There is no place on earth where the darkness can overcome the light. Do not be afraid. #todossomosparis
Mes frères et soeurs,
They attack us because they fear our strength. We are far stronger than they. Their fortress is only shadows and confusion. Our stronghold is reason, the will of a free people. We will withstand this assault and every assault they attempt. They already know this. That is why they hide, and why they prefer to kill themselves rather than to stand before us and face the light of justice.
I must make a most difficult request of you tonight. Forgive them. They are already condemned to carry the burden of their crimes forever. Every God-fearing person with a rational mind is praying for their souls already, and for peace, because these killers have done great damage both to their own humanity and to the hope for a lasting peace among all mankind, which is our common goal. They have chosen the path of destruction. We must not follow them down that path.
The only thing that can overcome terror is love. Like a soldier who runs toward a suicide bomber to save his brothers and sisters, we must run toward this danger with open arms, embracing our enemy, dooming his strategy and his ideology, eliminating the perceived distance between himself and us. We must hold each other close, every free person, every Christian, every Muslim, all of France, all of America. We must prove them wrong about us. God has given us reason. No one can steal it from us. If we do not surrender it, the terrorists lose.
Yes we killed Jihadi John. He was a war criminal luring innocent Muslim children to their deaths or to slavery. He created the state of war in which he was killed. Who lives by the sword dies by the sword. Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. These killers in Paris are war criminals. Their accomplices are war criminals. They will share Jihadi John’s fate. They will not be allowed to turn us aside from the straight and narrow path of reason. We will never surrender.
The battle for the soul of Islam is not different from the battle for the soul of America. Islam and America are complicated mosaics, still in progress. I believe America is a good idea. I stake my life on it. I continue to go to restaurants and concerts and walk down the street in America like I own the place, because I do own the place. We all do. It’s an idea. It’s how I live my life, and I am disinclined to change it, in spite of the cowards who attacked New York while I was there in 2001.
You have a similar idea, joie de vivre, to seize the day in a way that is possible only in France. One of the most important components of joie de vivre is a heart that is free. This is what the terrorists are trying to steal. It is your gift to the world. There is only one City of Love. Paris is a civilization unto herself, a squabbling din of music and laughter and camaraderie and petty theft and forgiveness. France is a great nation blessed with liberty, equality, and fraternity.
Forgive them, mes amis. Continue to be ruled by reason rather than fear. Our love is our strength. In America we have a City of Brotherly Love. She is a country inn compared to Paris, yet she gave us the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The cowards will undoubtedly strike her. Yet she will stand firm as New York stands firm, and Beirut, and 150 other cities wherein the cowards unleashed the hate. There is no place on earth where the darkness can overcome the light. Do not be afraid.