Dec 14, 2011

facts of life: some call it slums, some call it nice

This afternoon, I was honoured to thank our lecturer Inese Runce on behalf of the group. In fact, I was once enrolled in one of her courses at LU, so we recognized each other and got to talk for a little while.

Apart from the happy coincidence, this brought back some interesting memories of Autumn 2006. It was because of that course that I learned about the Old Believers community (look it up), and that I had the chance to visit their church. To make it even more interesting, the visit took place during the lockdown of the NATO Summit, already an otherworldly experience...

My interest in the topic of Cultural Diversity came mostly from the fact that the Latvian reality is so distant from my one country's. The ethnic divide I found was something I was unable to fully understand, but I did understand the consequences. I saw too many "non-citizen" passports. I saw too much discrimination and resentment. I felt outraged. Maybe that's why our lecturer Inese Runce remembers I used the expression "useful idiots" on a paper for her course...

(I worked on that, I toned it down over the years)

You see, living in Maskavas forstate can teach you a couple of things. It may take a while for a person to fully understand the kind of strains people feel around here. It may take a lifetime to fix anything at all. But this is not such a bad place, these are certainly not bad people, and I learned some of the most valuable lessons about Human nature when I lived in "the worst neighbourhood in Latvia", as a friend once described it.

I'll let the locals set the record straight:

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