Former president Lennart Meri, who would have turned 85 on Saturday, was remembered across the country with the lighting of signal fires on a line corresponding roughly to the path of the Kaali meteorite, which the writer and film director wrote about in his Hõbevalge books. Remembered for his active presidency, the former statesman also left a rich legacy of quotations. Here are 12 that are attributed to him, with reasonable reliability.
1) The situation is sh*t. That's our fertilizer for the future.
2) Estonia's survival depends on each and every one of us.
3) The thing about experiences is that they can only be found in the past.
4) Europe needs Pearu and Andres [the feuding farmers in Tammsaare's "Truth and Justice"], [linguist] Paul Ariste, [scientists] Jaan Einasto and Endel Lippmaa. It doesn't need Coca-Cola bottled in Estonia.
5) The notion that the time of Stalins and Hitlers is over is dangerous.
6) Compared to Russia, Estonia is like an Inuit kayak. A supertanker takes 16 nautical miles to turn around, but the Inuit can do a 180 degree turn on a dime.
7) The Estonian state is costly and the Estonian state is dear. It is costly for the citizen's pocketbook and it is dear to the citizen's heart.
8) The death of communism is being proclaimed from the rooftops, but no one has yet seen a corpse.
9) Estonian state and Hiiumaa Island were created to exist forever and not to fear even the Devil.
10) You young people [will] go through life like a knife through butter.
11) I have yet to see a general who knows how to milk a cow.
12) The best way to reduce social inequality is to invest into education.