Those who were killed in Paris were like us: Some were simple citizens who were killed because they were Jewish. Others were fighting for the liberty of expression. They were anti-racist militants, friendly comrades present during our efforts to establish a more just society, free from racism, anti-Semitism and obscurantism. Among the fallen, there were also police offices, who were charged with the duty of protecting the Charlie Hebdo journalists
The Jihadist terrorists that attacked France with an extreme violence are trying to destabilize French society as well as our sister European societies. Their goal is to promote their gruesome political project: destroy our liberties - especially the liberty of expression which permits the critique of religion – exterminate the Jewish people, subjugate women ,and submit secular muslims to their authority. In short, they aim to “purify” our notion of identity and ethnicity.
In a few words, by killing journalists and Jews, the jihadists are trying not only to eliminate and to terrorize these categories of the population, but also to attack the fundamental values of democracy. They hope to push our societies into a state of violence.
Confronted by this terrorist offensive and islamist ideology, we are all affected. These fanatics’ hatred, which slaughters first the Jews and the free-thinkers, cuts us down at our emotional core. This hatred has no limits and will undoubtedly affect others categories of the population in the future.
Our engagement is clear: We will continue to fight together without rest against anti-Semitism and racism. Our goal is to refuse the terrorists the rise in hatred that they hope for. We refuse to allow this because it would serve their radicalization initiatives. We will continue to fight for an expansion of civil liberties, notably the liberty of expression. We will continue to attack the dogmas, which means criticizing the religions, and thus revitalizing the foundation of our democracies: free thought and expression. We will continue to build a Europe founded on solidarity, equality and democracy.
In adversity, France offers an example that inspires us: A society on its feet, and uncompromising when it comes to its fundamental democratic values.
Today therefore, everywhere in Europe, we are all French, we are all Jews, and we are all Charlie.
The assassination of the Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink by a nationalist agitator launched a large movement to fight negationism in Turkey. Likewise, the Utoya massacre of young Norwegian Socialists – who we then met in Oslo – served as a starting point in the fight for “more democracy” in Norwegian society. Similarly, the series of attacks that hit France should mark a renewal in the fight against anti-Semitism and racism, and for liberty and democracy. This is the only coherent political perspective that can be associated with the identities of our assassinated comrades.
Certain individuals are wondering if the French extreme right will be present during the marches in homage to the victims of these attacks. This group is the inherites the legacy of those who gave France up to Nazi Germany in order to easily slaughter the French Republic. Today, the French extreme right has sold itself to Putin, the butcher of the Chechens and a warmonger who has brought war to Europe in bring it to Ukraine. We are wondering about the appropriateness of their presence during these marches in honor of committed anti-racist militants and Jews, murdered for their ethnicity. In fact they are representatives of a racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic party, the inheritors of those who organized the extermination of French Jews during the second World War. We are wondering if it is appropriate to have the enemies of the liberty of expression present to commemorate the loss of those who died defending it.
However, the national and European consensus should be established based on the democratic values defended by Charlie.
If the National Front hoped to profit from a moment of strong cohesion and national fragility, French society and authorities should not fall into this crude trap, which would confer a republican legitimacy on those who are in fact the irreducible enemies of democracy. French authorities should not fall into this trap in the same way that they should not succumb to the Islamists’ trap, which would consist in falling prey to the fear they propagate by no longer exercising our liberties. The Islamists would have us lower our guard in the fight against anti-Semitism and racism, and to be influenced by the extremes, which would fracture the society into identity-based or religiously based groups, between which there would not be any possible relationship other than confrontation and destruction.
Our lucidity in the face of deadly anti-Semitism, like the engagement of our long-time comrades and allies at Charlie Hebdo, shows us how we can continue to engage ourselves with determination for a France and a Europe of liberty and democracy.
Sunday, we will be mobilized in France and in all countries to say together: “End anti-Semitism and long live democracy, liberty and Charlie!"
Benjamin Abtan, President of the European Grassroots Anti-Racist Movement - EGAM
Dominique Sopo, President of SOS Racisme
Aldo Merkoci, President of the Mjaft! Movement (Enough!) (Albania)
Claudia Schaefer, General Director of Zara & Alexander Pollak, President of SOS Mitmensch (Austria)
Xavier-Carlos Crespo, President of the MRAX (Belgium)
Alma Masic, Director of Youth Initiative for Human Rights-Bosnia-Herzegovina
Krassimir Kanev, President of the Helsinki Committee of Bulgaria & Deyan Kolev, President of the Roma Centre Amalipe for inter-ethnic dialouge and tolerance (Bulgaria)
Mario Mazic, Director of Youth Initiative for Human Rights-Croatia (Croatia)
Miroslav Broz, Porte-parole of Konexe (Czech Republic)
Jette Moller, President of SOS Mod Racism (Denmark)
Sandra Vokk, President of the Unitas Foundation & Merle Haruoja, Member of the Estonian Institute for Human Rights (Estonia)
Christian Thibault, Executive Director of the Rasmus Network (Finland)
Anetta Kahane, President of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation (Germany)
Ahmed Moawia, President Of the Greek Forum for Migrants (Greece)
Erika Muhi, Director of Neki & Stefania Kapronczay, Executive Director of the Hungarian Union for Civil Liberties (Hungary)
Angela Scalzo, General Secretary of SOS Razzismo (Italy)
Raba Gjoshi, Director of Youth Initiative for Human Rights-Kosovo (Kosovo)
Sigita Zankovska-Odina, Member of the Latvian Center for Human Rights (Latvia)
Hristo Ivanovski, President of the Alliance for Human Rights (Macedonia)
Valerian Mamaliga, President of the Moldavian Institute for Human Rights (Moldova)
Boris Raonic, President of the Civic Alliance (Montenegro)
Rune Berglund Steen, Director of the Antirasistisk Senter (Norway)
Paula Sawicka, President of Open Republic, Klaus Witold, President of the Association for legal intervention, Katarzyna Kubin, Director of the Forum for social diversity (Poland)
Marian Mandache, Executive Director of Romani Criss (Romania)
Anita Mitic, Director of Youth Initiative for Human Rights-Serbia & Jovana Vukovic, Coordinator of the Minority Regional Center (Serbia)
Irena Bihariova, President de Ludia proti Rasizmu (Slovakia)
Daniel Poohl, Director d’Expo, Kalle Larson, President de Centrum Mot Rasism & Lina Gidlund, Director of antidiscrimination Upsala (Sweden)
Levent Sensever, Porte-parole of DurDe ! (End racism and nationalism!) (Turkey)
Anna Lenchovska, Executive Director of the National Congress of Minorities (Ukraine)
Picture: Adrien (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
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