Speeches

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves's opening speech at Tallinn Music Week, March 28, 2014

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves's opening speech at Tallinn Music Week, March 28, 2014

Tere hommikust, good morning.


Once again it is time for Tallinn Music Week, certainly one of the most exciting musical events in Northern Europe. I have, ever since it was begun by Helen Sildna, considered it one of the most interesting musical events in the region, precisely because it fosters new and innovative thinking. It celebrates diversity in musical tastes and the creativity of artists who want to do something new and something different.

As those of you who have heard me in previous years at TMW know, I have a fondness for rock'n'roll and an equally strong fondness for liberty. For me, the two have always gone hand in hand. Yes, you can in fact have liberty without rock, because already 300 years ago when the Scottish philosopher John Locke laid the groundwork for the relationship between the individual and the state, back then there was no rock'n'roll.

But in the past 60 years it has often been rock'n'roll music that has tested the limits of liberty in societies – even in those societies that consider themselves liberal democracies. In other societies, authoritarian, totalitarian, theocratic or a combination of these, you don't have to be a rocker to be locked up, threatened with prison or even death for saying what you believe. We know this quite well in Estonia, where many people suffered without playing rock but for speaking the truth. But rockers also suffered.

28.03.2014

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