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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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