Monday, December 31, 2007

"We have a responsibility for each other..."

Zonka has kindly translated and posted Queen Margrethe II’s New Year speech, which appeared in Jyllands-Posten.

As many of our readers know, I am a great fan of Denmark’s Queen. In America we have, what… Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi? And Denmark has Margrethe. Are Hillary and Nancy our just desserts, or simply the whims that Fate thrusts at us, laughing all the while?

Whichever, it remains a fact that one speech of the Queen’s is worth a dozen of Hillary’s sermons - even the ones she does in her inimitable Southern dialect.

Here are some excerpts from the Queen’s New Year’s Eve address:

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
New Years Eve is one of the strangest highlights of the year. Tomorrow is yet another day; the sun will rise at the late hour as is customary for the season, and the weather will hardly be different than what the latest weather forecast tells us.

Yet we look forward to this evening as something special, whether we are gathered with good friends or perhaps prefer to celebrate it in quiet thought. Because this evening is special; tomorrow we suddenly find ourselves in a new year: year 2008; tonight we will say goodbye to the year of 2007.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Here in Denmark many of us experience in these years times with increased wealth, with optimism and with safety. We believe that we have become good at forming our society, such that everybody is able to get the essentials, at least when it comes to material goods.

We are very keen on trying to achieve the perfect, the frictionless and comfortable life. The country must be lovely [reference to national anthem] - but it must not smell. The city must be full of life - but it must not be noisy. All our wishes should come true - but without costing anything. We prefer our lives to be filled with challenges; but they shouldn’t be too demanding or have incalculable consequences.

Particularly the young families are run hard. They are smokingly busy, they have high ambitions, they set high goals for themselves, and many also see them come true, perhaps to a higher degree than their parents and grandparents could ever dream of. But for some of the young it is different; they may never get as far as to set themselves any goals; they are outside before they even get started.

We have a responsibility for each other; that is one of the principles that our society is built on. Maybe we understood that better when there was less to share; now it is so easy to think that somebody else can take care of the problems, as long as we ourselves get on with our lives…

- - - - - - - - -
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

The wealthy society that we belong to, with its many advantages and the inbuilt care also for the weaker, attracts people who comes from other places in the world, who nourish the same hope as we do: A good and active life with family and friends, with happiness both nearby and in the community. It isn’t easy for anybody to change their way of life, as it must happen, when one settles in a new country. And it cannot be completely avoided, that some people look disapproving at the stranger, who has other fashions, other types of clothing, and who doesn’t yet master the language. But it is necessary, that one has an open mind and a will to find their place in society. In the same way it is important that the society, which has received the newcomers, is ready to help and support and explain which demands they are required to follow and which rules apply. They need us and we need them. This New Years Eve, I would like to send a greeting to the many who in the last generation have settled in Denmark. I wish for them all that every new year they experience here among us, despite all the troubles, may bring them further, so that they can see themselves and their descendents as a part of the Danish society.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Tonight my thoughts go to the Danish soldiers, who are serving under foreign skies and under difficult conditions and work to create peace and stability and a better life for the local population, in countries far from Denmark. Special thoughts go to those under very demanding conditions in Afghanistan. They have in the latest months suffered sad losses, but I know that they still hold their heads high and stand together. We at home can hardly imagine what they have to go through, but we can be proud of their doings and we should let them know that we think of them. To all in the Danish military I send my New Years greeting and my thanks for the year that went. My deepest compassion for the families, who now sit with the grief and the loss of a loved one, who have given their life in Afghanistan or Iraq; they too are in my thoughts.

When the darkness of the winter comes and the wind blows over the roofs, my thoughts often stray north to the Faroe Islands and Greenland. There Christmas and New Year’s are rightfully the celebrations of lights. However, now the Sun has turned and we slowly march towards more light. May the new year bring all good things to the people of the Faroe Islands and Greenland.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Every year the review has its own face. This year the Prince Consort and I have had the great joy that our family has been increased with another little grandchild, when the Crown Prince couple had their daughter Isabella. It has warmed us to feel how everybody shared our joy, as we have felt the warm interest in Prince Joachim and his fiancée, Marie Cavallier. That so many take part in everything that takes place in our family and rejoices with us, gladdens us, touches of deeply and fills us with gratitude. It is a source of daily inspiration, and an obligation to always give our very best. So we all feel young and old.

On the last night of the year, it is my wish that the new year may be a good one for Denmark and for all of us. May also those who are ill or filled with worries of heavy thoughts find a beam of light that can lead them on: A loving hand, a kind look, that can show them that they are not forgotten.

Then we will all wish each other a happy New Year and with confidence meet and greet the new year 2008 welcome.

Happy New Year.


And bless Zonka, too, for this translation. You can read the whole speech posted at his site.


Profitsbeard said...

Let's hope that the jihadis completely overplay their hand in the New Year and spell their ultimate doom.

Cheers to all for a great 2008!

Holger said...

The Swedish king should take a hint from her...