Estonia unveiled a new series of ads on September 27 designed to get people to think twice about tolerance by asking them to imagine a member of a minority group in a personal context. Now, for the first time, here are the interviews with random Estonians on the street on which the series was based.
- Muslims. What do you think of them?
- Don't know much about them. They're all right, I guess.
- BUT…what if one were your son-in-law?
- Oh, I never thought of that. I guess I should reconsider my whole view of them.
- I don't like outright exhibitionism, I'm sort of conservative. Like many Estonians. But live and let live. Most are probably totally 'normal'.
- BUT….what if one of them stole your sister and ran away with your wife?
- That's different! I would…hey, wait a second!
- Ha! Just keeping you on your toes.
- Immigrants in general.
- No-goodniks, all of them. They got no business in here, I'm telling you.
- BUT….what if one worked in the next cube over from you at the office?
- What do you mean, "but what if ," I just said they ain't got no business anywhere in this country!
- Economic migrants.
- I have nothing against them. But Estonia is a nation-state, it has to retain its identity.
- BUT….what if one migrated to your apartment building and squatted there.
- Oh, I already have four of those in the prewar building my family owns.
- Emigre Estonians.
- Fair weather friends who come only in the summertime!
- BUT….what if one were sitting next to you at the theatre?
- Why, I would exchange pleasantries with them and ask them for a restaurant recommendation in New York.
- Native Americans or Subcontinent?
- The latter.
- Ah. Hmmm…let me think. Yes. I like them OK. Never met one.
- BUT…what if one were preparing a huge plate of delicately battered samosas and an exquisite curry?
- Is it spicy?
- Deport him!
- They're OK, I guess. I don't hold anything against them, as long as they don't take our jobs.
- BUT….what if one was your Siamese twin?
- Depends. I think it would be OK, there might be good business in it.
- I'm not afraid of them.
- BUT...what if some of them came out of the manholes and fired small arms up at cars?
- Still not afraid of them.
- BUT...what if they set off a dirty bomb on a bridge or the subway system in your country?
- BUT...what if they drove cars around hitting random pedestrians?
- That happens every day.
- Suit yourself. Thank you for your time.
(Thanks to Stewart Johnson for planting a seed with a photo and a humorous caption.)