I do not pretend to understand how it is in countries, where there is one major language and you have little need to learn other languages, but here’s my little dilemma of the day. Or, not really a dilemma as a growing concern.
Being in a country, where most of the population can understand minimum of two languages, but mostly know 3 or 4 by the time they reach to University – there is a growing trend among new foreign incomers to curse in their mother tongue. Not just use foul language, but seriously call Estonians names and yell abuse to them in their own mother tongue. They do it simply, because they believe their language is so unfamiliar here that they get away with it. Them being young, and all the other “excuses” – I would not give it light of day. Comes with the job.
The problem with this is that if they go around in Tartu, believing that fairy tale of their language being unknown to us, they are up for a fair beating. A beating they will then go on blaming others for and being “the guests” in this country, they make everything in their power to present Estonia as racists and xenophobic country. I wish this was something out of my own paranoia, but that’s the reality we are facing today.
However, the impact such behaviorism has, has started to come back to me through friends and locals. Over the years, watching how this youth represents their home countries and seeing how people literally move out of the house, because they do not want to live under the same roof with people like that, has made me understand that the reasons, why locals do not search active contact with foreigners is looking straight at me every other night.
You can call it prejudice if you like – it does not change the fact that they do not want to know the person, who at any point of the given time stands in a group of their countrymen/women and loudly criticize you or locals. Who would want to get to know someone, who calls you bitch in Italian, because you did not want to join their group? Should we look past that to see “the real person” behind it, when we have seen you act like that while you think you are safe among your friends? Which face will you put up to us then, when you want to make an impression? Which one of them is the lie you represent?
There have been several concerning incidents lately, where locals have been stamped racist after reacting to someone, whom I happen to know did abuse their language regards locals. The echo that ripped through the surface was refreshingly disturbing. The foreigners were all shocked, victimized and then displayed as suffering party of the conflict while the locals were presented as yokels and uneducated punch. I lost the count on how many after that suggested that “we really should learn from the big countries” and “that’s why the foreigners come here to bring us just a bit of culture.”
To hear this made my inside crawl. To hear something like that in 21st century was as disturbing as it was learning such medieval way of thinking in history classes. Should I believe that what the Estonians did was wrong? How do you expect them to react? Civilized? Respect goes both ways, you know – if you show them none from the beginning, when you think they do not understand, then you can’t expect it, when you both are speaking the same language. Had I not known those people openly smutted locals in Spanish before the incident, I would be inclined to give this a benefit of doubt. However, the fact that I do know they did that, turned the entire incident upside down.
However, this is the classic case of karma biting you in the arsh. The fact that we are “expected” to put up with something like that is disrespectful and idiotic. To expect us to believe that you did not start the fight after going around Tartu with that potty mouth for a while is also understatement. You can swear your hand on Bible, but if you abuse your own mother tongue for this – you gotta be real fast runner or really good with your fists.
They say there are always two parts in the conflict. I do not make excuses to racist groups and speaking instead of tossing something probably is the better way to deal with folks like that, but I can’t let this problem slide either and seriously want to put this out there: