I am writing this in English, for I want to have its intended message reach across our diaspora, the Estonian diaspora. It has been done before, but the context was different and it was long ago. It is high time that we write the histories of our organizations and our activities before we disappear along with our memory. The decades I am talking about were rich and important in a variety of ways, both in terms of preserving our past as well as our future. What we did was as important for us as it was for Estonia. And yes, we were successful, even incredibly successful. We had a purpose and we had a cause. We cannot let it disappear into a black hole.
I am not talking about writing for a book. That is being done. I am not talking about publication or „sale,“ as this effort was once erroneously interpreted. It does not have to be a polished masterpiece. It is not meant to be individualized. It does not have to be a contest with a beginning and end date. It is not meant to garner prizes.
It can have an individual flavor, but should have an organizational sweep. We should have enough pride left not to do it for glory, but for future generations and historical accuracy. Most of all, for the country that we fought for in our own way, Estonia. The finished pieces, of whatever length, should be sent to our Estonian Archives in Lakewood, New Jersey.
It is very important that we should do it ourselves, while we still can. For we have the memory. No one else does. Others, who write histories, then have the raw material to draw from, so there are no distortions or interpretations that often plague future historians. At the same time, it is our duty to be accurate.
We often hear these days about community organizers. Friends, we were community organizers par excellence. We started with very little but accomplished a lot. Don’t let that be forgotten!
What I have here is a rough draft of an idea. I am sure there are others who can refine it. It is not intended to have rules of any kind. If we create rules and regulations and begin to argue over words, it will never get done. Above all, let’s act on it! I anticipate replies that say, in typical Estonian fashion: you do it! No, I can’t do it. Each organization, wherever and of whatever nature, has a feel and a flavor of its own. Neither I nor anyone else can capture that.