Direct Speech, Estonia

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 20.08.2019, 20:17

Kersti Kaljulaid: Dream of better Estonia connects all of us

BC, Tallinn, 25.02.2019.Print version
Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid said in her speech on the occasion of the 101st anniversary of the republic at the Estonia Opera House and Concert Hall on Sunday that all Estonians are connected in their dream of a better Estonia.

My dear Estonians! Happy Independence Day!

100 years ago in the winter, our War of Independence was sweeping across Estonia.

Snow fell, a cold snow fell.
— Why are bright lights driving there,
thick feathery snowflakes suspended in air? —
The crowd was silent, the cheerful crowd silent.
Did you say the trucks come from the railroad,
bringing bloodied soldiers from the railroad,
young men, young women?

Hendrik Visnapuu’s poem speaks of city dwellers’ merry path going either to or from the opera intersecting with those, whose duty it was to fight our War of Independence.

Snow fell, a white snow fell.
A resolute notion grappled within.
A wordless cry among the din,
heard by the hour, heard by the night-time hour.
Pain in their step from the opera home,
amid white snow falling they went home,
young men, young women.

A world of contrasts. There wasn’t only war in Estonia 100 years ago. Did it weigh heavily upon those cheerful opera-goers? Did what they’d just seen weigh heavily upon them for a very long time? I suppose it’s only natural that it probably didn’t particularly.

As if to commemorate the War of Independence 100 years later, we’ve been given a brighter and lighter winter again for the first time in quite a while. But somewhere, there are still shadows. In those shadows are Estonians who must manage to get by with sick loved ones. Women and children suffering from domestic abuse. But there are also young singers, female and male television hosts alike who admit that online harassment has brought them to tears, caused depression, and affected their ability to handle their jobs.

Illnesses are inevitable. Being left without assistance in life’s difficult moments is not inevitable. That just does not happen in a caring country. Arguments are inevitable. They do not have to end in physical or psychological violence. And, in an observant society, they don’t. Criticism is necessary. How else is one to improve? But degradation is not criticism. Insults with sub-tones that strike below the belt are degrading to all women who wish to have a say in life in Estonia. It’s unfortunate that the internet is full of violence in our mother tongue that is directed against all who wish to do something.

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