President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said people living in Estonia should not be divided, and in the current climate, we should embrace each other instead of neglecting our fellow citizens.
“In the current situation hatred is an unnecessary luxury, we should seize the opportunity to overcome (that hate). If there are any clouds on the horizon we should make our peace with those with whom we have quarreled the past 23 years,” he said on Wednesday during his re-independence speech in Kadriorg in Tallinn.
He said many new countries have not prepared for freedom, as Estonia did, holding many debates before 1991. “We knew we needed our own currency, that we need to move towards the West. We knew that reintegration with Europe, the cradle of our culture, is necessary,” Ilves said, adding that all that was clear before the country reasserted its independence on August 20, 1991.
Estonians held freedom, democracy and human rights as a given, however "we have seen as those self-evident notions about security, which have lasted for half a century, have been destroyed,” Ilves said, adding that words such as aggression, occupation, lawlessness and war have re-emerged.
“But many of us are worried as suddenly we recognize how fragile our civilization, our success and lives are. Those feelings are strengthened by the stories from our grandparents and great-grandparents of how and of how fast once all was lost, and what followed,” he said.
The new reality forces people re-evaluate what was previously self-evident. “Suddenly surfaces the realization that the world we live in is not eternal. Maybe even we have to work to preserve it.”