No cynicism, fatalism in fight against terrorism, Dutch PM says in 9/11 commemoration
The Netherlands commemorated the 20th anniversary of the world changing terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon in the United States. Two decades later, the fight against terrorism is still ongoing, because "instant success is rare" in this fight, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at the commemoration in the Grote Kerk in The Hague. "But giving in to cynicism and fatalism is the last thing we should do."
"Since the 11th of September 2001, a new generation has been born, grown up and reached adulthood," Rutte said in his speech. "And yet, at the same time, 9/11 still feels like yesterday." Nearly 3 thousand people from 90 countries were killed in these attacks. "And today our thoughts are with the loved ones left behind. We also remember the emergency workers who still bear the physical and metal scars of that day," the Dutch Prime Minster said.
"The 9/11 attacks changed many individual lives forever. And they changed the world as a whole. Things are fundamentally different now. On that day, 20 years ago, we were confronted with a hard truth: blind hate and extremism pose a threat to our way of life. To the freedom and tolerance that we value so much. We need to protect our democratic values, peace and security," Rutte said.
9/11 sparked the first invocation of article 5 of the NATO Treaty, that an attack against one of the Allies is an attack against them all, and since then the Netherlands and the rest of the Allies have been fighting terrorism in various places around the world, Rutte said. That fight is still happening. "Because the reality is that, in the fight against terrorism, instant success is rare. It’s a fight in which we’ve made small steps forward, thanks to our men and women on the ground."
"Unfortunately, sometimes we are forced to take a step back," Rutte said, referring to Afghanistan falling to the Taliban last month after NATO troops withdrew from the country. "That hurts. And it forces us to pause and reflect, and draw lessons for the future."
"But giving in to cynicism and fatalism is the last thing we should do. We owe it to the victims of 9/11, to our veterans and to our future generations to continue protecting our way of life. So that evil will never triumph."