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Speech of the President of the Czech Republic at the 72nd session of UN General Assembly


Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen,

When I was a relatively young man, I was deeply influenced by two books. One of them was The End of History by Francis Fukuyama and the second one - The Clash Civilizations by Samuel Huntington. Fukuyama was something like a description of a brave new world, the new Utopia, expecting that every country has the same political system which is based on liberal parliamentary democracy. A nice dream but nothing more than a dream. As for Huntington, he was realistic, he was cynical, he simply predicted gradual conflicts of various types of civilizations. By the way, in one of his articles in Foreign Affairs he speaks also about bloody waters of Islam.

So, now we have a new type of civilization. I should call it the anti-civilization which has emerged during the last two or three decades. The typical feature of this civilization is the fact that it is based on terror and nothing more than terror. And we see these terroristic actions all over Europe and not only Europe; we convey condolences; we express our solidarity with the victims of terroristic actions; we organize protests and demonstrations, but unfortunately, we still hesitate to fight with the terroristic anti-civilization with our full power. And I must admit that one year ago I criticized here that the United Nations is not able to define the world terrorism. The situation has changed. It has been seventy years in which it has not been able to define the world terrorism, but on the other hand I highly appreciate the action of the Secretary-General and the creation of a new office, the counter-terroristic office, and I understand it as a reasonable step towards the practical solution of the fight against the world terrorism. You must know that under the umbrella of the United Nations there are thirty-eight, I repeat - 38 - anti-terroristic organizations or institutions. Good heavens - 38. I think that the higher the number of those institutions is, the more the terroristic movement is flourishing and what we need is the single but strong office fighting against terrorism and equipped with all necessary measures including the military force, well, on the base of Article 47 of the Charter of the United Nations. And I appreciate also the nomination of Mr. Voronkov. I met him yesterday and I am sure he will be able to solve the problems, which is necessary in order to fight the world Islamic terrorism.

Well, let me tackle the second side of the coin – migration. Migration is partially provoked by terroristic actions, for instance in Syria or in Iraq. But on the other hand, migration is connected with terrorism because some jihadists are hidden inside the migration wave. And in Europe and everywhere, they create sleeping units, lonely wolves and so on. Well, I understand the people who say that we must welcome the migrants. But my opposition starts from the fact that the massive migration from African and other countries represent a brain drain. The young, healthy people, mainly men, who leave their countries, represent the weakening of the potential of those countries and everybody who welcomes migrants in Europe agrees to the brain drain and with permanent backwardness of those countries. What we need is to help those countries with electricity, hospitals, schools, water resources and so on in order to stabilize the population in those domestic countries, but not to support the migration.

Ladies and gentlemen, at the conclusion I would like to say that the fight, the war against terrorism is to be based on historical optimism, on the belief that we shall overcome it some day. In Barcelona, Spanish people said: “We are not afraid!” And Franklin Roosevelt sometimes proclaimed freedom from fear. That is why I would like to quote the most beautiful sentence expressing the historical optimism - the sentence by Martin Luther: “If I knew there would be a doomsday tomorrow I shall go today and I shall plant an apple tree.”

Thank you so much for your attention.


Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic, New York, USA, 19th September 2017