Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Women of Latvia

I just returned from my Latvian coaching session with Valda. She is so interesting to talk with because of everything she's seen and experienced. It's real oral history.

She remembers living on her family's farm before the War when Latvia had it's short period of independence from 1920 to 1940. They weren't rich by any means, but they had their own land and house. When Hitler and Stalin signed the Molotov-Ribbontrop Pact in 1940, they knew all was lost. Soon enough, Stalin's men came and took their land and home. Then the deportations to Siberia began. 50,000 of Latvia's best and brightest were sent away in cattle cars. Many died. Imagine the impact on a country the size of West Virginia with less than 2 million people. Trauma....

Latvia has been a victimized country, squeezed for centuries by the power disputes between Germany and Russia. Still, their language and culture has been sustained by their stoicism. These are tough people who know how to survive. Especially the women. They are the heart and soul of the country. There are many statues and monuments to their maternal force. I've lost count of how many families are headed by women while the men are non-existent or indulge their taste for booze. This has been a chronic problem here for centuries, yet the women just carry on with strength and dignity.

11 Comments:

At 4:08 AM, Blogger Finnpundit said...

Found your website via Althouse, and am enjoying it thoroughly. I've added it to my roll of regular visits.

I am so amazed at the tenacity of the Baltic countries, and ashamed that Finland never provided them with support during critical moments in their last independence struggle...

 
At 4:10 AM, Blogger Finnpundit said...

Oh, by the way, I'm at finnpundit.blogspot.com.

 
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