REMARKS BY AMBASSADOR ODEEN ISHMAEL AT THE VIGIL AND REMEMBRANCE SERVICE IN HONOR OF THE DEAD AND MISSING GUYANESE IN THE ATTACKS ON THE WORLD TRADE CENTER AND THE PENTAGON SEPTEMBER 11 BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 30, 2001
Posted October 2nd. 2001
Man is a clever and wonderful being, and he learns from other animals living in his environment. He studies the eagle and the hummingbird, and builds machines to fly through the air with the greatest ease. He pays attention to the ways of the squirrel and becomes a hoarder. He observes the caterpillar, the elephant, the shark and the crocodile, the lion and the wolf, and makes himself terrible on and below the land and sea. The only creature from which he has not learned something useful is the dove.
Maybe, it is because man is yet to learn the qualities of peace, as exemplified by the dove, that we see brutality inflicted every day on innocent lives everywhere in the world. Such savage barbarity was shown by the vile, foul and contemptible acts of destruction of September 11 in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
On the day after the terrorist attacks I had the honor of addressing the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of the Caribbean and Latin American countries to condemn the acts of terrorism. Then last week I spoke at two important meetings of the Organization of American States on the same issue on behalf of Guyana. On these occasions I expressed our condemnation of the dastardly attacks carried out against the United States of America, and took the opportunity of saluting the courage of the firemen, police officers, doctors, nurses, and all others who gave their lives in a display of valor and courage that will be forever remembered.
We offer our sympathies to the families from the United States and all other countries who have lost loved ones in the September 11 attacks. We also urge the international community to strengthen its resolve to condemn and root out all forms of terrorism which present a serious threat to international peace and security. At the same time, the international community must reaffirm that those responsible for the terrible deeds of September 11 must be brought to justice.
I offer sincere condolences to all my Guyanese compatriots for the heart-rending pains they are suffering at the loss of their loved ones. All of us are aware that many are still listed as missing, but as the days go by, the slender thread of hope that they will return home becomes thinner and thinner. Let me address the grieving families. Mere words cannot express our emotions of sympathy to you. But we hope that the spirit of this gathering today will help to provide a measure of comfort to all of you, and to let you know that we as Guyanese collectively share your pain.
As we gather here to keep vigil and remember those who will never return home, I reflect on the immortal words of our national poet, the great Martin Carter. In his classic poem, "Death of a Comrade," penned nearly fifty years ago, he expressed the emotions that we feel today when he wrote:
if it must be
you speak no more with me
nor smile no more with me
nor march no more with me
then let me take
a patience and a calm
for even now the greener leaf explodes
sun brightens stone
and all the river burns.
Now from the mourning vanguard moving on dear Comrade I salute you and I say
Death will not find us thinking that we die."
May those who have passed away have everlasting peace.