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PES president's blog

We are Charlie

“Je suis Charlie” – I am Charlie – is a message that has become hugely popular over the last days because it expresses in a few words the solidarity, but also the indignation and defiance, over the brutal attack on Charlie Hebdo. 12 people lost their lives, cowardly murdered for only one reason:  because a satirical magazine dared to voice a different perspective of the world. They were not revolutionaries – they were cartoonists, journalists, people whose only weapon was their sense of humour.

Their untimely death shows us one thing: that we are all Charlie – just some people do not know it yet. This is the reason why it is our duty as Europeans and as progressives to fight against this dreadful intolerance that is bringing so much pain to our doorsteps. And we have to fight it through peaceful means, by effectively using our freedom of expression to defend our values, to show the merits of tolerance, of peaceful coexistence, of living in a multicultural society.

This has always been one of the essential principles of the PES family: we believe in a Europe where everybody should be respected, no matter their opinions, occupation, race or religious beliefs. This is what we defended on Sunday in the Marche Republicaine in Paris, when we joined President Hollande in solidarity with the French people and proved, with more than one million citizens on the streets, that freedom of speech will always prevail.

We have the memory of Charlie Hebdo very close to our hearts, and I strongly believe that, together, we will be able to get through these dark days and build a future where Europe, like “I am Charlie”, becomes a synonymous for tolerance, diversity, solidarity and justice.

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