Lithuanians and other bogeymen (2009)

lith flash

While desperately searching various drives for my old short stories but finding only corrupted files I came across an old project report, (Back in 2009, Vilmantė, Sölvi, Dina and I produced a heartwarming wee Choose Your Own Adventure style Flash game about villains of the week, those dastardly Lithuanians, and that’s why there’s no such thing as racism anymore.)

It made me smile to remember a time when the knee-jerk armchair generals and vicious bigots of this country were all up in arms about ‘swarms’ from the east rather than the south-east.

The rhetoric may be saccharine and naive but I thought I’d share the report regardless. I’ve stripped most if not all of the business/marketing guff since I didn’t write it anyway; besides, no one visits this blog flushed with expectation for Target Group Analysis and User Scenarios, right?

If nothing else, it shows that you can get away with using colourful language like the S, F and N-words whilst trying to make some sort of sense of this shitty fucking world full of C-words.


 

LITHUANIA

Reality and Myth

 

1 – INTRODUCTION

Let us ask you a question, one we’ll treat anonymously; one we won’t judge you for.

For a second put all good reason and political correctness aside and just say the first thing that pops into your head. Speak from your gut; answer with your heart.

What the hell is it with all these Eastern Europeans?

Most of us like to think of ourselves as tolerant, balanced, well-informed individuals that base their attitudes on reason rather than intolerance. We don’t use harmful slurs or make decisions based on someone else’s heritage; no, we’re not racists – we’re enlightened.

But through the next XX pages of this report we will show this belief to be a probable fallacy and one that proves we are as ignorant of our own selves as we are of our feelings towards Eastern Europeans – and the underlying reasons behind them.

We seek to personalise the people of the region; improving the consensus levied towards them; teaching the relevant history needed to change the embedded preconceptions and showing, above all that we are equal and that differences should be celebrated.

We will design a visual product to be displayed not only on its own dedicated website but put ‘out there’; displayed and spread virally, for all to experience and comment upon.

It could be argued that the very substance of this report – research to realisation, branded marketing to buzz-word propaganda – all has its origins steeped in psychology, seduction and subjection. We will show this to be true, also, with a common and accepted intolerance that harms us all.

We will go into stringent detail here as to our message, and the need for it. As you continue reading you will begin to understand a phenomenon that begs to be tackled.

Through the following problem statement and it’s delimitation we will lay the foundations that our entire message is built upon.

 

2 – PROBLEM STATEMENT

Rather than asking is there a negative attitude towards Eastern Europeans we posit that indeed there is and will seek to create a visual multimedia product to engage this.

How, with our product, can we advance attitudes towards Eastern Europeans?

 

3 – PROBLEM DELIMITATION

A delimitation of the problem must first deal with its scope.

By attempting to combat the intolerance towards an entire region, by believing there to be a simple solution that encompasses the whole, would we not ourselves be ignoring national cultures and inviting prejudice? Banding all these countries would only force the target audience further into an impression of Eastern Europe being a whole, as if the iron curtain had never fallen.

Therefore, we will be using a single Eastern European country for our purposes: Lithuania. Of course it would be paradoxical to deal with this individual as opposed to the perceived whole and then use Western Europe as our broad target market. As our assignment is English language by default, due to the size of the country and the high profile nature of its issues with migration we have chosen Great Britain as the target for our message.

Therefore, delimitated and specified our problem becomes thus:

How can we advance the attitudes of Britons towards Lithuanians?

 

4 – MOTIVATIONS

So, what was your response to our introduction question? Favourable we’d imagine but maybe it made you angry to even be asked it. Race is a big issue and arguably the biggest; it is complex, difficult and often contradictory. But is it less a question of racial origin than it is one of territory and the God-given right to be first in line. Why does the mainstream seem to tolerate, even accept racism, when the recipient is white?

Fairly recently – the last five years or so – Western Europe has seen an influx of students and workers from the countries of the former Eastern Bloc. These groups have been met with a largely mixed reception; the trouble is that there’s never a report about a plane arriving safely. We live in a culture of shock and terror; whether the media has created this status-quo or not they certainly pander to it and contribute as much propaganda and pornography as our hearts desire. News reports of marauding, murdering Eastern Europeans remain as very harmful character assassinations even when silently retracted. One could argue that integration takes time and that gross oversimplification may well be true but we ask why?

