Valsts prezidenta Egila Levita apsveikums Valsts svētkos

Mīļie latvieši visā pasaulē!

Šajās dienās gan Latvijā, gan visā plašajā pasaulē mēs pulcējamies, lai kopā ar Latvijas draugiem svinētu mūsu valsts 101. gadskārtu. Šis ir brīdis, kad izjust prieku un lepnumu, un arī dziļāk pārdomāt par savu valsti un par savu latvietību.

Latvijas valstiskumam sākas otrā simtgade. Tai jāiezīmē jauns posms Latvijas kā brīvas, latviskas, atbildīgas, nobriedušas un stipras Ziemeļeiropas valsts ceļā.

Latvijas valsts dod satvaru un jēgu latviešu nācijas kopīgai pagātnei, tagadnei un nākotnei.

Latviskumam ir būtiska gan pagātnes, gan nākotnes dimensija. Tur iekļaujas gan vērtībās balstītā latviskā identitāte, gan uz mūsu nākotni vērstās domas un ideāli.

Tur iekļaujas gan Latvijas iedzīvotāji, gan diaspora – kuras valstisko lomu nostiprina šogad spēkā stājies Diasporas likums.

Latvijas valsts ir ģeogrāfiska un ideju telpa, kurā šo mūsdienīgo latvietību iedzīvināt. Tam nepieciešama arī jūsu līdzdalība. Mūsu visu kopīgais uzdevums ir nodot mūsu valsti nākamajām paaudzēm labāku, skaistāku un drošāku, nekā mēs to saņēmām.

Mīļie tautieši!


Latvietības fenomēns ir tas, ka daudzi, dzīvojot ārpus Latvijas robežām, vēlas saglabāt piederību Latvijai un latvietībai – pat vairākās paaudzēs un visapkārt pasaulei. Saiti ar Latviju mūsdienās varam uzturēt neatkarīgi no tā, kur pastāvīgi vai uz laiku dzīvojam. Esmu par to spilgti pārliecinājies visās pasaules daļās, kur pats esmu dzīvojis vai ticies ar latviešiem.

Šis latvietības fenomens ir skaists un uzteicams. Tas ir piederības spēks. Un tā ir apzināta izvēle – piederēt latviešu nācijai un Latvijas valstij. Globālajā pasaulē varbūt nav pašsaprotami, bet tas dod māju sajūtu. Mūsu valsts pastāv, lai gādātu par latviešu nācijas, valodas un kultūras pastāvēšanu un attīstību.

Aktīvi iesaistoties vēlēšanās, atbalstot Latvijas izaugsmi ar savu pieredzi un zināšanām, jūs kā labi Latvijas pilsoņi apliecināt savu izvēli par labu Latvijai.

Kas tagadnes un nākotnes Latvijai ir visvairāk nepieciešams?

Latvietības kā vērtības apzināšanās. Cieņa pret mūsu vēsturi, rūpes par mūsu valodu un kultūru, lepnums par savu valsti. Radošums un uzdrīkstēšanās modernas latvietības stiprināšanā caur inovācijām un izcilību gan sabiedriskajā darbā, gan zinātnē, uzņēmējdarbībā, gan mākslā un sportā. Sabiedrības solidaritāte kā lielās, tā šķietami sīkās lietās. Godīgums pret saviem līdzpilsoņiem un savstarpēja uzticēšanās. Palīdzība tiem, kam klājas grūtāk.

Jo vienlīdz vērtīgs jeb vienvērtīgs ir katrs cilvēks, katrs tautietis. Aktīva līdzdalība, labklājības celšana – ne uz citu rēķina, bet ar kopīgā labuma apziņu.

Savas valsts uzlabošanas darbā ikviens ir aicināts ņemt dalību, lai kur pasaulē arī neatrastos un lai cik lielu vai mazu artavu būtu gatavs Latvijai sniegt.

Latvija ir un paliks latviešu nācijas sirds. Lai tās puksti atbalsojas ikvienā no mums!

