Press Releases

                20 AUGUST 2004

    Remarks by Secretary-General Introducing Brazilian Culture Minister Gilberto Gil at Concert

    NEW YORK, 19 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks delivered in Geneva today by Secretary-General Kofi Annan when he introduced Brazilian Culture Minister Gilberto Gil at the concert marking the first anniversary of the attack on United Nations headquarters in Baghdad:

    Eleven months ago, when we gathered in New York to pay tribute to the beloved men and women who perished in the attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Gilberto Gil helped to ease our pain with a remarkable concert that soothed our souls and lifted our spirits.

    I am glad to say that he is with us again for this day of remembrance. And with our sorrow still deep, I think you would agree that we all do need him here tonight.

    For Gilberto is one of the world’s leading campaigners for peace, tolerance and human rights -- and that is the very mission that brought our fallen colleagues to Baghdad.

    And he believes that despite everything, despite poverty and hatred and violence, we can build a better world, we can engage in peaceful dialogue, and we can cultivate reconciliation and harmonious relations among different peoples and civilizations.

    That conviction guides Gilberto in his outstanding work as performer, politician and Brazilian Minister of Culture. It guided our lost loved ones throughout their lives and careers. And it will continue to guide all of us at the United Nations, wherever and whenever we are called upon to help the people that need us.

    So there are, quite simply, few people who can better sense what we are feeling, and who can summon up, through his words, music, and understanding of the human condition, the spirit of the men and women we honour tonight.

    Gilberto, we are grateful to you. We all thank you for being such a loyal and generous member of the United Nations family.

    Let us now give thanks for our good fortune in knowing the 22 men and women we honour and remember today.  And let us carry their spirit forward.

    Que comença o show.

    * *** *