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“Whites Only” in Estonia

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Emblem of 20th Waf­fen Grenadier Divi­sion of the SS (1st Eston­ian)

COMMENT: We note that some of NATO’s most recent­ly-joined mem­bers are not hos­pitable to African-Amer­i­can sol­diers.

The Baltic states–Esto­nia in particular–have proved to be inhos­pitable to black Amer­i­cans sta­tioned there by NATO. With the Baltic states cel­e­brat­ing their par­tic­i­pants in the Waf­fen SS, this should not come as too much of a sur­prise. 

“Esto­nia Wants More NATO Troops–But Only If They Aren’t Black” by Mikhail Klikushin [observer.com]; Yahoo News; 2/22/2016.

. . . . In 2014, in his speech in Tallinn, U.S. Pres­i­dent Oba­ma brave­ly stat­ed that “the defense of Tallinn and Riga and Vil­nius is just as impor­tant as the defense of Berlin and Paris and London…You lost your inde­pen­dence once before,” added the first Amer­i­can black pres­i­dent. “With NATO, you will nev­er lose it again.”

Indeed, the sig­nif­i­cance of the parade in Tallinn will be in the fact that the Eston­ian troops will not be march­ing alone, but togeth­er with their NATO com­rades in arms. Today, fac­ing a new threat from self-assured Rus­sia, NATO is con­sid­er­ing send­ing a bat­tal­ion of 500 to 1,000 each to Esto­nia, Latvia and Lithua­nia. The troops will con­sist of Amer­i­can, British and Ger­man sol­diers.

In this Eston­ian Inde­pen­dence Day parade, the 70 U.S. troops sta­tioned in the coun­try will be march­ing elbow to elbow with the Esto­ni­ans, plus some British sol­diers as well as stan­dard-bear­ers from Bel­gium, Poland, Latvia and Lithua­nia.

About 500 NATO troops are cur­rent­ly sta­tioned in Esto­nia, and while Esto­ni­ans wel­come for­eign defend­ers with open arms, they do not like the faces of cer­tain NATO soldiers—in par­tic­u­lar, those which are dark­er in skin col­or than the “Euro­pean” stereo­type embraced by the noisy minor­i­ty in Esto­nia.

Recent man­i­fes­ta­tions of racism in Esto­nia have already been wide­ly report­ed in local media. . . . .

. . . . . In 2005 in Vil­nius, cap­i­tal of Lithua­nia, two black Amer­i­can NATO sol­diers were attacked in front of a local casi­no, result­ing in severe injuries to both of the soldiers—their faces smashed and their teeth knocked out. Amer­i­can author­i­ties expressed the hope that it was not a “racist attack,” and Lithua­nia assigned police patrols to any sites fre­quent­ed by NATO sol­diers. . . . .

. . . . . In 2015, dur­ing the Inde­pen­dence Day parade, while African-Amer­i­can troops wear­ing NATO uni­forms marched on the main street of Estonia’s cap­i­tal, local racists shout­ed all kinds of racial slurs, includ­ing, “Go back to your grand­par­ents in Nige­ria!”

Since then, there has been evi­dence of racism against Amer­i­can NATO troops in restau­rants, hotels and on the streets of Esto­nia, where “Go back to Nige­ria!” has become a wide­ly used attack toward dark-skinned Amer­i­can sol­diers.

The sit­u­a­tion has become so intol­er­a­ble that the Eston­ian Air Force Supreme Com­man­der Jaak Tarien addressed it pub­licly on his Face­book page last Octo­ber, apol­o­giz­ing on behalf of his coun­try­men to his NATO coun­ter­parts. . . . .

. . . . . The sit­u­a­tion has become so intol­er­a­ble that the Eston­ian Air Force Supreme Com­man­der Jaak Tarien addressed it pub­licly on his Face­book page last Octo­ber, apol­o­giz­ing on behalf of his coun­try­men to his NATO coun­ter­parts.

He wrote that his fel­low Esto­ni­ans, with their racist atti­tude toward dark-skinned NATO sol­diers serv­ing in the coun­try, made him feel both ashamed and embar­rassed. . . . .

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