Lai tā atsaucas Latvijas draugiem un aicina savā pulkā katru, kam Latvija dārga un kas tās demokrātiskās vērtības ir gatavs aizstāvēt!

Tautieši!

Sirsnīgi sveicu jūs mums visiem kopīgajos Latvijas valsts svētkos!

Saules mūžu Latvijai!

Dievs, svētī Latviju!

Asoc. prof. Inta Mieriòa.

Migration researcher Inta Mieriņa outlines aim of new research survey

The Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the University of Latvia (LU FSI) has launched a new survey, funded by the Fundamental and Applied Research Programme (FLPP). Aimed at Latvian nationals and emigrés living outside Latvia, as well as those who have returned or moved to Latvia. The project, titled “Well-being and Integration in the Context of Migration” is the second wave of a survey that was conducted by the Institute 5 years ago, titled “The Emigrant Communities of Latvia”.

The survey is available at Migracija ⇄ LV in three languages – Latvian, English and Russian. There are two options – a short (20 min.) or long (30 min.) version.

This interview with lead researcher of this project, Director of the Diaspora and Migration Research Centre (LU DMPC), Dr. Inta Mieriņa will reveal more about the research.

How does this study differ from previous LU FSI and LU DMPC research?

This study is the continuation of research in the form of a survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Latvia in 2014, with participation by over 14 000 people living in 118 countries. This time we would like to invite those who previously responded to take part, as well as those who didn’t, or only emigrated later.

We are most interested in finding out how the lives and views of people from Latvia living abroad have changed in the past five years. During this time Latvia has experienced changes – both wage growth and a change of government as well as the adoption of a Diaspora Law and a number of major upheavals have rocked the world in general.

The study is unique in that it is the first longitudinal study of its kind in Latvia, following the lives of emigrants – for instance, who has returned, who has remained, whether their life circumstances and life satisfaction have changed, their relationships with their loved ones, their ties with Latvia.

A longitudinal study is the most effective way of researching this as it allows researchers to gain evidence of the influence of different factors on the life course of a person. This is of great value not only in the context of Latvia but is also a rarity in the European context.

Will this study be aimed at a particular target group?

This study will differ from others as it is not only aimed at emigrants but also those who have returned to Latvia. This year’s research will also help us to gain better insight into the number of Latvian nationals who live outside Latvia and those who have returned to Latvia. Currently there are different versions and calculations but there is no precise data. But this should be the foundation for our research! We especially need data on the emigre (trimda) Latvians, and so this time around we sincerely hope that many members from this group will take part, which would give our colleague, Prof. Hazans the opportunity to be able to make a more precise evaluation of the situation.

We are also particularly interested in a group called the transnationals – people who define their home to be in a number of countries, who are in constant movement between Latvia and another country, maintaining close ties with a number of countries. Our 2014 data shows that 17% of our respondents fall into this category. Migration processes are no longer the same as they were previously – a person makes a decision to leave, packs his bags and goes. Nowadays these processes are much more flowing and dynamic, often a person may live in one country, he may have another job or his family in another country. This category is steadily on the rise, and for this reason our research will focus also on this group.

What is the aim of the research?

The central issue is the wellbeing of emigrants and return migrants. Our aim is to find out how Latvian nationals feel living outside Latvia, analysing this in depth from various aspects – those that are most important to migrants, including psychological wellbeing, the availability of health services, their inclusion into the labour market and the value of their skills and contribution outside as well as in Latvia. We will also be looking at the integration of emigrant and return migrant children into the school system and other questions that influence the wellbeing of migrants, with the aim to understand what support would be required to help solve these problem situations. From a scientific point of view, the plan is to find out the factors that allow people to integrate into their new host country most seamlessly, and why some people decide to return.