The mistake of confusing Lithuanians with Lutherans or thinking them Russian is not – as an act of casual ignorance – limited to their country alone, nor even Eastern Europe as a whole. A great many Irish, Scots and Welsh become somewhat agitated when their countries are referred to as England; Canadians aren’t American and Kiwis are certainly not Australian (nor does either nationality ride kangaroos.)

My own father, commenting on my numerous and extended visits to Denmark, remarked on how it must be because of the vast quantities of marijuana I was probably smoking. He had, of course, confused it with Holland – Copenhagen was quite possibly in Sweden along with all those topless blondes and polar bears.

Our point is that most are guilty of not paying attention in geography class or failing to memorise the happenings in the Middle East, the Balkans or behind the Berlin Wall.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding, intolerance and often innocent ignorance in the delicate and consuming matter of race relations. We ask why there is this negative attitude towards Eastern Europeans and is it deserved? We wonder if the feeling is reciprocated. Are racists just pugnacious, spoon-fed nationalists or are certain attitudes, more often than not, just knee-jerk reactions to perceived threats? Intolerance cannot be good for any society; segregation – a mutually destruction and often mutually complicit act – will never create a stable, contented people. Do we simply need to be better educated about these minorities, these workers and students; about their culture and history?

It would be a pretty naive and foolish thing to believe that any single visual multimedia product could break down any real barriers of stubborn pride and racial prejudice – not even if Apple, Sloggi and Obama ’08 joined forces – but will a more informed set of people instantly become more tolerant?

Lithuania: a small country on the Baltic Sea. With a long and poignant history and a rich, diverse culture there is much more to speak of than its migration figures. We wonder, by changing the impression of a single country in a region often thought of as a whole, can we not open the door for a more positive interest in our neighbours?

 

6 – RESEARCH AND STRATEGY

6.1 INTRODUCTION

Tautos jėga vienybėje. (The strength of the nation lies in unity.)

– Motto of Lithuania

(Blah, blah . . . “To analyse the zeitgeist, first we must define it . . .” Skip.)

 

6.2 WELCOME TO LITHUANIA

During the late nineteenth century to the First World War, Lithuania was heavily censored by the Russians; the language forbidden to be spoken, books burnt and publications banned. Violators faced heavy penalties during this period; deportation to Siberian Gulags being a particularly severe one. (1,3) Lithuania, the southernmost Baltic state with a population of almost 3.5 million celebrates the millennium of its name in 2009. Hundreds of years of dismantling, annexing and occupation culminated in the turmoil of the Second World War; Lithuania faced Soviet then Nazi occupation.

Following the retreat of the Nazis in 1944 the Soviets reoccupied and held the country until, in 1990 – aided by the advent of perestroika and glasnost – it declared its independence, the first soviet republic to do so. (1,3,4)

Lithuania is a predominantly catholic, constitutional democracy; the last Red Army troops left on August 31, 1993 and on May 1st 2004, it joined the European Union. It has one of the fastest growing economies – and the quickest internet upload speed – in the European Union. (1,2)

Figures show (1) that twice as many Lithuanians have a higher education than the EU average; males have the lowest life expectancy and there is the largest gender difference when compared to females. Perhaps that has something to do with Lithuania having both the highest suicide and homicide rates in the European Union; (As you will see, these particular figures will be dealt with later on with our product.)

Were you aware that both Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen boast Lithuanian ancestry? Or that Vilnius is the European Capital of Culture for 2009? (It shares this particular honour with Linz, Austria but for the purposes of this project we – like the Lithuanian tourist board (3) – will not mention this again.) Lithuanian beer is wildly regarded as one of the finest in the world; using local ingredients and techniques from pre-Soviet times it is often compared to Baltic amber, so appreciated for its colour and beauty. (4,6)vilnius mermaid

Not only does the capital have a minor planet named for it (3072 Vilnius – 1978 RS1) but it also has its very own Mermaid, littler even than Denmark’s.

