Just spent some time at the Latvian Museum of Occupation. A very haunting trip thru the recent history of Latvia. Basically if you dont learn from your history its bound to repeat itself. Latvians are a very very proud people and with a reason. Basically from 1940 to 1991 the country was occupied by either the Soviet Union or Germany, during this time over 550,000 Latvians were killed, murdered, slaughter, disappeared, whatever you want to call it. This is about 1/3 of their total population, so now there is a big nationalistic push and trying to get the birth rate higher than death rate, so that the country can grow again.
Not to get into a whole history lecture here, but basically it goes something like this. 1940 as a pre-emptive strike Russia takes over the 3 baltic countries(Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania). 1941 Germany with a bigger army easily beats the Russians back, and takes over the countries. 1941 to 1945 lots of murder, especially of any Jews, country basically f'd up, men killed, population goes down. 1945 WWII is over, Russia now takes the Baltics back, and anyone showing latvian pride or national ties is sent off to Siberia or labor camps. Even the rest of the world don't do much to help out. Finally 1991 old Soviet russia is dismantled, Latvia regains independance.
Not trying to get too political but after viewing the images and stories of just what a 50 year occupation entails, it only makes me think about the current Iraq occupation that G.W is trying to do. While its only 3 years into it now, and only 2500 USA troops dead, and probably 100,000+ Iraqis dead, i wonder in 50 years when the numbers of Iraqis are in the millions then how will the world view this current so called War on Terror..
Ok moving away from politics. Also went to the top of St. Peters Church here in Riga, thankfully it was an elevtor to the top this time, cause at 123 meters that would be alot of steps. In Estonia it was only 34 meters and plenty of steps.. Dont ask me how they got an elevator in a building built in 1600, i guess since the church was destroyed and rebuilt 4 times over history it gave them a chance to modernize it. Anyway the view from the top was great, but it was about as windy as ever, so I had to get down.. Got a few pics and trying to upload them as I can, right now at an internet cafe, and the space key is sticking and giving me problems.. Ahhh to have a reliable laptop and connection would be godly. Anyway look over at the Links section for the Fotki.com link, same name as this blog if you are searching for it. Sorry only a few pictures now, more as i get more reliable computer/internet.
Next stop is Vilnius, Lithuania on Wednesday, only a 4hr Bus trip, hopefully an express bus, bought the ticket already so its all good.