Ladies and gentlemen,
It is special that after two years of adapted commemorations, we can now come together again to do and experience this together. The restrictions we all experienced in the past period have (almost) disappeared.
Today, we have come together to commemorate the victims of the Second World War and of other conflicts and peace operations.
All the people we commemorate today have a different story, but the freedom they lost is what unites them.
As with every year, on the 4th and 5th, the National Committee chooses a theme. Herewith all commemorations, organized in the Kingdom, can connect to this theme. With the theme, the Committee wants to connect historical events with current events worldwide.
This year’s theme is: “Freedom in solidarity”.
The corona pandemic, and the limitations it brought with it, made us realize how important it is to be in touch with each other. To be connected with each other. Because only the solidarity with each other made it possible for us to fight the crisis.
The experience of freedom in solidarity takes on a different meaning in these times when the war in Ukraine is occupying the entire world. Human suffering is great and it gives us a feeling of powerlessness, but also of solidarity. We feel a close bond with the people who suffer from all this senseless violence. The world is sometimes dark and frightening, and it is then that we need to connect with other people.
A connection without fear or anxiety, a connection where we can let our voices be heard. A connection where there is room for difference, where diversity is not an obstacle but offers expansion and connection. Where people are not judged on their origin, color, religion, orientation or because they have a different opinion, but where they are valued because it makes the community more beautiful. Let love rule, not hate, or as Nelson Mandela said:
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, his background, or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
On our island too, we see that large and unacceptable differences reinforce division among the people. The call for tomorrow’s manifestation is an expression of this. Fortunately, on our islands, we can express these feelings of discontent in the freedom and space that is appropriate. Something we should never take for granted.
This year will also be marked by the Island Council elections in 2023. The political leaders will be allowed to freely disagree with each other on all those matters that concern them and our community. I hope that they will do this with all keenness to the content of the discussion but with the corresponding respect to the people who have a different opinion. I express thereby the hope that they will unite people and overcome differences. This is in the interest of all the people who live here, regardless of their opinion, color, origin, orientation, or political opinion, but because of the fact that we are all responsible for this. After all, we are connected because we live, work and play together on our beautiful island.
There will always be differences of opinion; let us discuss these with each other, above all because of our solidarity, so that there is room to look for solutions together.
Today, we remember together all those who have given their lives in war or conflict situations. Let us realize that we must continue to work together for peace and freedom for everyone. Let us be there for each other. Especially in these times, when we realize that peace and freedom can never be taken for granted. Let us remember together in solidarity, each with his own memories and thoughts.