MONTEVIDEO – Uruguayan President Jose Mujica has said that “dreadful things” are happening in the world which is witnessing a “resurgence of religious fanaticism” against which Europe is “lashing out blindly.”
This reaction, he argued, will only create further fanaticism.
“We must learn to live with the Muslim world and they will have to learn to live with the rest of humanity. Otherwise, the world will become uninhabitable,” the president said Tuesday at a meeting with an Armenian delegation in Montevideo which is preparing to commemorate the 100th anniversary this year of Turkey’s genocide against Armenians.
Together with representatives from political parties, civil society and religious organizations of Armenia, along with Uruguayan Minister of Tourism and Sport Liliam Kechichian, who is of Armenian extraction, Mujica called Uruguay “the most secular country in Latin America and also the one which most recognizes traditions, religions and nationalities.”
“To respect the tradition that immigrants bring with them is one of the resources of the country and one must continue cultivating it. And to remember that there continues to be pain in the world, that man continues fighting wars, that we can’t resolve the problems of humanity, but that we should always be willing to receive people who are suffering out there,” said the president, eloquently.
Mujica said that he will be recording a message to mark the anniversary of the Jewish Holocaust on Jan. 27.
In the message he will speak about all the holocausts “because there are dreadful things happening in the world today and we have seen a resurgence of religious fanaticism that ends up doing a lot of harm to people.”
“I see that Europe is going about desperately, lashing out blindly and those things will not end in anything else than giving rise to more fanaticism,” he added.
Touching on the genocide against Armenians, Mujica said that Uruguay was the first country to recognize as genocide the massacre and forced deportation of Armenians from territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey by the Ottoman Empire beginning in 1915.
It is estimated that currently there are 14,000 people of Armenian descent in Uruguay, who, according to the president, have managed to truly integrate in the country while continuing to maintain their traditions.
Mujica stressed the importance of learning to live together, to tolerate and understand that one cannot live in the world if one fails to respect diversity.
“I am one of those who think that the human being is tremendously Utopian, it needs to believe in something that it cannot grasp and that is formidable,” he concluded philosophically.