Over the river . . . she contemplates the waters. (2,4)

 

6.3 IMMIGRATION: FACTS, FIGURES AND FANTASTIC THEORIES

It’s safe to say that a great many Britons couldn’t point to Lithuania on a map. Most too, had no opinion of the country – nor knowledge that it even existed – until the news told them it did, in 1990 and again in 2004.

Eastern Europeans barbecuing the Queen’s swans (9) was, along with Somalis butchering donkeys as a delicacy (10) despite it being forbidden by Islamic law, one of many false, fabricated and often unretracted pieces of scare-mongering British ‘journalism.’ But it can’t all be made up, can it?

Tales such as Lithuanians severing heads in Scotland (11) can stir emotions and sell newspapers but it wasn’t just the United Kingdom that was affected by the repercussions of that big wall getting knocked down in Berlin. Before we begin with UK vs LT proper, first let us show you that the horror show isn’t only limited to Britain.

More than three quarters of Danes believe that ethnic discrimination is widespread in their county; figures show that Police stop immigrants’ more than Danish nationals. (12) (It could be argued that if foreigners can be picked easily from a crowd of nationals then perhaps it’s time to mix the gene pool up a little but that particular argument is better left for the discotheques.)

Maybe it’s stories of Lithuanians murdering Danish pensioners (13) – a story that may or may not be false, depending on your sources – or a group killing on a farm in Northern Jutland (14) that led a High Court Judge to rule on deportation for the petty theft of clothing (15); a judgment normally reserved for suspects convicted of terror-related crimes and other such threats to society.

In Iceland, things seem to be even worse. The following examples are taken from blogs tied to the articles of the highest rated newspaper in Iceland. People are generally allowed to share their opinions on any of the reports as long as they don’t directly confront, insult or threaten an individual; but people tend say a lot more than is needed and xenophobia often blows up whenever there is a story written about a crime committed by a foreigner.

When Iceland was still in its prime, before the financial crisis, a lot of foreigners came to work; mostly from Eastern European countries such as Poland and Lithuania. However, there are always a few black sheep amongst the white, the crimes and misdeeds of which the overall group tends to share the blame.

One report tells of a young boy driven over by a drunken foreigner. The man drove away from the scene but was later found through an investigation. The man had come from Lithuania and had some previous charges for drunk driving. Due to the reactions from several bloggers, the news agent Morgunblaðið were forced to shut down the blogging opportunity to this specific news story and any related ones. This was done because several people had begun to threaten action against Lithuanians in the country. (16)

A second event that happened quite recently was where two Icelandic teenagers attacked a fellow student. The victim was given a life threatening beating and the reason given was that he was Polish on one side of his family. The boys recorded everything on camera and posted it on YouTube under the name, A fight, even though the victim had done nothing to provoke them. (17)

Some were disgusted by this act but some even considered the teenagers heroes. The following is from one man who branded the boys as heroes for their act.

“Those guys are obviously strong men who have the courage to take matters into their own hands.”

The video was removed shortly after at the behest of the victim’s parents. (19)

Even if all of these stories were true, all they do is show that some Lithuanians are bloody minded, murderous and criminal; as the Icelandic heroes show – and any front page of any newspaper anywhere – they are in damned good company. Intolerance, like ignorance, isn’t always a conscious decision – lack of knowledge always comes from a lack of education. False prophets spouting spurious propaganda will do more harm than any Lithuanian with a broken bottle and a hard-on ever could.

The British didn’t advocate slavery because they didn’t like Africans and they didn’t seek to Westernise India because they found the weather agreeable. Everything came from monetary greed and naive ideology; but now the boots on the other foot.

As our research will show, unlike previous colonial migrations and asylum seekers, a great many Eastern European migrants look at themselves as being modern nomads; they work somewhere with better financial prospects and then move on; only 28% of all immigrants have sought UK citizenship and 82% have considered leaving the UK. (19) However, the high turnover means that immigration shows no sign of slowing; the Polish economy is improving and some of its nationals are returning home but Bulgarians and Romanians have begun to arrive, following the money trail and well aware of their rights as EU citizens.

