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The night between Friday and Saturday, 129 innocent people were killed in Paris and hundreds were injured. Among them several are severely injured, still fighting for their lives. Therefore we still do not know the full extent of this dreadful attack.
But we do know that it is one of the worst terrorist acts in Europe in recent years.
We are gathered tonight to commemorate the dead and honour the wounded. Our thoughts and compassion are with their families.
A restaurant. A café. A pizzeria. A football match. A bar. A concert hall.
The setting for peoples’ lives, turned into a nightmare over a weekend. Where everyday life turned into war.
We all react in horror. And in disgust.
And in deep sorrow.
But also in unity.
As we do tonight. Let me thank the youth organizations of the political parties in Denmark for arranging this commemoration. Thank you, all of you who have come.
We show our solidarity with the people of France.
The French who in 1789 in the Declaration of the Rights of Man wrote: ”Men are born and remain free and equal in rights.”
Freedom and equality for all of mankind.
Those are the values that unite us. Across nationality. Across religion. Across political views.
Those values are our values. They show who we are. How we live. Why we live.
The attack on Paris – the city of cities, the city of lights, the city of love – was an attack on all of us.
It fills us with sorrow and anger. Horror and disgust.
Why did this happen? We ask ourselves.
How is it possible, even for the most evil of terrorists to kill – in cold blood – guests at a café, youngsters going out, and couples on a romantic dinner in Paris?
The answer is that the extremist fanaticism – behind the terrorists – wants a dark world.
Without music, without love, without joy. Without democracy, without freedom, and without compassion.
They strive to strike a sword through our world. They strive to draw an evil and false dividing line between the West and Islam.
I draw the line a different place. Between understanding and fanaticism. Between freedom and imprisonment. Between enlightenment and darkness.
Therefore my thoughts tonight are also with the innocents killed in terrorist attacks in Beirut in Lebanon.
With the victims of the attack on a Russian passenger jet in the Sinai.
And with the people living in misery under the repression of a gruesome terror regime.
Let us all unite for freedom and against extremism. Let us direct our anger at the perpetrators and their backers.
They try to blind our eyes. But we see them as they are.
Fanatics and criminals taking a great religion hostage.
Western and Muslim countries. Secular and religious leaders. Mankind across cultures.
We must stand together. We stand together. We hold our ground. We will not compromise.
What do we do when confronted with cynicism and brutality? With dark forces as this weekend? And earlier this year – in Paris and in Copenhagen?
What do we do? What is the most powerful response?
It is to hold on to our everyday life. Not to let us be subdued.
If we no longer dare sit in a café, in a sidewalk restaurant, be it in Paris or Copenhagen, then we have lost.
We will insist on freedom and democracy. On human rights and joie de vivre.
We refuse to give in to the fear that the forces of darkness aim to spread. We will not forsake our values. We will never give up our open and free societies.
I have on behalf of Denmark – on behalf of all of you – presented my condolences to president Hollande and paid a visit to the ambassador of France, François Zimeray.
I have expressed our compassion with the victims, the wounded, their relatives, and the people of France.
I have also made clear that Denmark will continue our unyielding participation in the fight against the terrorist group ISIL.
Ambassadeur François Zimeray,
Permettez-moi d'exprimer mes sentiments les plus profonds au peuple français.
Let us defeat darkness together. Light a candle for those who died while living their lives in Paris. City of cities, city of love.
Last weekend, I walked the streets of Paris with my wife Sólrun. In the city of love we all know and love.
We talked about how wonderful it was that the city had moved on after the barbaric attack on Charlie Hebdo. We talked about the fact that Paris was once again filled with joy and love.
And that, dear friends, is what Paris will be again.
All of you, young people, who have come here today. This is about your future. It is about our freedom.
Terror is based on hatred. But in our grief, your presence here today confirms that greatest of all is love.