From theories we know that by emigrating, one improves one’s economic situation, career prospects, gains new skills and knowledge and improves one’s financial and material situation in various ways. Yet we know much less about the way that emigration influences other facets of life: relationships with one’s peers and friends, family, how one integrates in society as a whole, the extent to which one gets involved in social and political life, the availability of health care, how children integrate into schools, other details that are no less important than the material side of things. We would like to find out if, by improving one’s material situation, we end up paying for it in other areas – do our ties with loved ones and an overall sense of belonging weaken, do we have to live with psychological tension and stress in a foreign environment, with difficulties in the labour market, the education of our children.

What questions would you like to get answers to in this study?

We will cover a number of different themes. One of the most recent questions – how we can look at questions of integration in the context of flowing, transnational migration, bearing in mind that up till now, the politics of integration has been directed at people who have moved to live in a particular country permanently? What does integration mean to those migrants who have not fully integrated into a society, and maybe don’t even wish to integrate, feel quite satisfied with the situation that they are in. What does being well-integrated mean? Does this mean it is mandatory to learn the official language? Does it necessarily mean you should establish close ties with the local community? Or can you be a good resident without all these things?

In the literature, these questions are usually answered from an epistemological point of view, also a philosophically theoretical sense, yet in this study we plan to ask the people to answer this themselves.  Do they feel well-integrated or a sense of belonging to the society in the host country? Do they even want to fit in? If not, why not? If they do – in what way? This could help to understand the new reality that the increasingly mobile Europeans are faced with. Maybe we try to force unnatural models of integration onto people, who feel very different?

Our previous research clearly illustrated the subjective status of migration – what does leaving or returning mean? For this reason we will also ask how people see themselves – as emigrants, as Latvian nationals living abroad, as exile representatives, as members of the diaspora?

Many of these terms are foreign to our people living outside Latvia. For instance, we know that many don’t identify themselves as members of the diaspora, even though this is the most frequently used term in political documents. And the term emigrant doesn’t sit well with the old emigre community, who don’t see themselves as emigrants, as this word has a negative connotation. Those who have left recently also frequently don’t want to see themselves as emigrants or migrants either, as there is generally a prejudice towards the word migrant. Therefore we will find out how people identify themselves.

It is important that among our researchers are people who live or have lived outside Latvia; that also contributes to a better understanding of the views of people living outside Latvia.

Why should people take part in this research?

In the past five years, significant changes have occurred in diaspora and remigration policy. We are pleased that our scientific research has provided the inspiration and informative base for various policy initiatives and have made a significant contribution to the development of diaspora policy. Because those of you living outside Latvia have trusted us with your opinions, we have been able to lobby for the changes required in certain areas. Among these are support for return migrant children, or changes to taxation regulations and social benefits, the establishing of support mechanisms in Latvia.

Our research has also promoted the development of various private and social initiatives regarding job opportunities. The research findings have been widely publicised in the media in both Latvia and outside, they are utilised in the academic teaching sector and have been published in international journals and monographs, helping to better understand the views of those who have left, their motivation and life stories. If I am asked – is it worth taking part in the research, then today I can proudly show quantifiable results that have been achieved because of our previous research efforts.

In addition to academic interest, policy makers are also interested in the findings of this research. In the realm of diaspora politics, our research is taken into account very seriously and serves as an information and knowledge base for the developing of support measures for the diaspora and return migrants. It is not just research like any other research. It is being conducted by Latvia’s leading emigration researchers and it has a unique knowledge base that will ensure that the results will be voiced loudly and have far-reaching influence. We are also convinced that we as researchers should work with the diaspora – collaborating with diaspora organisations and groups, tackling the most pressing problems that the diaspora and return migrants face and helping to highlight and solve them.

If you would like to take part, please complete the survey by 31st October at Migracija ⇄ LV.

The original version of this interview, in Latvian, is available at Migracija ⇄ LV

Laura Bužinska ir ieguvusi bakalaura grādu Latvijas Universitātē Āzijas studiju programmā un maģistra grādu izglītības zinātnē programmā Dažādības pedagoģiskie risinājumi. Latvijas Universitātes Diasporas Migrācijas Pētījumu Centra pētniece.

