TALLINN - President Kersti Kaljulaid in her speech on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Estonia emphasized the need to protect the weaker, noting that dignity of the state relies on the fact that the state is capable of treating each of their citizens and residents with respect to their human dignity and that the dignity of the state depends on how the victims of abuse are treated.
"More cases of domestic abuse were registered in Estonia last year than earlier. This tells us we have managed to reduce the wall of silence. If the victim is free to speak out, the state can offer support, maintain the dignity of the victim, and safeguard the dignity of the state. Nobody should remain silent so that the rest of us will not feel embarrassed. This is the right way. I would like to thank the police, the social workers, women's shelters, the prosecutor's office, and all the volunteers, anybody who notices! There is a long way to go, but we will win this fight," Kaljulaid said.
"It is devastating to the dignity of the state if the local government, whose immediate responsibility is to notice the people around us, does not assume responsibility for that person at their time of need or does not help to protect the dignity of that person, even after having accepted their tax contributions in happier times. It is devastating to the dignity of the state, if the rural municipality will deliver to your post box a newspaper published with taxpayers' money, but will leave this person alone after a tragedy, or without the assistance or support towards the end of their life because of the budget," the president said.
"Somehow there is always enough budget for brainwashing, for creating the impression that local rulers are irreplaceable – the grotesque of the capital is visible but the same is repeated also at local level," she said. "I would like to thank all the local government officials who put their hearts into their work, thinking about the needs and the dreams of their people, assigning funds primarily to where the problem is the biggest!"
"We do not need to be among the top five wealthiest countries, nor even among the top five wealthiest local governments in Estonia in order to think about the dignity of our citizens. A little will take you a long way if we put enough caring into it. Our public means are far from being small. They are sufficient for Estonia to be a country of dignity for our people," Kaljulaid said.
"Also, in 100 years' time we must have a free and dignified state which recognizes personal freedoms, offers support in tragedy, provides Estonian language education and high-flying culture, and with a clean environment which does not coerce its population's support through force and propaganda," the president said.
"Also, in 100 years' time if we continue on this course of European democratic values and freedoms, we will not be alone in the world. We have different neighbors. Some are more, some are less democratic. We have neighbors who have shared our fate of the previous century, and neighbors with whom we are in sync. We also have one difficult neighbor. But a neighbor is a neighbor. They will not be left without attention even if they have been disappointing us over some decades," Kaljulaid said.
"We expect of our partners that they will not be willing to exchange a value-based world order for short-term interests. We recall that strategic patience will help you to reach your aim –the policy of non-recognition of our occupation had to last for half a century before it finally succeeded," she said.
"What would have happened to Estonia if the Western world had tried to achieve the alleviation of tensions during the Cold War period by surrendering our rights? Now it is our task to remind our Western allies of the beautiful role they played during this dark time of history, to guarantee a safe and peaceful development for Estonia, and to keep up hope for the others. This beautiful end to our first century sets this obligation," the president said.