Any fan of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine would know of the Bajorans, the Cardassian Occupation of Bajor and the brutality that went on there. One of the outcomes of that occupation was a number of half Bajorian, half Cardassian children- including Sinda Essen, the subject of tonight’s interview.
I told Sinda’s writer that I found the idea of a half Bajoran, half Cardassian byproduct of the Cardassian Occupation was fascinating. I wanted to know why he had picked this particular character and he answered,
Exactly that reason – I thought it would be a very interesting character concept to explore. DS9 introduced some darker aspects to the Star Trek universe with the Cardassian/Bajoran relationship – bad things happened during the Occupation and people like Sinda Essen were the result.
Speaking personally, Deep Space Nine was my favourite of all the Trek series and I must say I agree. The darker aspects it introduced to the Trek universe made excellent drama.
I was curious about Sinda’s dual nature. How relevant was her Bajoran side? Well,
She was born and raised on Bajor, so it is very important to her. Most of her childhood was spent in an orphanage but later she grew up with her Bajoran mother and brother. She was raised in the faith of the Prophets but that has since lapsed – a lot of that is down to how she is treated by other Bajorans, or rather how she percieves that treatment. The main reason for Essen joining Starfleet is because she couldn’t settle on Bajor, looking like she does.
Perception of treatment can often be just as telling, or even more so, than actual treatment. Given that some Cardassian/Bajoran hybrids were the children of collaborators (some willing, some less so), not to mention a constant reminder of Bajor’s darkest hours, it’s understandable that Sinda may not feel welcome on Bajor.
But what about her Cardassian side?
Ess dislikes her Cardassian half more as she blames it for not getting her into so much toruble growing up on Bajor. As she never knew her father she definitely considers her Cardassian side ‘lesser’ to her Bajoran one. On the plus side, she has excellent night vision and good smell/taste.
Interesting that she dislikes one half of her biological makeup so. I wanted to know if this ran deeper- does Ess’ consider herself strictly Bajoran, or does she- even a little- acknowledge that she’s a child of two worlds? Sinda wrote,
I picked a Bajoran/Cardassian hybrid specifically. Ess is a person who is in a constant struggle with herself, brought up by Bajorans who pretty much hate Cardassians, despite what they might say on the surface.
In general, she favours her Bajoran side over the Cardassian, unless she’s actually in the presence of a Bajoran in which case she feels very much Cardassian.
A remarkable attitude, I feel- to be a proud Bajoran amongst Cardassians, but a proud Cardassian amongst Bajorans.
Finally, I wanted to know if Sinda had any animocity towards the Cardassian Union for the occupation. Sinda answered,
Plenty. Animosity has surrounded her all her life. The Bajoran people see her as a constant reminder of the occupation, which meant that Ess couldn’t settle on her home planet. Although she has not met many Cardassians it’s likely they’d feel the same way.
However, if the occupation hadn’t taken place, Ess wouldn’t have been born. It’s something she thinks about from time to time.
All in all, a deep and complex character with many sides. It was fascinating to learn more about Sinda and I’m looking for even more of her adventures aboard the USS Drake!