The International Remembrance Day for the Victims of Communism and Nazism in Europe; 32nd Anniversary of the Baltic Way
Remarks by Kārlis Eihenbaums, Ambassador of Latvia to Canada
Ottawa, Parliament Hill
23rd August 1939 was a dark day for Europe, and humanity.
On 23rd August 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany - Stalin and Hitler - signed a treaty. The infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and the secret clauses divided Europe into two totalitarian spheres of influence.
It continued to pave the way for a policy of injustice and inhumanity — this spelled catastrophe to the entire world. This led to the occupation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
50 years later, the three Baltic nations surprised the world.
23rd August 1989 was a great day that I hold dear to my heart. Two million Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians literally joined hand-in-hand to say “no more” to the oppression. The famous Baltic Way, spanning from Tallinn to Riga to Vilnius, was a 600-kilometre-long human chain. Hope was born!
The Baltic Way brought important changes to regional and even global history. It was achieved through the joint commitment and confidence manifested by every individual.
Today we strongly can declare that we will never tolerate totalitarianism or genocide against any people.
Today we give great thanks to Canada for not only the readiness to stand by our side as an ally, but also for the physical troop deployment in Latvia since 2017. We feel good that Latvia is the host country for the Canadian-led NATO battlegroup.
Canada’s presence in Latvia is strengthening the trans-Atlantic bond, and keeping the peace in Europe.
Thank you for joining us, and being with us in support of the independence that we all hold dear.
I give thanks from my heart, and from more than twenty thousand Latvians that are living in Canada. Most of them came here seeking a safe haven in dark times. These World War II refugees have actively and proudly contributed to building the nation that Canada is today.
Let’s treasure and defend our freedom in every moment!
Thank you! Merci! Paldies!