Inter-community Dialogue and Human Rights by Stalkers!

 The opinions of the article do not necessarily reflect the position of Trajectorya. This post is the result of a co-operative learning exercise developed by participants of the Training Course on Human Rights Education (Estonia, July 2012).

Why community dialogue is a matter of Human Rights?

Because people are living through stereotypes and prejudices; because the history structured the present days while people have to understand each other in order to live in peace…

In order to understand the actual context of community dialogue, the team took the decision to explore the city, to visit the buildings linked to each minority and to understand a piece of the past history, to understand the local reality and the geographical organisation of the local society.

Because in some countries, the past belongs to the History, and in some other countries, the past is the present.

We decided to name our group “Stalker”, in connotation with the science fiction film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, which was partly filmed in Tallinn. The film portrays an expedition led by the Stalker to bring  two people to a site known as the “Zone”, which has the hypothetical potential to fulfill a person’s innermost desires.

The title of the film is derived from the English word to stalk in the long-standing meaning of approaching furtively, much like a hunter. So… like the stalker we decided to cross the border to the hidden zone with a specific goal to understand the realms of the local communities, moving through different areas of the city and beyond surface layers.

Our discovery adventure started from visiting the city from the intercultural perspective. Firstly, our goal was to identify main minorities living in the city through cult places. Secondly, we made a minority/majority city mapping from one of the highest building in Tallinn- Radisson hotel. From the top of the roof we situated the main neighbourhoods, especially main living areas, like residential areas, historical part of the city. We started from the historical perspective of minorities in Tallinn.

Here is a panoramic view of the Tallinn.

We visited the European Information Centre where we got information about institutions dealing with Human Rights. EIC is providing also several guides about the rights of European citizens.

We continued our tour to the municipality, where we got information about human rights, for example about “the Estonian Human Rights Centre (EHRC) which is an independent public interest foundation dedicated to the advancement of protection of human rights in Estonia and abroad”: http://humanrights.ee/en/about-the-foundation/

Another link : www.eihr.ee/en/

We explored the old part of the city where there are significant monuments important for different linguistic and ethnic communities living side by side in the country. Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant churches, a Synagogue, the Greek-Ukranian Catholic church – these are only few of evidences illustrating the cohabitation of people with different confessions in the multicultural capital.

These were statues and monuments of historical personalities, heroes, famous artists important both for the minorities as well as the ethnic majority of the country. Monuments of  XIX war heroes, statues representing events, important for the modern history of the state such as the monument commemorating the day that the country received its independence, the Occupation museum; the place where the Bronze statue in memory of Soviet soldiers used to stand  – are sensitive historical objects.

At the end of the journey while visiting the Legal information Centre where we also got to know statistical data about contemporary situation of Estonia, the history from the beginning of statehood, and its evolution during the Soviet time. Also the emphasis was made on the integration of minorities, possibilities of multicultural dialogue between ethnic majority and the biggest linguistic minority.

At the Open Society Fondation we were provided with  more informative material concerning the human rights situation in the country!

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