22 September 2003





NEW YORK, 19 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of remarks today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on ringing the peace bell in observance of the International Day of Peace (21 September):


Good morning, dear colleagues and friends, and thank you all for coming this morning. I am also glad that some of our Messengers for Peace, as well as 400 young children from 40 countries, are here to support us today.


This year, the International Day of Peace, and the Peace Bell we will ring to mark it, take on added poignancy and purpose. A month ago, almost to the hour, an act of unspeakable brutality struck our friends and colleagues in Baghdad.


Today, we ring this bell for them, for their families and loved ones. We ring it for the people of Iraq, whom our colleagues were working to assist. We ring it for the people of every nation who need our prayer for peace.


We ring it to remind the world that the International Day of Peace has been declared by the General Assembly as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.


Let us remember that this bell was cast from the pennies of children from 60 nations. Children donated their pennies for us to cast this bell. Its call for peace should be among the most powerful ones we know.


And let us recall the equally powerful words of the poet John Donne, written four centuries ago. They are timeless words that have been quoted countless times since then. Today, there are good reasons to utter them yet again:


“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main… Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”


The tragedy that took our colleagues a month ago, and the troubling events that have taken place in the world over the past year, tell us that our work for peace has never been more important than today. So let the call of this bell be a tribute to the memory of our fallen friends. And let it be heard far and wide by those who need to hear it most.


As we ring this bell, I invite my Special Representatives in those peacekeeping missions that are uniting with us via satellite to join us.


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