The notion that we are unwanted around Europe – including the accession counties that have joined EU on May 1st this year, that have recently been through painful changes and transition we are now going through, and that we are receiving a discriminative treatment - is rather sad and hurtful. Here’s a highlight from the paper that officially introduced the iLaw seminar: “The purpose of this seminar is to bring local and outside experts to Estonia to meet with 40 – 50 policy specialists from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Southeastern Europe (SEE), and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and to offer a highly relevant, interactive, intensive one-week program.”. I am not claiming to be an expert – on the contrary: I am no expert, and I felt kind of bad when Zhanna told me about the alternative procedure for obtaining a visa through their Ministry of Interior - as one is supposed to be a “VIP” participant so that they would initiate this procedure. It’s not like the event could not go without me – and I admitted this to Zhanna. I admitted I could be useful to listen, remember, write down and share the facts and stories I have learned during the seminar, but that I doubt I would be useful in terms of interactivity and knowledge base. She supported and encouraged me by telling me they regard all their participants as valuable and she calmed me and my remorse down…
If a seminar is aimed at supporting SE Europeans – among others – in their quest to bring about Internet Laws, introduce ICT policy, have firm regulation bodies that pertain to telecommunications – how ironic is it, then, not to let an applicant from Serbia take par in it?!
I realized later what had happened with Zhanna’s message. She sent it to my office e-mail that is not accessible to me outside working hours. As I left work on Thursday afternoon, with my vacation starting on Friday – I have not seen it, and there was no Cc to my private e-mail, which we did use up until than. And the fact that I misinterpreted her e-mail and understood things were 100% settled, and there’s no reason to worry whatsoever - also says something about the power of face to face communication, wouldn’t you agree?
Well, I hope someone from Estonia will read this article and grasp the absurdness of the situation. There’s no individual that is to blame for this, I realize that. It is the daunting administrative procedures that are designed to weaken one’s will and that have inherent defense mechanisms which protect them from anyone questioning the efficiency and necessity of all the steps in these procedures. They are so vast one can not have an overall view of them in order to achieve flexibility and make decisions on individual basis, according to a situation being considered.
Anyway, I am fortunate my boss is very understanding, so I was allowed to “route” the vacation I took for leaving for Estonia, and I translated it for the period in between of New Years Eve and (Orthodox) Christmas, so I am leaving the city and going to a mountain retreat with my boyfriend. Not bad, hay?
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