“Of course they want our jobs” . . . “You think they came here for the weather?!” . . . “Multiculturalism is cancer” . . . “There (sic) taking our women” . . . “So entrenched in their own culture (and) segregation creates unsafe areas, fragmenting British culture” . . . “Fuck off back where you came from!”

With a level of grievance against immigration that is unprecedented (20) these are just some of the comments that can be found on internet message boards and forums – from all walks of British life. Some are profound, some dubious; often hilarious, often beyond belief. Amongst all this, many tall figures are banded about, again with the sensationalism; conflicting figures to fuel the conflict, like red and white rags to the British bulldog.

750,000 National Insurance numbers were issued to foreigners last year but that was down 10% on the previous year – there are one million Polish in the UK – 10% of all crime is committed by Eastern Europeans – 85% of ATM robberies are committed by Romanians – Migrants take 1 job in 8 – The free movement of labour has put a million and a half new workers in the UK, ALL with equal rights to nationals etc…

lith screen cap
This wretched scoundrel is Lithuanian. He and scores like him are being paid £50 per day to help build the 2012 Olympic Stadium. (7)

British Jobs for British People has become a rallying mantra in the UK. (8) Are such attitudes the prevailing consensus, or, perhaps put more succinctly: “Have pigshit thick little Englanders always had a sneering cowardice towards other cultures?” (25)

This isn’t only a white problem; blacks and Asians are also vocal on the subject. Most Britons just fear being squeezed out of their jobs by lower paid workers and these new arrivals putting pressure on social services; not so much British jobs for British people but rather priority in all sectors to anyone that can trace their ancestry back to Anne Boleyn.

It’s true that British companies actively recruit Eastern Europeans; some companies will take nothing less. (20, 21) The ‘Big Bang’ of London’s financial markets in 1986 gave rise to a massive amount of the right kinds of immigrants arriving from overseas. (1) These workers were of a calibre that couldn’t be found in suitable numbers amongst nationals. The same is true today with multi-skilled, qualified Eastern Europeans offering a higher work ethic than lazy Britons.

The British feel the competition and they don’t like it, because it makes them work harder. (24) Due to a generation of bad schooling it has been said that many Britons would be unemployable in countries such as Poland or Germany (22) but some are content with their low paid jobs, seeing as they are, “Quite good at it.” (23)

Fifty years ago it wasn’t uncommon to see signs in England such as No Irish, No Coloureds, No dogs, (26) and with Eastern Europeans being referred to as ‘white niggers’ (27) it looks as though our product may well come to face a brick wall come completion.

 

6.4 LITHUANIAN STEREOTYPES AND STATISTICS

Just 5% of all Lithuanian children under 18 have at least one parent living abroad. (28)

Up until now we’ve really only presented one side of the argument but how about some nice things that the British say about Lithuanians – at home and abroad; how about some of their own figures. (1,4,28,29,30)

Interesting, Inquisitive, Inventive, Intelligent, Intellectual – these five words kept popping up in our research and so it seems, for good reason.

This kinder stereotype of Lithuanians tells us that although they are somewhat reserved they are also generous and hospitable (sometimes to the point of aggravation). They are friendly and open, communicative and honest; keen to learn and make fresh discoveries. They are truly creative – many can make a dress, knit or crochet. They have a wide knowledge of nature, knowing many trees and fungi by heart. Above all they are a people with personality that know how to enjoy life.

It has been said that Lithuanians smile a lot, another thing they do a lot is smoke but their streets are not littered with cigarette ends – unlike some Eastern European Cities we’d care to mention. The men may be hard working and firm, jocular but wise but it is the graceful and feminine, strong willed and independent women of Lithuania that catch the eyes of most foreigners.

Many are surprised that, despite their relatively low incomes, these women take good care of themselves. They keep slim even if eating a lot and often choose elegance over efficiency or comfort. What better to admire them with than a fantastic, award winning, Lithuanian beer; just stay off those excellent roads of theirs – Lithuanians lose all sense of composure and reason when they get behind the wheel.

