Thursday, 24 December 2015

King Philippe of Belgium's Christmas Eve Speech - English Translation

(The Christmas Eve Address was also released in French & Dutch)

Ladies and gentlemen,

Christmas and New Year is an opportunity to reaffirm our hope in the future. At the end of the year we are unfortunately marked by the terrible attacks in Paris that have shaken us deeply, and we are aware of the threats that continue to weigh on us. Beyond the horror that multiplies in various places in Europe and elsewhere, our democracies are facing a triple challenge: to defend, prevent, build. I am confident that we will succeed in that mission.

Our authorities have responded to the threat of terrorism with prudence, speed and determination. My special thanks go to all those who have fought for it and continue to work to ensure our safety, to identify the perpetrators of these attacks and to prevent new ones. These events have shown how important it is to invest in the judiciary, police, army and intelligence services. I also want to thank you all, and especially the people of Brussels, for your dignified and responsible behavior during this difficult time.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In order to protect our society, it is also essential to not be intimidated and not divide. This is what our attackers are hoping for.  I am confident that we will remain one, citizens of an open land. A country where the vast majority of the people are from foreign origin that have seized the opportunities that were offered to them - and share the values ​​of our country. They are sons and daughters of this country. Do not confuse those who abuse their faith with those who practice the universal values ​​of humanity.

It seems important to return to the bedrock of our society, what we are absolutely committed to: our values ​​and rules on which we base our society. This means that we teach our deep respect for the various beliefs and philosophies to our children. After all, they all have one thing in common: they want to help, to give meaning to life, to respect others and to be open towards them. Respect for these common rules also includes a zero tolerance of hate speech. It also means we continue to relentlessly combat stigma and segregation. It is also helping people who have been tempted by fanatical indoctrination to resist.

Furthermore, I am confident that we can build a more harmonious society. I focus particularly on young people. You have a deep desire to believe in life, in yourself and in others. Embrace that ideal and invest your energy and talent in everything that brings us together. Because the balance within a family, a neighborhood, a town, a region or a country, primarily depends on the way we treat each other.

A project that gives meaning to life, evolves over time. In order to build your future, you maintain the bonds with the generations that preceded them. Because our values ​​are deeply rooted in history. The fanatics on the other hand want to wipe all trace of history.

Finally, I would also encourage you to engage in dialogue with the people in your community about what is really important. Because in a dialogue and discussion you learn about others and know yourself better. Discover the other, how he lives, his culture, and his religion or belief. Fanatics do just the opposite: they refuse any discussion.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I know we can overcome the challenges we face today. History has proven that our society is stronger than fanaticism and totalitarianism. But we must continue to build a more humane and just society. The Queen and I and our family wish you a Merry Christmas and a new year full of joy.

Also check out: 2015 Monarch's Christmas/New Year Speeches

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