All journalists who fight for truth and justice in the face of retribution deserve our thanks and admiration. Let’s do all we can to support, promote and, crucially, listen to the brave female journalists of Afghanistan, whose work puts them in danger every single day.
On behalf of the nation, I would particularly like to express my profound gratitude for the valour and sacrifice of those who have laid down their lives to keep us safe; to remember their families who mourn and to recognize those who continue to serve in order to safeguard our freedoms.
The last year has shown us, more than ever, the importance of dealing with issues like this and I have been particularly pleased to see two organisations that are so important to me, the British Asian Trust and Elephant Family, merge together to make this campaign and exhibition happen.
As before, I see a generation of Paratroopers that have been tested and not found wanting. For me, it is your exceptional quality, unique ethos, unparalleled determination and selfless commitment that define you. I am enormously proud to be a part of such an extraordinary Regimental family and to share this special day with you.
Trying to build bridges between faith communities and to deepen mutual understanding, has been a major part of my life’s work. So, I cannot tell you how profoundly grateful I am for such a very special accolade.
While, of course, the scale of the challenge is clearly immense – and the window of opportunity to tackle it is closing extremely fast – business leaders, working through my Sustainable Markets Initiative over the past sixteen months, have helped us develop the “Terra Carta” - a Road Map, if you like, offering practical steps on where we need to go and, crucially, how to get there.
As I am afraid I have been trying to say for several decades, unless we can actually unlock private sector resource, innovation and finance, with the public sector setting a framework of incentives and regulation, we just don’t stand a chance of solving the existential crises we have engineered over the years.
If I may say so and to paraphrase the immortal words of Sir Michael Caine – “At least I didn’t blow the bloody doors off!”
I particularly wanted to show my appreciation, as far as the British Asian Trust is concerned, as you have been able to begin a meaningful emergency appeal and actioned to ensure that oxygen concentrators have got to India and have been dispatched to rural areas, where there is a real need. Clearly, you know better than I, there is much more that is needed to be done to provide support and of course, to help build back better.
Whenever I visit this part of the world, I never cease to be profoundly moved by the work that is being done to heal the pain of the past, to bring understanding and reconciliation in the present, and to build hope for the future.