Without seeing the streets of Kaunas nobody can comment on the cleanliness of its streets but when witnessing Lithuanians reactions to public littering we get the idea. These images come not only from those who have travelled to Lithuania; when an open-minded, non reactionary national meets a Lithuanian they often come to the same conclusion.(30,31,32,33,34) One heart-warming example of progressive attitudes towards our foreign cousins is that of the Norfolk Policeman who, having learnt Lithuanian, was nominated for the Pride of Lithuania national awards – the first non-Lithuanian to have such an honour. (35)

The main destination country for Lithuanian migrants remains the United Kingdom, followed by Ireland, Germany and Spain. In 2006, the money sent home by migrants amounted to 2.6% of Lithuania’s GDP. Highly skilled non-manual and skilled workers form almost 40% of the outflow. As a consequence, some areas of the labour market are already experiencing shortages; this brain drain’ is causing increasing concern in Lithuania.

Foreigners also migrate to Lithuania for work; there are more than 34,000 aliens in Lithuania. Mirroring the migration of Lithuanians west, Belarusians and Ukrainians accounted for almost 70% of all work-permits issued in 2006.

The Lithuanian Government aims to reduce net migration to zero by 2012; the focus of the strategy is to encourage return migration.

In 2006, almost 5000 Lithuanian nationals returned from other EU member states, mostly the United Kingdom. This figure is almost three times the number of those in 2003. (28,29)

Perhaps figures such as these are more reliable than those in the UK. On one day alone, the Government’s reports of 800,000 – or 30% – of 2.7 million new jobs created going to to Eastern Europeans rose to 1.1 million – or 52% – a ‘clarification.’ A further correction stated that the wrong population estimates had been used to calculate the percentages given. (36) The bottom line is that there are between 3-500,000 Lithuanians in the UK but as many as 60% could be uncounted by Home Office figures. Foreign immigrants are now arriving at the rate of about 500,000 per year – or nearly one a minute. (28,36,37)

What have we learnt from all these figures? Except those undeniable by history – a source arguably just as corrupted – most of these numbers are contradictory and misleading at best and deliberately instigative at worse. Whatever the case may be, they are confusing for the casual observer, no matter which side of the fence they sit on.

Anyway, we could sit here all day and recount more tall tales, horror stories, paranoid fantasies and government statistics but instead we will seek to define the little part of the zeitgeist we can speak to ourselves. In the next section we will report on the survey we have constructed and distributed; edit our interviews down to bite-sized bullet points and discover just what it is we need to say to tell our story.

 

6.5 SURVEY, RESULTS AND ANALYSIS

“There are some things worth fighting for. Imagine if you woke up one morning here in Los Angeles and found Lithuanians with sharp teeth crawling up the beach with golf clubs to beat your brains out. What would you do? That’s a reason to defend yourself.”

– Mel Colm-Cille Gerard Gibson (38)

Gibson may well have had a point but who knows how serious he was actually being that day. Putting the following questionnaire together proved akin to said gold clubs and I was tempted to goad with similar kinds of challenges; it was hard to formulate something that neither forced people into a corner nor let them get away easy. We had to be careful not to lose our objectivity and show too much of ourselves; we couldn’t lead the witness, we couldn’t badger him; above all we just had to shut up and listen.

Our survey/questionnaire was uploaded to forums and comment boards where race and immigration was not the subject being dealt with; file sharing and social networking sites; friend lists and their families, colleagues and co-workers; the comment threads of satirical articles. Over a 14 day period we received a total of 52 responses.

The questionnaire can be found here.

And the completed responses here.

Opinions of the questionnaire ranged from good to bad. I hasten to say that all the multiple choice answers are unusable in any real sense; we don’t have the number needed to make any valuable cross referencing. We do however have British and Lithuanian government figures and nationwide UK polls on all aspects of immigration so it’s getting real time answers to our own crafted questions that is the real benefit here.

It should be noted that, until the reasons behind it was explained to them, some found the very existence of this questionnaire to be racist. My auntie asked if bringing back death camps would be next. She’s precious.

