To the people of France, on behalf of the representatives of the youth participating in the Model European Parliament session in Berlin from twenty-four Member States of the European Union and four candidate countries.
We have no words to express how devastated and shocked we are about the events that took place in Paris last night. Many delegates, including the ones writing this, have friends or family who were in the city, some of whom have not yet been confirmed to be alive at the time of writing. This has affected us all deeply. This was not only an attack on Paris or France, but an attack on all of us as Europeans.
Any act of mass violence can be seen as an attack on the European values, nurtured in France, of humanity, peace and liberty. To quote Willy Brandt, ‘peace is not everything, but without peace we are nothing’. Our hopes and prayers are with every single person affected by this tragedy.
We must see this attack solely as what it is: an act of violence. Prejudice erupts quickly and is unjustified. The EU is home to people of various religions, cultures and mentalities, which should enrich and unite us as one community. Therefore, it is the responsibility of Europe as a whole, not individual member states and their governments, to tackle prejudice and stand in solidarity.
As representatives of the future Europe we are concerned about our current situation and what it will lead to. We are standing at crossroads all the time, and now we are facing the most difficult one ever. Division and insecurity would be the easy routes to follow; we urge the European youth to choose the path of unity and tolerance instead. With an open mind, keep forming educated and well-informed opinions, maintain our idea of a progressive and cohesive Europe with a bright future.
We are not certain about the aim of the perpetrators, however, we can only presume that their intention was to instil ear and anxiety. But as long as Europe is united and keeps on hoping, no threat will be able to reduce our strength. And we will carry on hoping! We do believe in the good in every human being, or, using the words of Albert Camus: ‘There are more things to admire in men than to despise’.