still a developing part of law, there’s still a long long road to go, and the more people advocating it the better.