A similar survey was made for Eastern Europeans but due to a poor response we won’t go into too much detail here; although it is included in the reference section of this chapter. (39) All have felt discriminated against, notable quotes about experiences and impressions include; being thought of as rude, crazy, ignorant drunks; criminals, thieves and troublemakers and not being good enough. There have been problems with employment, verbal assault – being called Polish as an insult (when actually Polish) amongst other things – and threatening letters.

 

6.6 INTERVIEWS
Ewa Makowska. Polish Female, 32 (Living in DK for 14 years)

Have you ever been discriminated against? Why? If so, in what way?

Yes, because I’m from Poland. The Danish didn’t believe I was a high qualified worker when I was. They criticised me because I spoke Danish with an accent. I spoke Polish to my son when he was a baby and they spit in his stroller. They wrote on the walls, “Out with Polish.”

It was the younger Danes that treated me this way; the older ones were more reserved. There was also a Danish boy in my neighbourhood and they refused to let him play with my son even though my son was born in Denmark. They used to tease me for almost everything including my clothes because it was different and when I was working they would always give me the worst jobs and give the better ones to the Danes but this was only when I first started.

Did you ever have a hard time getting a job because you are Polish?

Yes when I first moved here. Like I said even though I was highly qualified they ignored this and gave me factory jobs.

In Denmark you have to prove that you belong here. It takes time to get friends and time for people to learn you are not so different from them especially when you start knowing better Danish. They say give a Dane two beers and they will loosen up and become more friendly and less reserved. This is true.

I know nowadays it is different from what I heard because there’s more and more foreigners. It’s not so bad after a while but at first it’s very upsetting.

Heidi Sørensen. Danish Female, 47

How do you feel about Lithuanians or Eastern Europeans in Denmark?

I heard after the borders have opened up there’s many from the east that come without a passport. There are some organised gangs that go into private homes in the middle of the night when people are sleeping and they steal from them but they do it the most brutal way. They are using weapons, binding the people and beating them.

There’s a case where some Lithuanians went into a private home and beat the man to death and tied up his wife. Of course there’s many from the east for honest reasons but many of the Eastern Europeans are getting known for the criminal activities that they do and the weapons that are involved. That’s why I think the idea of open borders is a very bad idea. We don’t know who they are and there’s no control. It makes me feel more unsafe in my own home.

There’s also many women from the east who come here and become prostitutes. Half of the prostitutes in Denmark are from Eastern Europe; I don’t like it. There are also organised gangs from Russia that commit forgery over the internet by getting people to put in their konto (bank account) number and then they empty their accounts. They also go to ATM machines and tell people that they dropped something and then they steal their ATM cards.

Do you know for a fact that it is East Europeans committing the crimes?

Yes, they say who they are on the news and they have put many of them in jail.

Can you state something specific about Lithuanians?

I don’t know too much about Lithuanians, I know more about the Russians but I do know the Lithuanians specialise in brutality and use of weapons.

How do you feel about the Lithuanians and they way they live in Denmark?

They are not as bad as the Muslims, at least they integrate by working and learning the language pretty well but they still keep to themselves in a way.

Did you know Vilnius is the European Capital of Culture for 2009?

No.

Should we see the Eastern European countries as one or separate?

Their own country. I’m not against foreigners but many of the people that are coming from the east and committing all these crimes are destroying the reputation of the honest hard working Eastern Europeans. I don’t generalise but I really don’t like the borders being open.

 

N.B. During the interview Heidi referred to the Lithuanians as Russians several times but she stated she knew Lithuania was its own country.

 

(Skipping the communication plan and competitor analysis, ditto most of the development and leaving in only this next bit about the story.)

 

8 – STORYTELLING

Intolerance will not be tolerated.

Well we hope you’ve been paying attention these past forty-something pages; we hope you already KNOW what we know; you must already FEEL it. As you’re aware, this is an intangible thing we are dealing with here, dynamic and open to massively varied interpretations – even when presented with cold-hard facts.

