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The tyg and its many counterparts around the world are tangible reminders not just that eating and drinking are social activities but that, as long as human beings have inhabited this planet, sustenance and the necessaries of life have been community endeavours. As Cicero observed, “We were born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race.” Animated by the same spirit of community, the Charter of the United Nations declares that our goals include “to live together,” to be “neighbours,” and “to unite.” The very first words of the UN Charter make clear that this organization is a body of, by and for human beings.
It begins, “We the peoples of the United Nations.” Not “We the countries.” Or “We the governments.” Not “We the political leaders.” “We the peoples.” An important reminder of why and on whose behalf we are here.
As we gather near Ground Zero, site of the World Trade Center mass murder, I wish first to honour the victims of terrorism: I honour all victims, everywhere, including those killed and wounded at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi. The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador was the last province to join Canada, but it is the site of the earliest known European settlement in the New World.
Tragically, we lost two Canadians, including a Canadian diplomat. L’Anse aux Meadows is more than a thousand years old. John’s, to be the oldest English settlement in North America, dating back to 1497.
On the contrary, cups with three or more handles are common to many of the world’s cultures.
Indeed, nearly three millennia ago, Homer wrote in the Iliad of a multi-handled mug. We form communities because that is our natural state.
I have met girls who were victims of this very war crime, and their stories are horrific.
The war criminals involved must be identified, pursued, prosecuted and punished. Foreign Secretary William Hague for their work in this area.
Almost always, the suffering is felt by the most vulnerable among us.
Canada’s government doesn’t seek to have our values or our principled foreign policy validated by elites who would rather “go along to get along.” The billions who are hungry, or lack access to clean water, or are displaced or cannot read and write do not care how many members sit on the Security Council.
But they do need to know that their brothers and sisters in humankind will walk with them through the darkness. Of these priorities, peace is the foremost objective of the United Nations.
The centre is adorned with decorative glass, tiling, lighting, timber and metalwork, designed by artists and craftsmen.
The writer Bill Bryson referred to Princes Square as "one of the most intelligent pieces of urban renewal".