Subject: Xanana: Address at commemoration of 9-11



Embassy of the United States of America, Dili, September 11, 2002

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The evil attack that brought us here today was a cowardly and ruthless act against innocent civilians. But it was also the most severe attempt to strike against universal values and principles shared by all of us: freedom, tolerance for difference, dialogue and democracy.

No one can bring life back to the women and men who died on September 11, 2001. Therefore, I believe the most honest and lasting tribute we can pay to those women and men is to uphold these values and principles and strive for peace and stability as the main pillars of our development.

Those terrible events were a turning point in the existing world order. Currently, threats to world peace and security are vague diffuse and undefined. The agents of such threats set up networks, act anywhere in the world, mobilize doubtful solidarities, resort to technology and financial markets, manipulate misery, feelings of revolt and religious beliefs, without ever revealing their faces.

In my view, the important lesson to draw from such an horrendous loss of lives is on how can we, first and foremost as human beings, but also in the offices we hold, in our work places, in our families and in our societies, instill and spread a mentality where dialogue, tolerance and freedom are as natural as breathing.

The world holds an immense wealth of cultures and diversity. However, often we perceive them as threats simply because we fail to understand them. There are far too many misunderstandings, misinterpretations and distortions of basic values and principles that have been shared by all cultures and peoples through centuries of the History of Humankind. Cold-blooded murder is committed in the name of a religion and yet there is no world religion or People defending such actions in its doctrines, values or principles.

I firmly believe that dialogue is the key to the understanding between peoples. In turn, such an understanding will tear down the barriers of communication and enable cooperation based on respect.

Our countries affiliate to international or regional organizations and yet, it is does not suffice to proclaim our fidelity to the principles that embody such structures. We need to become more familiar with their member states, peoples and cultures.

Our countries often sign agreements of friendship and cooperation enshrining principles that are never implemented or are viewed in their most limited meanings.

I believe the time has come for us to view friendship and cooperation as an exercise of solidarity, a means to understand partners and allies; to view human rights as an extended field of individual liberties, civic, economic and social rights of all human beings; to view sustainable development as the improvement of living standards of individuals together with the recognition of the right to live with dignity; to view security as based on human development and respect rather than on arms and the force of weaponry.

The most positive tribute East Timor can pay to the women and men who were killed a year ago in New York, in Washington and in Pennsylvania is to reaffirm our commitment to strive for stability as the fundamental ground upon which to develop our country; to maintain our resolve to fight against all forms of terrorism and our determination to contribute towards peace by cooperating within our region for the development and well-being of our population.

Thank You.

Charles Scheiner La'o Hamutuk P.O. Box 340, Dili, East Timor (via Darwin, Australia) Telephone:+61-417-923273 or +670-390-325013 Personal: La'o Hamutuk:

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