We have one product here, already stated to be the first of a proposed line; we have the attention span of the average, idle internet user to convince them to take stock of their no-good, intolerant lives and break out into a shining realm of patience and understanding. We propose that these calm, newly enlightened ones will go forth into the world and spread a message of peace and oneness to the narrow-minded xenophobes that fill our world with hate and vile smells.

And we’re going to do that with Flash animation.

Before we begin with the task of the interaction we actually need a story to visualise. Here we’ll set out those most common myths that we’ve chosen to dispel with our initial product.

Lithuanians are:

  • Poor, rural and without mod-cons.
  • Willing to work harder, faster and for less money than most Brits.
  • Used to intolerance, bigotry and racism disguised as national pride and societal concern.
  • Segregated and unfriendly.
  • Sexually amoral criminals and murderers.
  • Dishonest, drunken thieves that would crawl over their dead grandmothers to have a pop at their underage sister.
  • Not as bad as the Muslims.
  • Russian.

The last thing we want is for these twisted legends to be dealt with in a rational, reasonable, buttoned-up and tip-top way. People would instinctively turn off to a Government health announcement, even one warning of the risks of cancer for those that are rude to Lithuanians.

People like sensationalism, but they also like humour – and the British have always been capable of laughing at themselves (or more so, perhaps, at each other.)

“We might not be perfect but we are not worse than you, no matter how much you want to believe in it.”

A quote from one of the many forums that we have scoured, looking for inspiration and meaning. Isn’t that what we’re trying to do here, show that Lithuanians aren’t monsters under our beds; that they’re ordinary decent human-beings; European citizens and EU members? Let’s bring the noses of the British out of the polluting air of myth and MAKE THEM LAUGH.

Understand first off that this product will be directly associated with Lithuania so let’s pander to stereotypes before turning it on its head by beginning with some kind of wretched farm in the middle of nowhere, a hard working man and a sick looking dog. Let’s put a traditional wife cooking soup and a ragged son mending shoes inside some ramshackle stable.

The parents know that this life is no place for a young man to learn the ways of the world and become a gentleman but they have a plan. They offer the boy some money and explain their feelings; he understands and accepts the money, gathering his meagre belongings and setting off down the road to fame and fortune.

Let’s confirm each stereotype in this scene by creating an element of interactivity. Where did that money come from? Murder? Prostitution? Drugs?

As we build upon and layer the story we will be able to add more such questions that will, in their own way, show the inaccuracy of these myths of Lithuania and make people laugh when they realise how wrong they were.

lith flash3
Well would you look at that! The boy wasn’t in Lithuania after all! He was in England! Where’s he off to now though and what do you think he’ll find? I bet you can’t guess!

The days of being frightened, hiding under your sheets until morning comes, convinced that every settling noise the house makes is a ravenous Lithuanian with razor claws and pieces of other children hanging from its serrated teeth?

Those days are over.

 

10 – CONCLUSION

We hope that you have found the ingestion of this report to be a rich and fulfilling experience as that was certainly the case with its production.

We have overcome much trial and uncertainty during this past month but we believe it is this struggle that helped us find a better empathy towards the plight of countless Lithuanians everywhere.

Ours is a dynamic and adaptable proposal for the Lithuanian Embassy in Denmark. With their kind praise and encouragement we can but build on the strength of the body of work presented here and grow to meet the fresh challenges of our rapidly changing ethnic climate.

Welcome to Lithuania – the Loving Heart of Europe . . .

A happy ending :)


 

Right then, still here? Well I couldn’t tell you why we went with ellipsis in the slogan but it feels somewhat ominous, don’t you reckon? I should also mention that I was approaching mania when I wrote that laughable conclusion, having neither sleep nor wine in more than thirty six hours and with only a couple of hours until the deadline.

Six years on and while the Danish seem to be the same mixed bag of strawberries and broken glass as ever, the British have turned their hostilities to migrants fleeing hell on fucking earth, leaving Lithuanians as safe from vilification as any other white Eastern European. You don’t have to sound like us—in fact we prefer it that way since it gives us something to feel better about while you swan about being better at your job—just so long as you’re not all uppity, get a drink down your neck after work and understand that when a man tells a woman what to wear, less is actually more.

