Tuesday, 31 December 2019

King Harald of Norway - New Years Eve Address 2019 (English Translation)

Comments by Gert's Royals are in [Brackets].
New Year's Eve is an evening filled with hope and expectation.
We think about what has happened - and look ahead.
All over our country tonight, five million unique people sit. Some meet the new year with joy and optimism, others with want and turmoil. Several of us are entering the new year with sadness in our hearts. But, hope belongs to all of us.
My wish tonight is that all of us must carry hope into the new year.
We [The Royal Family] are greatly affected by Ari Behn's death this Christmas. It has been quite touching to see people's compassion and lit candles in the Palace Square. There is comfort in all the good memories and beautiful words that have been expressed about the father of three of our dear grandchildren.
[Ari Behn was Princess Märtha Louise's ex-husband. He committed suicide on Christmas Day.] 
Sometimes life is not to endure. For some, it gets so dark that nothing helps. Not even the love of their loved ones. Some see no other way than to leave life. Those who remain must live on. Poorer - without the one they loved.
We know so little about what is to come. The uncertainty makes us all vulnerable. The best thing we can do is be there for each other, see each other, remember to give each other encouragement. And carry each other if needed.
My thoughts are tonight especially to all those who end this year mourning for a lost loved one. 
Then we enter a new year. A year when we as a nation have the opportunity to commemorate our recent history - and become more aware of who we are, and our common values.
Norwegian society is built on trust. We have created a social order in which everyone contributes according to their ability to a community that will serve the country and welfare of the people. Where we share both the burdens and benefits. Where we support each other through different phases of life.
Together we make sure children get to go to school. That we get help when we get sick. That the elderly are taken care of.
But a society built on trust goes deeper than it used to be:
It's about trusting that we want well for each other. That we do not suspect each other. We must protect this trust. Because it is built on a foundation of costly experience for our country and people.
Above all, we needed confidence - and the ability to cooperate - to rebuild Norway as a free country after World War II. The five dark years of the war had created distrust and suspicion among us.
In October, I was in Kirkenes to mark the liberation of Eastern Finnmark [a region of Norway], which meant the beginning of the end of the war. In 2020, we must remember that it is 75 years since peace came.
So which Norway have we seen emerge during these 75 years?
We have followed the country through prosperity. It is built on natural resources, research and creativity. It is built on wise leadership. On the recognition that people must have schooling, work, food, and homes in order to contribute to society and grow as human beings.
It is built by people with strong fists and great endurance. With courage, drive, and creativity. A people shaped by the rugged nature and plentiful weather. And it is built on our need to feel a sense of belonging, to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
We see today a country that culturally has changed a lot over the years. Where our own ancient stories and traditions, the arts and religion are woven together with other cultures that new Norwegians carry. And as more and more travelers have made Norway this home. 
We see a country that, despite its small size, contributes to the global arena and has a voice that is listened to.
We have seen a strong and wonderful young generation grow - wanting to use their knowledge and dedication to influence social development and our common future.
We have become less like each other.
Fortunately, over the years we have recognized that each one of us is really a little different. As a population, we now come from all corners of the world and will live together across age, gender, culture, religion and orientation. Across town and village, political views and various social statuses.
Above all, I would like to highlight what most touches us [The Royal Family] on our many trips around Norway:
We meet people who care about their fellow human beings. Who volunteer. Who are fighting for their small communities - and for others to feel good.
We hear touching stories that show us who we Norwegians are and what we are made of. Because here we see the strength that lives in individuals when they learn to express ourselves.
We will do everything we can to see this power in each other and to bring it forward. For the sum of the strengths of individuals is the strengths of our society.
So my generation has been on this remarkable journey through the 75 years that have passed since the end of the war.
I think we can agree on this: We have been lucky. And we've worked hard.
We still need to work hard to strengthen our country and each other on our way forward.
We stand today on a foundation of all that we have built together - and that we must protect. For peace is fragile. Confidence is fragile. And life is fragile. We are constantly reminded of that.
With development also comes opportunities - which can be used wisely or unwise. Technology is ahead of us and is facing dilemmas we may not be ready to face. Searching for short-term gains can stand in the way of good choices that serve the best of individuals, society and the planet.
And the research shows us with increasing clarity that we have long used the world's rich resources harder than it can withstand.
We need sincerity in the face of all the new opportunities that are being given to us.
We need peace of mind for good conversations on important issues in a time of rapid change, tough debate climate, and global unrest.
At the same time, we need to be challenged by the impatience of the youth.
We need all this in order not to lose ourselves and each other. Not to lose all the good we have created together.
The question becomes: What best serves us humans and our common future?
This touches and occupies us all. We have different answers and can disagree deeply. But we just have to keep searching together for the big questions. Around the kitchen tables. In the lunchrooms. During school hours. In politics. In international arenas. Only together can we solve them.
We have to live with the fact that we are different.
We must endure unpleasant knowledge.
We must be able to see beyond our own little plot.
We must dare to realize that our worldview may not be the only right one.
And we must find ourselves challenged - yes, even hurt.
This is how to live together - both in small and large communities.
A society with the freedom to be different must build on the equal value of all people.
As a grim echo of the war, we know what happens when society is built on an ideology that people are not equal. 
Is there one thing we should bring with us as lessons as we celebrate the peace that finally came, is this:
That everyone is equally worth.
It may seem obvious.
But if we really start living after that, transformation can happen.
Then we can gather in the hope of a good life for all.
I would like to wish everyone here at home and Norwegians abroad a Happy New Year!

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