Speeches

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At the Estonian Independence Day, Paide Music and Theater Hall

One mouth, as old
as dearest soil;
and a thoughtful face
so furrowed.

And a thoughtful face,
so honest;
so quiet, pained,
and speechless.

That was by Juhan Liiv, the most genuine and deeply-rooted embodiment of Estonian pain poetry. May the lines be in remembrance of the years the coronavirus took away from the people of Estonia; of years left unlived. They would have been brimming with wisdom – precious sharing, precious gathering, precious time spent together.

The coronavirus is robbing the Estonian people of a sizeable body of our elders’ wisdom. And not only that part which is permanent. It has also taken away the hours we now cannot spend sitting face to face with our older relatives and friends, enjoying a simple cup of tea. I have felt the absence of those conversations acutely. Everyday things spoken with wisdom are often a crucial source of support and guidance, even if we do not realize it under ordinary circumstances. We have now.
And we are that much richer for it in turn.

Yet not all of the bad can be turned to good. Loss of life is irrevocable. Lost weeks of school cannot be regained. Things one would’ve liked to discuss at length with their grandmother are forgotten by the time we’re able to visit again.
But hard times can make us better. And good people in Estonia can make bad times better.

Every person in Estonia working together can lead us out of this crisis. Yes, vaccination is voluntary, but even now, at a time when there is still not enough for everyone, there are too many people who could receive the vaccine but do not wish to. We must trust the scientists and doctors who have declared the vaccines to be safe!

I am asking all people of Estonia – let’s protect ourselves, our children, our jobs, and our families’ welfare by getting vaccinated as soon as the opportunity presents itself!

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