Anyway, as for our heartwarming wee game, since Flash is all but dead now I’m unable to share it so you’ll just have to settle for some code instead.

stop();
go_btn.addEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK,playanimation);
function playanimation7(event:MouseEvent) { play(); }

At least I think that’s code—might as well be fucking Lithuanian to me, know what I mean, bruv?

Urgh.

REFERENCES

  1. Wikipedia entries including threaded references
  2. Lonely Planet: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (2005)
  3. Lithuania – Culture Smart! (2007)
  4. http://culturelive.lt (European Capital of Culture site)
  5. Broken link
  6. http://svyturys.lt/en
  7. Broken link
  8. Gordon Brown UK PM, New Delhi TV News
  9. The Sun, 4th July 2003
  10. The Daily Star, 31st August 2003
  11. http://uk.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUKL0260673320080404?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0
  12. http://www.berlingske.dk/article/20071012/danmark/710120302/
  13. http://www.cphpost.dk/news/1-latest-news/220.html
  14. http://www.cphpost.dk/news/1/211.html
  15. http://www.cphpost.dk/news/1-latest-news/2601.html
  16. http://mbl.is/mm/frettir/innlent/2007/12/03/baejarbuar_eru_harmi_slegnir_yfir_banaslysi/
  17. http://mbl.is/mm/frettir/innlent/2008/11/20/gerdu_myndband_af_likamsaras/
  18. http://einaroddur.blog.is/blog/einaroddur/entry/718791/
  19. http://www.channel4.com/news/media/immigration/immigration_survey.pdf
  20. Dispatches: Immigration, The Inconvenient Truth, 3 Part Doc (BBC 2007)
  21. http://itv.com/tonight
  22. Lord Norman Tebbit (20)
  23. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iir2ZQEEbLA
  24. http://www.labas.co.uk/jotter/category/lithuanian-in-the-uk/
  25. Rhetoric found on forum of www.ifyoulikeitsomuchwhydontyougolivethere.com
  26. Race and Racism – Bernard R. Boxill, 2001
  27. http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/2052/
  28. INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION OUTLOOK: SOPEMI – 2008 EDITION
  29. MIGRATION YEARBOOK 2007 – UNDER THE MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA
  30. http://www.labas.co.uk/jotter/2007/10/21/hatred-towards-eastern-europeans/#more-6
  31. http://www.angelfire.com/ks/LithuanianKate/page6.html
  32. http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=2380177775
  33. http://www.liw.lt/archive_vid.php?shid=1093859909&id=1093856518
  34. http://www.tissa.net/archive/2006/abstracts%202/Kvieskaite,%20Egle%20PC.pdf
  35. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/norfolk/6524257.stm
  36. http://www.digitaltoast.co.uk/uk-immigration-figures-were-being-lied-to
  37. http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/what-is-the-problem
  38. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,85329,00.html
  39. http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=r1roav2ANuB8FFiSOse8eeA&output=html

 

Further reading resourced but not directly quoted:

  1. www.unesco.org (search: Lithuania)
  2. http://www.labas.co.uk
  3. http://migrationwatchuk.com
  4. http://polishcityclub.org
  5. http://polishexpress.co.uk
  6. http://CIA.com World Factbook: Lithuania
  7. http://Travel.lt (Lithuanian Travel Bureau)
  8. http://lithuanaitourism.co.uk (Lithuanian National Tourist Office)
  9. http://www.kristeligt-dagblad.dk/artikel/41189:Udland–Fra-Oesteuropa-til-bordel-i-Danmark
  10. http://www.jur.lo.dk/2003/25/Baggrundoganalyse/FupfirmaerfraOsteuropaudfordrerdanskejob.aspx
  11. http://www.jur.lo.dk/2003/25/Baggrundoganalyse/FupfirmaerfraOsteuropaudfordrerdanskejob.aspx
  12. http://www.nyidanmark.dk/lt-LT/Medborger_i_danmark_lt_lt/Medborger.htm
  13. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/jan/23/britishidentity.features117
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