US Ambassador Klemm: Romania could be the Eastern European example of tolerance

 •  English

US Ambassador in Bucharest Hans G. Klemm believes Romania could be the Eastern European example of tolerance and inclusion, "by welcoming those seeking a brighter future."

"Those looking for a new home are bringing with them energy and ideas, entrepreneurism and excitement. Do not look at this as a potential drain on society, but as a potential resource for it. Let these new immigrants become part of this new Romania you are creating, one free of corruption, one where rule of law applies to each and every citizen, and one where ever member of society has the opportunity to contribute to the vibrant culture and economy. On February 3, at a mosque in the United States, President Obama reminded all Muslim-Americans that "You're not Muslim or American. You're Muslim and American." I encourage all in this wonderful country steeped in history, rich in diversity to welcome immigrants and to help them be Muslim and Romanian," the US diplomat says in a press statement.

He says he is making these clarifications following a recent e-mail from a certain person whom he calls "James Bond", who wanted to know his opinion on "what he called the "Muslim invasion" of Europe."

"Now, I realize this is not his real name, it was a pseudonym, but the topic he raised was a serious one. It was obvious from what he wrote that he has a great love of his country, Romania, and is concerned about its welfare and its future. He wanted to know my opinion on what he called the "Muslim invasion" of Europe. He is concerned about the recent immigrants to this continent and in particular this country and asked me to comment. I felt it important to do so," says Klemm.

Klemm mentions he is "a first generation American", as his "father emigrated from Germany to the United States to work in Michigan. There he made a life and started a family. He contributed to his community and was a patriotic citizen. This is not a unique story. It is the story of America. Aside from those who are pure Native Americans, all of us trace our ancestral roots to other countries. We come from all over the world, but have one fact in common — we are Americans. Not only are we ethnically diverse, we are also religiously as well, believers of a higher power and non-believers alike," he says.

He shows that in the US, the diversity issue was a struggle, mentioning President Obama's first Inaugural Address, who said that "America's diversity" is "a strength, not a weakness."

"Today, we face a new test, those fleeing wars and persecution in the Middle East. Many of these individuals are escaping horrific conflict and that these vulnerable migrants include many women and children seeking protection. I applaud the generosity and compassion with which so many European citizens and leaders have already responded to this crisis. (...) Welcoming new immigrants, especially in large number, can certainly be frightening. What if they do not acclimate, what if they put a drain on social, financial, or health services, what if they take away jobs from people that have been there for years? There are a lot of unknowns. But here I am reminded that the birth of some of America's greatest contributions to society were from immigrants," says Klemm.

He gives several examples among which that of Albert Einstein, "one of the world's greatest intellects," who "fled persecution in Nazi Germany for safety in the United States," and also that of Madeline Albright, who "escaped communism in then Czechoslovakia and would go on to become the first female Secretary of State of the United States," or that of Gloria Estefan who fled Cuba.

"One never knows where the next Einstein or Estefan comes from. What is important is that all should be treated humanely and with dignity. All should be given a chance to develop, to contribute, and to make a difference in this world. I know it is not an easy thing, but I thank those who welcomed my father oh so many years ago when he arrived on America's shores. Today, I am both extremely proud and deeply humbled to share America's and indeed my own story with those who might see it as an example of tolerance and inclusion. (...) Yes, Mr. Bond it is possible," the US ambassador concludes. AGERPRES (RO — author: Cristina Tatu; editor: Georgiana Tanaescu; EN — author: Adina Ana-Maria Panaitescu, editor: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu)

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