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Speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Memorial event for the Holocaust Remembrance Day entitled “I will not be Silent”
2014-01-30 13:30:14

Dear Chairman of the Israel-Cyprus Parliamentary Friendship Group, 
Mr. Mayor, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored and humbled to be amongst you today, to observe the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

I am honored because I participate to an event thatit refers to one of the darkest pages in human history. This is the time to honor the memory of the millions lost and pay tribute to the resilience and courage of those that survived.

I am humbled because I am at the presence of friends, holocaust survivors and people who feel the same way as I do on how we should handle thisreprehensible period in the history of mankind.

But preserving and honoring the memory of loved ones that lost their lives andpaying tribute to the survivors of the Holocaust, is not enough.

This memorial event, entitled “I will not be silent”, encapsulates the essence of our additional role. Not just for us here today, but for all human beings. We should never be silent and we should never forget.

That is why our role is quite simple; as politicians and academics, as parents and grandparents, as simple human beings that respect the basic principles of human dignity and the simple truth that every human life is important.

We solely need to be the ones that transfer the knowledge and the truth about the Holocaust, no matter how dark it is and no matter how harsh it is, to the next generation. Along with it, we also need to transfer the stories of bravery and resilience, the stories of unbelievable courage and of people clinging on to hope when there was no hope in sight.

So, our duty is not only to remember those millions lostor the so many others that suffered, but to communicate thesetruths so that the ones that will come after us will also know and remember.

What happened in Dachau, Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen and in many other places, is a dark legacy and a shame for the history of man.

We should never again allow our animalistic instincts to surface, making us capable of such acts. We should hold perpetrators accountable and punish their actions but also be alert to react and prevent such acts from happening again.

There was no accountability after the Armenian genocide and there was inaction while the Rwandan genocide was culminating. These genocides happened before and after the Holocaust, a proof that we still have a long way fromguaranteeing that these acts will not happen again.

This is more important now as ever, since, in 2014, a time where we have developed and progressed as a human race, that there are still elements that live, feed-on and amass supporters by promoting racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and hate.

Despite of the many faults of the human race, we should also remember that people survived the Holocaust against all odds and have managed to live, prosper and have descendants. They are the living proof of the strength of the human spirit and the good that is part of all us.

Thank you.

Source: www.mfa.gov.cy

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