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Tallinn #14

Leaving Tallinn and the Baltic with temperatures that about the same as they are Auckland at the moment, slightly warmer averaging 18ºC and about 12º at night, and heading south to where the temperatures are much higher and the crowds are bigger, in Berlin it’s 23º. When that wind from the arctic sweeps through it can suddenly drop to 12º in the day. Visited the Communist-era prison on the edge of town, pretty grim of course, ordinary people arrested and incarerated for no reason, just having the wrong ideas, or having someone in you family with the wrong ideas, anyone who owned land or worked in administraive role was suspect, it was a cruel regime and there is plenty to read as you walk through the place. The history of Communism continues well into 1968 and I remember being at University in Wellington in flats in the 1980s where people enthusiastically discussed the virues of Engles and Marx. It’s chilling when you think there has been about 90 million people who were casualties of Communist; 20 million in Russia, 65 million in China, 2 million in Cambodia, and then there’s North Korea currently adding to the totalitarian total. It comes from dogmatic and intolerate ideology that can not challenged and people get called out on any premise who may have no political allegiances at all. I see the activist left in New Zealand with similar intolerances, especially in the unversities where debates are closed down and speakers are banned because they hold ideas counter to their own – need to keep an eye on that stuff.

By Tony Richards

This is a travel journal for family and friends interested in my stories that I've continued as a general blog now I'm back at home. I chat about design, music, pastries, the people I meet, and new thoughts and ideas – I hope you'll tune in.

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