Strolling down a department store in Estonia, many are the tempting fragrances the nostrils notice – an abundance of sensations for the prodigal buyer and the stingy abstainer alike.
We aren’t so poor as to sit idly by while people are in trouble not too far at all. Surely, as a nation and a state, we have ways to help those badly battered by Kremlin/KGB guys deciding to sow turmoil, trouble, destruction and death in Eastern-Ukraine.
Thanks to good work by Public Broadcasting, we are aware of people directly linked to Estonia having a hard time in Ukraine (TV news «Aktuaalne kaamera», September 21st). To help these, Estonian civil society and state need now to cooperate. In at least one specific case, a family has not money enough to travel to Estonia. Obviously, Estonian state is under no obligation to financially support citizens of foreign countries – hardly would we like this to become the norm and the rule. Even so, the people of Estonia, our enterprises, and everyone could go by their conscience and give so that Liisa, the lady that moved to Eastern Ukraine a couple of decades ago, might get her family the tickets to Tallinn, and apply for assistance and asylum in her native Estonia.
Already, lots of folks over here have initiated help for Ukraine, investing their personal means and involving others. Estonian state has also demonstrated dignity, offering and providing solid help to Ukraine and its people. So we clearly have the will. What is lacking is overview, and coordination. Estonian foreign ministry might and probably should assume the role of an overall helps coordinator, appointing for this (a) definite person(s)... at least when it comes to humanitarian aid and financial support towards people linked to Estonia one way or another. The foreign minister could act as a patron to organisations, thus speeding up the collection of funds for the needy in Ukraine. This, basically, is the kind of civil society/political elite cooperation we now need to overcome the bureaucratic hurdles which may be justified in ordinary circumstances, but not in the current crisis and single cases.
How nice it would be if, next to the common Estonian, our sweet-smelling department stores would do some donating, and some big businessmen to loosen their purse strings – such who made mega money doing business with KGB-Russia. Business is no sin, but kindness and compassion must come first.
Thus: the President can select the aid organisations which, to his discernment, are doing the right thing to help Ukraine and our people that are there, and publicly provide patronage. The foreign minister can do the same, but add the dimension of prompt and concrete administrative orders, taking the issues above his authority to the government.
Now is the reality check for state and civil society cooperation, and for what Estonia amounts to once the power and the people join forces.