H.E MR. JULI MINOVES-TRIQUELL
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE PRINCIPALITY
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
15 SEPTEMBER 2002, NEW YORK
Mr. Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish, first of all, to congratulate President Jan Kavan, well known for his expertise in human rights, for his election to chair the works of this assembly. My congratulations also go to the departing President, Mr. - Han Seung-Soo, for his hard work, and to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, whose stewardship of the Organization in these trying times is particularly admirable.
This session of the United Nations, more than any other in recent years, seems caught between the past and the future. A tragic past and an uncertain future. In New York, as in the world, the catastrophy of the attacks of 9-11 seems so present that we feel its imprint still upon us, as if our souls were marked by the fall of the towers, the cruel loss of life. As we feel this past as a tangible weight, so too we sense the future pressing in upon us.
In the past year, we have witnessed the war in Afghanistan, the fall of the Taliban, the establishment of a new government in Kabul. Will there be an intervention in Iraq, will there be more attacks in America, or in Europe, or elsewhere? What will the future bring?
I ask these questions as foreign minister of the Principality of Andorra. Andorra is a small and peaceful country nestled in the protected valleys of the Pyrenees. We have been peaceful for nearly a thousand years. And yet we are not safe from the storms that buffet the world. But because of our small size, and our reliance on trade, our relations with our neighbors and the world - our diplomacy, if you will - are of the greatest importance to our well-being. As we turn to the world, so too the world comes to us - in the tens of millions of tourists that visit us each year.
Our industries, our citizens, our lives, are as intimately linked to the world as to the mountains that surround us. This link was clear in the profound sadness of our people to the loss of life in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. We felt it as a visceral blow, a spontaneous expression of true sympathy.
The world surrounds us, even as we often feel that we can do little to influence the course of events. And yet what we do know is how to actively seek peace, and thereby ensure our future. It is of the future, the idea of the future, that I wish to speak today.
The future. In order to understand it, we must look not only to those events that are determining it, that are forming it even as we speak, but to its own history as an idea. What is the history of the future?
Here I will only invoke, in passing, two earlier models that five hundred years
ago embodied our understanding of the future: God's providence, and the wheel
of Fortune. In the providential model of the future, God looked down on the
full history of the world from "the high citadel of eternity" in the
phrase of Thomas Aquinas. He sees everything - every grain of sand, every sparrow
that falls. "There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow"
Hamlet tells Laertes in Shakespeare's great play. But alongside this Christian
understanding of God's providence, is another figure, the pagan figure of Fortuna,
who holds her wheel in which all men, king and commoner, rise and fall. Hamlet
is also aware of her power: he is buffeted by "the slings and arrows of
outrageous Fortune" and longs to end his life, but he fears God's prohibition
This very prohibition -- shared by all three of the great religions of the West -was broken by the suicide attacks of September 11. So too the prohibition that thou shall not kill. Life is precious: it is given to us, and we cannot take it away.
In these two models of the future, humanity is passive. ' We are puppets: God, or fortune, pull our strings. But gradually we pulled away from this passive enslavement to our fate, our destiny, and struggled to master the future.
The change in the future is first heard in the writings of that first theorist of diplomacy, the cunning Machievelli. In The Prince, he wrote that a ruler must learn to profit from chance, or rather turn chance to his favor. In a typically violent metaphor, he tells the Prince that Fortune must be beaten. Machievelli councils him to wrestle with fortune and thereby form the future.
Although Machievelli was advising an absolute monarch, and indeed his thought presaged a long period of monarchical absolutism, he understood that the rulers and administrators could no longer afford to be passive objects of history. They had to consider, to think, to attack fortune. To hurl the slings and shoot the arrows back at her, if you will. In this shift, from passive object to active agent, the idea of the future begins its transformation. In this future, Machievelli's heirs - diplomats gathered here today - advise the modern Princes, the democratically elected rulers of the world, for the general good of the people.
The future becomes an idea that we build, through strategy, thought, and action. Through laws and treaties we enter into and must obey. This is the very purpose of the United Nations, the great parliament of the world's governments, or - in a less poetic but more apt image-, a great, international factory in that it builds the future. A future not for the wealthy, or the powerful, not for some nations, but for the world and its peoples.
Out of the ruins of the second World War, the nations of the world joined to create a better future for all humanity. The belief that binds us together is the belief that together, only together, can we build a better world for all: a glorious city on the hill. A new Jerusalem. A Jerusalem of all religions, all beliefs.
A city of tolerance. A city very much like that of New York.
