A Revolution John Lennon Could Support - The Singing Revolution on PBS
Imagine…a revolutionary war fought with musical notes instead of bullets and bombs. Can’t happen? It did—in Estonia. The Singing Revolution is the astounding story of Estonia—its people, its history, and its successful, nonviolent revolution. A brilliant documentary, it will be shown on Public Television in August and September, beginning August 1; check local listings for dates and times. This special, one-hour version of the theatrical film is being shown in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the August Moscow coup and the September collapse of the Soviet Union (1991).
Estonia’s rebirth is largely due to hundreds of thousands of citizens who gathered in public places to sing forbidden patriotic songs. They listened to protest speeches and risked their lives in their desire for independence. Finally, they achieved freedom without the loss of a single life.
Estonians “freed themselves from decades of Soviet occupation and oppression,” by joining forces, testing glasnost, and—of course—singing. On August 23, 1989, “over one million Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians link[ed] hands over a 372-mile-long human ‘Baltic Chain.’” In 1990, the Congress of Estonia was established, and despite a coup attempt quelled by Estonians in minutes, Soviet supporters were allowed to leave the capital peacefully. These are among the many stories told in The Singing Revolution, an inspiring documentary that offers an intimate glimpse of the Estonian people and the incredible story of their contribution to the demise of an empire.
Since Estonian independence was re-established in 1991, the country’s economy has thrived and technological advances have soared. Throughout the Soviet occupation, Estonians were able to watch Western television from Finland, which is believed to have contributed to their technological and free-market sophistication.