Estonian parlt speaker calls for tolerance, understanding in New Year's address

Eiki Nestor

PHOTO: Erik Peinar / riigikogu kantselei

The speaker of the Estonian parliament, Eiki Nestor, called in his New Year's address for tolerance and not being afraid of people who are not exactly like Estonians.

«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 January 1 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,» Nestor said.

He said he wishes 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,» the speaker said.

«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 we 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,» he went on to say.

Nestor said he also wishes that there would be 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 neighbor'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.»

«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,» Nestor concluded.