Diploweb 9/11 through the Eyes of a Diplomat. A Personal Experience

9/11 through the Eyes of a Diplomat. A Personal Experience, H. E. André Erdős, Former Permanent Representative of Hungary to the UN, Senior Advisor of the International Centre for Democratic Transition (ICDT)

Other speakers have - and will - address this morning the multifaceted issues of the consequences of what happened in New York City ten years ago on both domestic politics and international relations. So allow me, amid these reflexions, to step one level lower and to share with you some of my personal reminiscences connected with this event. I was at the time the permanent representative of my country to the UN, and being there, I realized again, very vividly and palpably, just as earlier in places like Bosnia or Chechnya, how different it is to watch something on your TV screen and to be right in the middle of all this.

On September 9, 2001

On September 9, 2001 – upon my return to New York from a vacation in Hungary – I was invited by the mayor of Tenafly, a small town on the Hudson river, close to New York, to attend the official inauguration of the Peace Plaza, a memorial to the TWA victimes of 1989. In my speech I said that international terrorism was unequivocally present in the world, that it was a global problem and knew no national borders. I added that mankind still had to travel a long distance before it could reach its destination and create genuine peace.

Well, no one in the audience gathered in the main square of that small town knew that just two days later that goal of peace would be further away than ever. A couple of weeks later I received a letter from the mayor in which she said, among others, that from the early morning of September 12, flowers and candles had covered the freshly inaugurated memorial, and that people started to gather around it throughout the next two weeks. She also wrote that „We did not suspect how far away is the goal we are trying to reach”.


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