Basescu: A critical look at our recent history is needed while combating anti-Semitism and xenophobia

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President Traian Basescu on Wednesday sent a message to the celebrations of the Holocaust Remembrance Day in Romania, in which he said Romanians should have a critical look at their recent history while combating anti-Semitism and xenophobia.

‘Today is a day of deep-seated emotion as we remember the horrendous sufferings of the Holocaust victims in Romania. Remembering the human tragedy of the Holocaust means examining our consciousness. It is necessary for the experience of human suffering on such big a scale, which echoes will always stay in our mind and hearts, to be the centre of a shared vision that will preclude such sacrifices and crimes in the future. As a nation that has pledged to guarantee individual freedoms and the exigencies of the state of law, Romania has to assume its past in a lucid way. Moreover, this past should be known and transmitted to the future generations as part of a permanent appeal to memory and responsibility for the common good,’ reads the message.

President Basescu also undercooked the involvement of the Romanian state institutions in implementing the recommendations of the International Commission for Holocaust Studies in Romania chaired by Elie Wiesel.

‘The history of Holocaust in Romania has to be assumed as part of the national history; this is a complex process entailing the seriousness of the genocide and the human behaviour that triggered it sinking deep into the minds of the people. At the same time, a mature nation will have to ask the question of its identity. There have been crossroads in our history where we provided a wrong response, in the apparently correct logic supported by the ideologies that, unfortunately, marked the entire world. Today, we are driven by the wish to build together a civilisation of peace and concord where we can share the values that define us and in which we believe: human dignity, freedom, courage and solidarity. These values have to be defended by the institutions and the civil society alike in a permanent exercise that demands of us to be conscious of our rights and especially of our responsibilities in the public space,’ reads the message.

Basescu believes that a critical evaluation of the recent history of Romania is required, and he encourages the national minorities of Romania to join in the common good.

‘We must know and take a critical look at our recent history while fighting against anti-Semitism and xenophobia which, unfortunately, are activated today by the resurgence of National-Communist myths. In Romania, the national minorities are encouraged to join in the common good, to contribute their specific identity and traits. I believe that it is precisely this thing that lends vigour to the spirit of any nation, and such attitude is equally a gesture of loyalty to Romania. I want to extend my thanks to the members of the Jewish communities of Romania for their original contribution to Romania’s heritage and culture,’ reads the message.

President Basescu also said that each Romanians has a duty to keep alive the memory of those who paid with their lives for freedom.

‘May that this day devoted to the memory of suffering be at the same time an occasion to celebrate life and those who survived the Holocaust tragedy! We each have a duty and privilege to keep alive the memory of those who paid with their lives for freedom. The Jewish pray urges us to remember. Let us remember because the testimony of the horrendous sufferings of the past may provide us the strength to look expectantly to the future,’ Basescu concluded his message.

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