France determined to fight any form of divisiveness
Paris, 9 January 2015
My dear compatriots,
France has been attacked for three consecutive days: on Wednesday, with the attack against Charlie Hebdo, which killed 12 people and seriously injured several others; on Thursday, with the murder of a municipal policewoman and the assault on an employee in Montrouge; and today with two hostage-taking incidents, one of which was in Paris, in Porte de Vincennes, which killed four people.
France has faced up to the situation. First, I would like to express my wholehearted solidarity with the families, the victims, and the injured. France faced up to the situation; it overcame an ordeal that was a tragedy for the nation, but it had a duty to do so.
The murderers have been taken out of harm’s way thanks to a twofold intervention: one in Dammartin-en-Goële, in a warehouse, and the other in Porte de Vincennes, at the kosher shop. I want to pay tribute to the courage, bravery and effectiveness of the gendarmes, the police officers, and all those who took part in these operations. I would like to tell them that we are proud; we are proud of them because when the order was given, they launched the attack simultaneously, and achieved the same result. They did so to save human lives, the lives of the hostages. They did so to neutralize the terrorists, those who had committed murders.
But even though France is aware it has faced up to this situation and its security forces are composed of men and women who are capable of courage and bravery, the threats targeting France are not yet over.
I call on you to remain vigilant, united and mobilized. Vigilance must be demonstrated, first and foremost, by the state. The Prime Minister and I have further stepped up the protection of our public places so that we may live peacefully, without ever being subject to threats or dangers. But we must be vigilant.
I call on you to remain united, because – as I previously told the French people – it’s our best weapon. We must show our determination to fight against anything that could divide us, and first of all to be implacable when it comes to racism and anti-Semitism. For it was indeed an appalling act of anti-Semitism that was committed today at that kosher shop.
Not being divided means we must not tar people with the same brush, we must reject facile thinking and eschew exaggeration. Those who committed these terrorist acts, those terrorists, those lunatics, those fanatics, have nothing to do with the Muslim religion.
Finally, we must mobilize. We must be able to respond to attacks by force, when we are obliged to use it, but also through solidarity. We must show just how effective solidarity is. We are a free nation that does not give in to pressure, that is not afraid, because we have an ideal that is greater than we are and we are able to defend it wherever peace is threatened. Once more I want to pay tribute to our soldiers, who make it possible for us to shoulder our responsibilities with respect to terrorism.
Many heads of state and government from around the world have expressed to us their solidarity. Several have told me that they will attend the great rally on Sunday. I will be with them, and I call on all French people to stand up, this Sunday, for the values of democracy, freedom and pluralism that are so important to us all, and which Europe, in a way, represents.
I promise you that we will emerge even stronger from this ordeal.
Long live the Republic and long live France!./.