Discussion: 100 Years of Independence and Cultural Awakening

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Time of Event:
Venue: Estonian Writers’ Union (see on map)
Programme and Format:
  • Discussion
Original language: English
Translated to: Estonian
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Finland is celebrating 100 years of nationhood this year. Estonia will reach the same milestone next year and Ireland commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising last year. However, independence would have been impossible without the desire for independence, a national self-consciousness. When it comes to national development, Estonia seems to trail Finland by about a hundred years – at least in the case of the first complete translation of the Bible and the first newspaper. However, national epics Kalevala and Kalevipoeg were published less than 30 years apart. The early-19th century saw the rise of Fennomania, a movement which aimed to raise Finnish to a ruling position in Finland (even though several leading Fennomans were ethnic Swedes). One of the leading figures of Fennomans, Johan Vilhelm Snellman (1806-1881), noted that they were no longer Swedes, could not become Russian, so they must be Finnish. Ireland saw a bloody revolution in 1798, led by the Society of United Irishmen that brought together liberal Irish nationalists. This was not the first nor the last time the Irish took up arms for independence. In the context of these anniversaries, the HeadRead festival will hold a panel discussion on the differences and similarities in the national self-consciousness of Estonia, Finland and Ireland. The panel includes diplomat and politician Jüri Luik, Irish historian Diarmaid Ferriter, and Finnish cultural historian Anu Salmela. The discussion is moderated by Märt Väljataga, the editor-in-chief of the Vikerkaar journal. 

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