I love New York. So far in my life, I have lived in 11 cities across the globe. None of them is quite like New York.
As Frank Sinatra sings: “A city that never sleeps.”
And I would add, a city which is so cosmopolitan and metropolitan like no other on Earth.
An incredible energy floating through its avenues and streets. People of all colors, faiths and professions mingled in a melting pot. They all share one same message: Quality is what matters regardless of who you are, where you come from and what your background is. The strength and the radiation of the city do not allow for anything else but admiration and affection.
And yet, New York has witnessed one of the most cruel and mean attacks known in history.
On a bright and sunny September morning, I was sitting in my armchair, reading the New York Times and having my cup of chamomile tea. I was also enjoying the stunning view of Manhattan from the 60th floor of the Trump World Tower facing south. The World Trade Center Twin Towers were dominating the skyline.
All of a sudden, I noticed a smoke coming out of the North Tower and was puzzled what would be the cause of this enormous quantity of smoke.
In the mean time my cell phone started ringing and my wife was on the line calling from Europe. I told her about the smoke and explained it was coming from the top of the Tower where we spent two years earlier celebrating New Years Eve. The place was called: The greatest bar on earth.
She was obviously concerned and so was I, both asking ourselves was it the gas installation or something else.
The answer came much faster than we could imagine. I noticed an aircraft flying over Manhattan on the west side heading to the south on an incredibly low altitude.
The aircraft disappeared for one moment behind the two towers and hit the south tower of the World Trade Center which was blown. Its windows became for one moment a bunch of confetti scattered around.
‘Oh my God’ was the only sigh I could put through my mouth and then I saw a scene which I will never forget as long as I live.
I screamed like a wounded animal:"We are under attack! This is a horror"! And my wife got scared to death. I hang up the phone. Ran out of the apartment, called my people in the Permanent Mission of Macedonia to the UN and told them to immediately evacuate the offices. I went to the UN headquarters and learned that I was right: New York was a target of a brutal terrorist attack.
It's been 15 years since then. The world has become an insecure place due to terrorist activities across the globe.
An era of unprecedented terrorism has brought dark clouds over the blue skies not only of New York as on September 11, 2001, but all over the globe: from Istanbul to Nairobi, from Moscow to Paris, from Madrid to Baghdad.
I love New York. I have lived in that unique city three times and altogether 7 years in three capacities: as a University Professor, as an Ambassador to the UN and as President of the UN General Assembly.
Of course every time I decided to move to New York I was guided by my professional affinity and duty but to be honest after the first stay, I fell in love with the city and became guided by the desire to live and enjoy New York.
At present, I am running for the post of UN Secretary General motivated to crown my diplomatic career by taking the responsibility of making the world a better place: terrorism-free. Without poverty, without discrimination of any type, without pollution.
I know it sounds pretty idealistic. But I am deeply convinced a world without ideals is like a space without oxygen.
And New York is the best place not only to dream of these ideals but to make these dreams come true.
September 11, 2016