Good evening and a Happy New Year to all of you! Sad as it may be, the last year will remain in memory as one that created worry and anxiety. It was not a year that we would have wanted to see unfold like that on the 1 January last year. There were certainly joyful moments in domestic life, but the events in the world will inevitably affect us here in this little country.
In some inexplicable way, the popular writer Oskar Luts seems to have expressively summed up the year 2015 in Estonia already in his 1912 book “Spring”. We all have that book on our shelves. Pick it up and read it again if you do not believe me. You will certainly remember the episode where Imelik goes to put out the light in the boys’ bedroom and then becomes frightened because there is someone behind the window. And what is more, this someone is making a dreadful tutting noise. The fear is great, the boys hide under their blankets, close their eyes and shiver. Fortunately, a boy named Vipper does not lose heart. He goes to bring the ghost into the room, and it turns out to be none other than Toots! Their own schoolmate Toots! It was just a schoolboy prank and not a haunting ghost. He had with him a round globe that won the admiration of all his schoolmates.
Did not many among us also discover with alarm last year that this globe is indeed round? And that our beloved Estonia is just one of the places on this globe.
In the year that has just begun, in August we will celebrate with sincere joy the 25th anniversary of the day from which Estonia can count itself independent again. Away from a state based on fear, from injustice and deportations, the cult of a great leader who proclaims the one and only truth, the deriding of simple people. We wanted to be free and independent. And today we are just that.
I wish that we would continue to be proud Estonians also in the new year. I wish that we would respect our language and culture, support families with children, have joy in our work, and not forget our parents. I wish that we would hold out our hand to all those who are in a minority in our country and therefore feel excluded. And there is no need to be afraid if your fellow traveller is not exactly like you. Let us try to understand first, and not to condemn at once. A proud Estonian cannot be a “bag of negativity” who explodes five times a day. After all, there is only one Estonia, and we live here. All together.
I wish that, in the new year, we would also be proud Europeans who understand that, in this great opposition between the open and closed worlds, even those who are dozens of times larger than us cannot get things done alone. All those simpletons who are trying to tear the single Europe into pieces again, to gain votes in elections with the help of fences and barbed wire are, above all, enemies of their own people, and not of Europe. In 1939, Estonia was alone, and our future was decided for us. The world today is not a much better place. However, we have friends and allies now. A proud Estonian knows that Estonia can be successful only if Europe is successful.
I also wish that we would have more proud citizens of the world amongst us in the new year. Today’s world is as intertwined as was the medieval Old Town of Tallinn. In those times, a town citizen would never go to sleep when his neighbour’s house was on fire. It was extinguished because otherwise the whole town would have burnt down. If you incidentally do not believe this similarity between modern times and medieval times, take your computer or cell phone and check how many seconds it takes you to reach the other end of the world.
Dear compatriots. However much we would like to only smile, clap our hands and pat each other on the back in the evening of the 1 January, it did not happen this time. The war in Europe has not ended, the refugee crisis awaits a solution. Therefore my last wish for the new year is very simple. I wish that our meeting in the next New Year would be much more joyful than it is today.
We believe in Estonia, we hope for the better, we love our near ones. The latter is the most important.
Your feedback is important. Please share it with us!