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Launch of the initiative #NOHATENOFEAR on the occasion of the third part of the 2016 Ordinary Session

Launch of the initiative #NOHATENOFEAR on the occasion of the third part of the 2016 Ordinary Session
Strasbourg, Monday 20 June 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Terrorism has become a reality of our life.

Atrocious attacks in Istanbul, Brussels, Tunis, Paris, and recently Orlando have taken the lives of  many of our citizens.

These heinous attacks have left deep scars that will take years to heal.

I am not sure if we can fully imagine the feelings of those who lost their loved ones and relatives in a barbaric attack.

I am not sure we can fully imagine what one would say to children who lost a parent, a brother or sister or a close friend in a senseless and inhuman attack?

I am not sure we can fully imagine the psychological stress of those who were lucky to escape unharmed the terrorists and have to live with the memories of these terrible moments for the rest of their lives.

Terrorists seek to destabilize our societies and destroy our way of life by creating a sense of fear and hate among our citizens. By propagating suspicion and mistrust, they want to turn members of a community against each other in order to divide us.

They seek to restrict our fundamental freedoms and rights, and to destroy the very foundations of our democratic societies – the supreme value of human life and dignity, the principles of respect, tolerance and non-discrimination….

Terror only works when we let our fear and anger dictate what happens next. So, what should be our response to terrorism?

We should not give in to hatred and fear! We should resist and defend – with even greater vigour – our principles and ideals. 

We have to open our hearts and arms to our fellow people, and not look at them with suspicion or hostility.

As politicians, we must take responsibility for our citizens who have elected us as their representatives. Therefore, it is our duty to reassure them, show example, speak out strongly against hate and fear, and support our fundamental values and freedoms.

The #NoHateNoFear initiative we are launching today is a tool at everyone's disposal to spread this message.

Dear colleagues,

Many of you might have read the letter published on Facebook by Antoine Leiris, a reporter for France Info, after having lost his wife in the Bataclan attack. I was deeply moved and impressed by the strength of this message.

Like him, we should not "not give the fanatics the gift of hatred".

Like him and his two-year-old son, we should continue to live our daily lives to full and enjoy our freedom!

We will now watch a video prepared by the BBC with his moving words.

[VIDEO]

Colleagues,

I now invite you all to move to the seats in the central section of the hemicycle for the picture. Please bring the #NoHateNoFear banner with you to display in front of you.