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Do You Remember What Happened in Estonia in 2008?

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And here we are. Another year is getting to the end and, as usual, it is time for a balance. And it has surely been an extraordinary one for BabelTallinn. Not sure about that?

Then keep reading and get back with us on what happened in the last 12 months: I am sure no one can really recall it all.

Before writing this post I surfed through the whole 2008 archive looking for all the most significant steps our magazine made during the last year and, trust me, I almost could not believe how many and how intense things we all have been through.

First of all, I need to thank some people. Because even if this page could not exist without the facts we publish, nothing would work without the great people behind them.

2008  has been an year of a real changeover within our group: an year when many people left and new, great members took the challenge of ensuring the level of our work together with the spirit of being part of Cafebabel.

The first person I sincerely need to mention is Kadri Kukk, and incredible colleague, Babelian and friend who started all this with me two years ago, on a cold Valentine’s day.

Kadri has been a great member of this page as of the whole Estonian group and, although we are all missing her, we know that the place she is covering now  -Reporter in the EU institutions for EestiTv  -is the appropriate reward for a career that, despite her age, already took her to spot as Lebanon and Afghanistan.

Then there is Zeidy Metsa, a person who guided us into some deep secrets of the Estonian culture and who is now using all her personality in the world of French cinema.

And Margarita Sokolova, another great babelian who always helped out everyone: no matter what was the topic we had to cover or the adventure we decided to try. She has always been there, smiling and ready to fill her agenda with new, stressful and boring tasks. Pity her love for Italian language and culture took her away for a while and convinced her that some pizzette and a lot of sun can be enough for thinking about changing country.

But, as I said, this has been a year when numerous people joined and revolutionized our way of working and relating to this country.

Our multinational group saw Angelo “il Professore” Sebastianelli teaching us the possibilities of using video streaming for our activities, the wonderful Katrin Hirsch organizing a wonderful exposition for people with different abilities while the young and talented Liis Luumberg catched everyone’s attention with her touching pictures of a sunrise in the Estonian countryside.

And it is not over, yet.

Because the Italian analyst Massimo Da Ros started also his adventure participating to events and writing articles about Estonian economy, as the precious newcomer Piero Pelizzaro immediately became a vital part for the cultural life of our redaction.

Plus, how to forget Guillaume Fevrier, French blogger in Estonia, who gained a mention in the New York Times for his post on the Golden-OOlaulupidu?

And Kristiina Pilvet, who even represented our redaction during a conference on the future of media together with experts from all over the EU?

Great year, this one. Really

And with the people who keep joining  - as the wonderful Janika Ots, just to make an unfair example – we are sure that, if we will keep working as hard and as seriously as we did till now, we will make even better in the year which is about to start.

But…Didn’t we say that we should have tried to remember what happened during the whole year?

Let’s do it, then.

2008 has been the year of the 90th anniversary of the Estonian Republic, with all those wonderful ceremonies which gave us the chance – beside of enjoying some really tasty buffets – to meet the highest levels of Estonian authorities and be officially recognized by them.

It has been the year of the launch of one of the most successful section ever: Discovering Estonia – a still ongoing trip which is helping us and our readers to get to know something really fascinating of this country: its people and its essence.

And it has been the year when we also had the honor of inaugurating an European-wide project as EUDebate with the help of great colleagues as Caroline Venaille, Jean Mary, Filip Jurzyk, Marco Pighin, Giovanni de Paola and fantastic guests as Marko Mihkelson, Alari Purju, Ylo Kaasik and Robert Pefferly Jr.

Nevertheless 2008 has been also a year in which we had to focus on many negative facts.

The war in Georgia is not so far away, as we still receive comments on the quite known post “Postimees: Estonia Wakes up with a War Plan” after which we also organized a debate where we had the honor to host and the Georgian Ambassador and analyze the whole situation with him.

It has been the year of the Irish refusal of the EU treaty and of the works in Vabaduse Valjak…the year of the troubles for Estonian Air and of the explosion of the crisis.

Something, unfortunately, we will keep discussing more than widely even in 2009.

And…how would it be possible to forget about our readers?

How to avoid talking about all those fantastic people who kept giving us small fraction of their time for reading and commenting our news?

I do not think it is a case if, in 2008, the number of comments we finally exceed the number of news we posted.

I normally do not like to think about numbers but, really, this is something which makes me feel more than proud. 

Soon it will be 2009, a new great blank page in our personal history and in life and it will surely not be easy to reply what we achieved in 2008, we all know it.

But we will be all there to try to make cafebabel better anyway, no matter the difficulties this mean.

The problem is that we cannot do it without you.

So, once you will all be done with your holidays-lunch and luculent-dinners: will you be ready to help us?