Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you so much Under-Secretary-General Voronkov for allowing me to be here today to address you and the distinguished men and women here. And to your excellencies, distinguished delegates, and guests. Those three numbers, 9/11, are permanently part of the history of our city, and oftentimes we look at the lives that were lost during the September 11th attacks, and many people believe that the loss of lives ended on that day. But it was only the beginning of a thousand other New Yorkers who died from the devastation that came when we witnessed two of the symbols of our strength in the city and the country, a place we called the World Trade Center.
It was a symbol of trade throughout the world, and we watched it collapsed before our eyes. One of the greatest levels of terrorism that took place on America’s soil. But we want to be clear here today, as we have a moment of silence for those we’ve lost across the country, we did not allow the collapse of the building to collapse our spirits. We would not remain silent to terrorism.
September 11th was devastating, and we mourned the loss for many years. Took place September 11th, 2001. But something happened on September 12th. We got up. We showed our resiliency. We showed our unwillingness to surrender. Our teachers went to school to teach. Our retailers sold goods, our builders built. We saw that it was an important moment in American history. When New York City got up, America got up. The globe got up and realized we would never surrender to terrorism, and we would never surrender to fear.
We know how important it is to ensure not only did we get up out of the pain of terrorism, but we also turned it into purpose. We knew we could not demonize groups based on the small number of people who inflicted violence on our country. We should not attack women who wear hijabs or speak a different language, or part of a different religion. We should not seek out vengeance based on the individuals who participated in this act, and attempt to blanketly hate all groups from the communities they came from. It took a level of boldness and patience and fortitude to state that we are much better than the terrorists who attacked us and thought we were going to turn to hate.
We did just the opposite. We partnered with countries across the globe, sending 14 officers across the globe to ensure that we created a partnership. We created the Joint Terrorist Task Force, and partnered with the FBI and local municipalities across the globe, and stated, “How do we come together to fight terrorism without harming the innocent people who are the victim of terrorist acts?” We also used the intelligence to fight and stop attacks. In October of several years ago, we had the individual who drove a vehicle on the west side of Manhattan in a terrorist act. Within hours, we were on the plane going to his homeland to identify if there were any other acts or threats because of the collaboration and the partnership and the relationship.
If we are going to fight terrorism, we cannot only be in a building called the United Nations. We must unite as nations. We must stand together as one to state that the violence is not the answer to the challenges that we are facing.
But we have to go beyond that. We have to stop the climates that create hate in the first place. We have to ensure that we utilize the resources from the major countries to go into those atmospheres and countries where people see that only violence is the only way to go. The best prevention to terrorism is in the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “We spend a lifetime pulling people out of the river. No one goes upstream to prevent them from falling in in the first place.” If we want to fight terrorism, we need to fight homelessness. We need to fight food insecurity. We need to fight attacks on women. We need to fight to make sure that education is globally, and opportunities are there. We need to fight the climate changes that we are facing. We need to fight the over-proliferation of weapons that are finding itself inside our countries across the globe.
The fight against terrorism can’t be downstream with just law enforcement. It must be upstream and prevent the conditions that make people believe they must act in a terrorist way. That’s the world we’re fighting for here in New York City. That is what we learned on September 11th. That is what we walked away with on September 12th when we understood the resiliency of not only our country, but the resiliency of the spirit of the greatest race alive, and that’s the human race. We are members of that race.
The challenge before us now is to make sure we create climates where no one will believe terrorism is the answer, but humanitarian responses to each other is the answer. Fighting against anti-Muslim attacks, fighting against anti-Semitism, fighting against “Anti” of all groups. That is how we will stop terrorism.
That is my role as the mayor of this city. I spent my life as a man who wore a bulletproof vest to protect children and families of this city as a police officer. I was there on September 11th. I saw the smoldering grounds. I saw what happened to our buildings. I saw the spirit that we felt that we would not get up. But I was also there on September 12th, and we did get up. And because we got up, I’m allowed to be the mayor of the largest city in America. And I’m taking that energy and spirit with me as I unite across the globe on how we can come together as one and we can be a united nation together. I thank you for allowing me to come and speak with you today.
New York City Hall Mayor Office official on NYC.gov
Mr. Vladimir Voronkov ( Russia !!!!! ) was appointed Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
Office of Counter-Terrorism on 21 June 2017, established by General Assembly
In June 2017, UN Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Voronkov to serve as the first Under-Secretary-General of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office, which was created on 15 June 2017. It was predicted a Russian would get the position, as Russia was the only one favored to receive the post, as it had been the only permanent member of the UN Security Council that did not have one of its nationals holding a major UN position.
“U.N. names Russian diplomat to new counterterrorism post”. The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 June 2017. Wikipedia
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