Latvian Radio Choir’s “Daugava” bring Rainis’ words, Brauns’ music to life

It would not be an exaggeration to call the song ‘Saule, Pērkons, Daugava’ (music by composer Mārtiņš Brauns, lyrics by poet Rainis) one of the most popular, if not the most popular and beloved of modern Latvian songs. It is always one of the emotional culmination points of any Latvian Song Festival, and the song is so treasured that there have been serious efforts to establish it as the new official Latvian anthem. With its stirring music and triumphant words, it inspires and galvanizes not just Latvians, but others worldwide (the Catalonians have used Brauns’ music for their own anthem).

Rainis wrote most of ‘Daugava’ in 1916, and it experienced its first public performance in 1919. Rainis, observing the suffering of the Latvian people during World War I, intended the poem to inspire Latvians with ideas of freedom and independence. In an uncanny coincidence, Rainis even predicted the battles with the forces of Bermondt on the shores of the Daugava River at the end of 1919.

‘Saule, Pērkons, Daugava’ was initially composed by Mārtiņš Brauns as part of a larger choir suite, based on Rainis’ epic poem ‘Daugava’. Premiered at the height of the Latvian Awakening in 1988, Brauns’ music became a rallying cry during the era, and has remained one of the most significant musical achievements of that era.

Recognizing the significance and national importance of not just the song ‘Saule, Pērkons, Daugava’, but the entire Daugava suite, the Latvian Radio Choir, conducted by Sigvards Kļava, released a recording of the full composition in 2018, which also features the composer himself on keyboards and occasional solo vocal. The album, entitled Daugava, presents the full work, reaffirming again the significance of the whole of this composition. It is no surprise that the album won the best recording of academic music at the 2019 Golden Microphone Award ceremony.

Brauns, who also performed extensively with the rock group Sīpoli, brings much of the theatricality and intensity of rock music to the Daugava cycle with his keyboard performances, full of varied musical elements and even sound effects. The stirring ‘Sasaukšanās’, a call to all Latvians, begins the song cycle, and then Brauns’ keyboards bring a dramatic atmosphere to the subdued and somber ‘Tumsas māte’. Brauns himself provides a memorable and powerful vocal performance in ‘Ilgu vējš’. More theatricality can be heard in the appropriately angry ‘Dusmu dziesma’, where the choir literally growls phrases like ‘brīves vārdu traipījuši’ (they have stained the name of freedom).

The mournful ‘Daugavmāte’ is a song about the nurturing power of the Daugava River, and there are tender moments as well, such as the gentle ‘Sarkanbaltais karodziņš’, an ode to the three historical regions of Latvia.

‘Trimdas dziesma’ is a call for Latvians to unite, those in Latvia as well as those in Latvia, and it also provides a lament for the unfortunate Latvian tendency to devour one another in lyrics like ‘Kādi zvēri esam mēs? Kožam paši savu tautu!’ (What kind of animals are we? We tear each other apart!).

The work, of course, concludes with the appropriately anthemic ‘Saule. Pērkons. Daugava.’ Besides being the culmination of the larger work itself, it is also one of the pinnacles of Latvian music, a rare perfect meld of music and poetry. The Radio Choir’s performance of it is stirring and moving, and confirms the power of this song, no matter the performer – be it a smaller choir or tens of thousands of singers at the Song Festival.

Daugava is a true treasure, and this recording of it is not just a passionate, full spirited performance of the song suite, but also a valuable musical document, a triumphant and memorable achievement. The Latvian Radio Choir, along with conductor Sigvards Kļava, vividly bring Rainis’ words and Brauns’ music to life, creating an engrossing and dramatic interpretation that captivates the listener with its vision of the role of the Daugava River in the fate of the Latvian nation.

For further information, please visit the Latvian Radio Choir website

Egils Kaljo is an American-born Latvian from the New York area . Kaljo began listening to Latvian music as soon as he was able to put a record on a record player, and still has old Bellacord 78 rpm records lying around somewhere.