This is why, I think, the terrorist attacks were so painful. For New York City is very much an expression of the United Nations, a place for all of the citizens of the world, all religions, all beliefs. The city of tolerance. A city that resolutely looks forward, to the future. New York: City of Dreams, City of the Future.
Strangely, even as New York was profoundly wounded by these attacks, no other city, I think, has been so resolute in looking forward. The city was not, nor is it not, spoiled by revenge. New York always looks to the future. While others may reproach the city for its indifference to its past, its forward-looking optimism is perhaps its greatest gift to the world.
So when we all saw in Andorra, and elsewhere the attacks on the World Trade Center, my first response was that the suicide hijackers did not know New York. They did not know that this city has brought people from all countries together. They did not know the people who would die in the fall of the towers: people from many of the religions and countries of the world.
But then I realized that perhaps they did know. That perhaps New York was their target, and that their target was the future. Or rather, their target was a future of tolerance: religious, cultural, personal. Indeed it seems that the terrorists longed for a purity, for a pure vision of the future in which the tolerance - the impurities - of New York would have no place.
They believed not in the uncertain future of New York, the restless striving for the new. They believed that in their deaths they would enter the Paradise of the Afterlife. They believed, sacrilegiously, that they were the means of God's providence.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
When the terrorists attacked America, they also attacked the future. They attacked the future of tolerance, a future controlled not by fate, but by mankind. We cannot let our notion of the future fall with the towers. For the future is as fragile as the towers proved to be - perhaps more. It is built not of steel and stone, but on law, and human sympathy.
In a way, I think, at least for the moment, and perhaps necessarily, the terrorist attack on the future has damaged it. It demanded a strong response: the mission in Afghanistan, the continued destruction of Al Qaeda. This is the kind of response that the perpetrators of this violence will understand. A response that cannot be seen as a sign of weakness or vulnerability. It is a logical, and therefore necessary response that the terrorists themselves unleashed.
But violence breeds violence. And the future of violence is simple destruction: nothing. And nothing will come of nothing. We run the risk of entering into an endless war against a shadowy enemy. A war that, given the nature of the enemy, might prove very hard to win completely. And yet it must be won.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Against violence our first and strongest line of defense is the rule of law, with diplomacy to enact it. The United States, which was founded on the rule of law, on rights for all, understands this. Andorra understands this. Because without law we would not have survived as a country for nearly a millennia. This is why Andorra believes and supports international law and trusts the United Nations and particularly its democratic members to lead the world from its history of violence towards its common future. In relation to Iraq, Andorra supports the role of the United Nations and we shall follow carefully the debates in the Security Council.
Terrorism is not a conventional war: there can be no treaties, no compacts, with terrorists. Law is vital for all countries, but terrorists do not care about laws. They are without a country, and pose a particular danger and a challenge. In this sense, we must embark upon an aggressive reaching out to all people, an aggressive assertion of our common humanity. This might well be a media campaign, although it needs to come directly from all elected politicians and ministers. It is not trying to abstract issues or "win" a war of words. We need to pull everybody into the human compact. We need to recognize our individual vulnerability.
It was America's belief in its invulnerability that was so profoundly shaken by the terrorist attack. Yet if the sudden collapse of the towers, the fear and chaos of that day, revealed a weakness it also revealed strength. The strength of the resolve of its citizens, and the profound sympathy of all the peoples in the world.
In the wake of 9/11 we recognize both the need for the rule of law, and the cause of this need, the vulnerability of all people to malevolent attack. The motto of Andorra is Virtus Unita Fortior, which can be loosely translated as United We Stand: this is not simply an appeal to patriotism, for a common front against the enemy. It is a recognition that together people are stronger, because alone, we are vulnerable.
Nothing can justify the attack on September 11, 2001. It is nevertheless important, herein the General Assembly, to consider the roots of violence. The terrorists turned their anger and alienation - political, cultural, economic, personal - into an abstract act of inhuman cruelty whose "solution" was the attack on the towers. Only in the cold world of abstraction does this attack symbolize anything beyond untold suffering. We need to pull violence back from abstraction into the world of human conversation.
If people feel excluded from the future, their alienation gives them a mad and violent certainty. We must get to work to rebuild an inclusive and tolerance idea of the future. An idea that is all too easily forgotten in war. An idea of the future in which everybody is protected from those who would destroy it. An idea of the future so strong that it includes those people who might otherwise be tempted by the madness of playing God.
This future is premised on an awareness not of the strength - of the nuclear nations, of powerful economies, but on the vulnerability of this compact and of individual nations large and small. We must recognize the power of our vulnerability, for in this recognition, we recover our strength, our vision of a common future and the will to act together. It is together that we will win the war against terrorism.
Thank yon very much.