Transcript of the address by Matriarch Julena, 22nd of Sun's Greeting, delivered from Attena to the Thessian legislature is one of the retrospective articles prepared by CDN members to illustrate the events and changes that occurred during the year following the Reaper War.
Transcript of the address by Matriarch Julena
22nd of Sun's Greeting, delivered from Attena to the Thessian Legislature
"Thank you for your welcome, sisters. You honour me.
"I have been asked to speak to you as a member of the diplomatic corps, and the Citadel liaison group. But as I try to do in those roles, I will speak first and foremost in the voice of the woman I was just over a year ago. I was no diplomat then, nor was I sought out for advice on such weighty matters. I was a potter. Having travelled the galaxy and sampled its wonders in my maiden years, and known the joy and fulfillment of bondmates and daughters as a matron, I found myself content, as a matriarch, to practice my art in my studio, pass on such knowledge as I had to my students, and dote on my granddaughters.
"It was a good life, but I do not wish to return to it. We few matriarchs who survived the Reaper catastrophe find our voices in great demand, but it is not pride in my lofty station or the influence I have gained that compels me to continue this new path I found myself so abruptly set upon. All of you, my young sisters, look to us for leadership now, and we are moved to provide it, but not for prestige or fame. It is not a prize, but a service.
"During my participation in the rebuilding of our way of government, and the missions to the Citadel, many have asked me what we, as a people, ought to strive for. What the asari ought to stand for, and how we ought to atone for the inaction which led us to fail so many who depended on us, both beyond our own borders and finally on our own worlds, during the recent war. Whether we were ever the people we believed ourselves to be.
"I answer as a servant - your servant, a servant to my people, whom I have faith in, for my answer is this: we must not abandon ourselves. Pride in our accomplishments made us arrogant, made us believe that we needed only set our course, and the galaxy would in time acknowledge our wisdom and follow. We were wrong, and the price of our error is one that cannot be repaid. Yet our accomplishments were great, and our course was true - we lacked only the humility to recognize that those blessings bestowed upon us by the universe place upon us a duty to share them, not as their mistresses, but as their bearers.
"This is why my sisters and I have supported the Citadel Council wholeheartedly, and urged all our worlds to do likewise. Those calling for the Council’s disbanding, pointing to its failure to anticipate the magnitude of the Reaper threat, forget not only the centuries of cooperation and diplomacy the Council brought us, but that it was that cooperation - from the Council as well as our other allies - that finally allowed us to banish the Reaper menace. The Council is not ‘broken’, sisters - it faltered, as we did, and has been humbled, as we were, but it has been and remains the symbol of our dream of a united galaxy. Such a dream deserves our full support, now more than ever. And this is why my sisters and I have agreed with Councillor Irissa and Ambassador Tevos electing that we share with our fellow Council members, in full, the ancient technology and wisdom we once hoarded, despite the concerns of those who fear we will lose the technological advantage we once enjoyed. If we cannot extend our trust to those we ask to join us in union, we are already admitting that union’s failure, and we have seen the fate of those who choose isolation over unity.
"This is why I have disagreed with those calling for us to look inward, to let the rest of the galaxy tend to its own wounds, while we tend to our own. This past year has been the hardest our beloved worlds have ever known. None of us here, nor on our sister worlds, are untouched by the sadness and loss of the war, nor the hardship of the struggle to feed ourselves, to put shelter above our heads, to climb back to our feet and look upward when we are so, so weary. Yet we must not forget those who share this fragile galaxy with us, for this is their time of need as well. This is why, though it means we must work a little longer and a little harder, we are sending what aid we can to our neighbors, reinforcing the bonds between us, and forging new ones with worlds like Tuchanka and Rannoch. We are not alone in our hardship - we must not let our brothers and sisters elsewhere in the galaxy believe they are alone.
"And this is why I ask you all to heed my words, and those of my sister matriarchs, and accept our counsel. None can or will forget our failure to provide decisive leadership - so many are no longer with us, and many who remain took little part in those debates which paralysed the Republics when we most needed to act, but the responsibility to guide our people has passed to us, and we would be poor guides if our first act was to pretend we can inherit the mantle of those who came before us without also taking on their debts. I can only ask for your faith, as I speak with the voice not of a stateswoman, but a craftswoman. My hands have fashioned works I am proud of, yet it is when I have erred that I have learned best, for success without failure breeds arrogance, and the consequences of that we know only too well. So when we are met with anger and mistrust from those we failed, I ask you to respond with acceptance and love.
"I ask you, then, to believe in yourselves - in asari. We have spoken the words of siari, that all is one, and we have been shown by the harshest teacher - a common foe - that we cannot afford to neglect that lesson. Now we must recommit ourselves to that truth, that we are one people, whatever our form. This is what it means to be asari: to reach across the gulfs we imagine exist between us, and bring together all the universe’s children. It is a dream we strayed from in our actions, yet one we must not allow to leave our hearts.
"Thank you for your attention, my sisters. May the Goddess smile on you all in your endeavours."