Readers write: Estonia’s cyber warriors

Letters to the editor for the April 6, 2020 weekly magazine. Readers discuss the Feb. 10 cover story, “Estonia’s cyber warriors.”

Alfredo Sosa/The Christian Science Monitor
Members of Estonia's Cyber Defense League – Commander Andrus Padar (c.), Jaan Priisalu (R.), and Aivar Sarapik (L.) – stand by a medieval wall and towers in the Old Town section of Tallinn, Estonia, on Jan. 10, 2020.

Editor’s note: Our Feb. 10 cover story by Christa Case Bryant, “Estonia’s cyber warriors,” elicited many letters in response. Here’s a selection.

Family history

I read the entire cover story on Estonia, and it resonated with me for several reasons. 

We visited the Baltic States a couple of years ago because my father’s family escaped from Russia during the revolution and lived in Estonia for years. I wanted to visit it to see how a small country could resist a monolith like Russia, as it did in the Singing Revolution of 1987 to 1991. We were so impressed with the Estonians and their digital awareness, along with their frank assessment of Russia. 

Ironically, a few days later, we were in St. Petersburg, Russia, when the initial New York Times article came out about possible Russian interference in the U.S. elections of 2016. We were within spitting distance from the suspected interference headquarters. Some of the lessons that I learned include the following: that the education of a population can really make a difference in risk assessment, and that cooperation between governments and their citizens can work for the good of all.

Thank you to the Monitor and Christa Case Bryant for this article.

Alexandra Starr
Sunol, California

Seeking truth

Thank you for this wonderful article. I have always been a great follower of the Monitor, but I particularly loved this topic and Christa Case Bryant’s writing. 

I developed a love for the country of Estonia because of my wonderful friendship with a woman who escaped from the country when she was 5, just before the Soviet Union invaded. After the fall of the Soviet Union, my friend shared how her family applied to get back the land that had been taken away from them by the USSR. Estonia is a country of truth-seekers and the morally courageous. Thanks for sharing this.

Deanne Farrar
Rapid City, South Dakota

The power of music

We’ve been to Estonia and know some former residents. As Quakers, we lean automatically in the direction of supporting lives, not war. Estonia’s history is an impressive example of how Spirit speaks louder than guns.

Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia all faced Nazi interference sandwiched by invasions from both czarist and communist Russia. The stories of how those incursions were finally dismissed – because of the nationwide peaceful resistance from the peoples of the three countries in a movement known as the Singing Revolution – are powerful. And it was done with music, which is something we all have. Maybe we should do more of that here.

On Aug. 23, 1989, a human chain of citizens from all three of those countries stood along the 419.7 miles of highway that connect the southern border of Lithuania to the Estonian beaches on the Gulf of Finland. Like the music they made, it was a nonviolent declaration of independence from the Soviet Union – a message that they were done with that slavery. 

When we visited that region, our bus drove along some of that road. Amber, the fossilized pitch of ancient pine trees, is found on the beaches there. We picked some up to remember our trip.

Peter and Juliet Lane
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Providing clarity

I am very grateful for the writers and editors at The Christian Science Monitor. Currently, the quality of Monitor writing is high and continues to improve.

America seems to be in a perpetual state of “election mode.” The Monitor has been addressing issues related to this with thoughtfulness. The recent Monitor Night Live question-and-answer session at Principia College was excellent, and so far I have watched the recording of it twice. Christa Case Bryant’s deep article about Estonia has added helpful information in a calm and uplifting way; I have recommended it to numerous friends. 

Indeed, the Monitor is fulfilling its object “to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.” A round of applause to all!

Barbara Fay Wiese
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

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