New Zealand Labour Party

Andrew Little Remarks on the Attacks in Paris

A city that represents the best about our civilisation has been attacked by those who want to return us to the worst kind of barbarism.

The opposition condemns the attacks in Paris in the strongest possible terms.

We support the efforts to track down and bring to justice the perpetrators of this atrocity.

Let’s remember why these attacks occur.

It’s not only about extremists killing innocent civilians.

The perpetrators of these acts do them to cause fear and terror amongst all citizens of the free world.

They win when we succumb to the fear they foster.

They win when we respond with anger and hatred.

They win when we turn on ourselves and our peaceful communities, and others in our communities.

They win when our only response is revenge and retribution.

They win when we feel that the only way to be safe is when we abandon our freedoms and curtail our rights as citizens of the free world.

When confronted with barbarism of the sort we saw in the weekend, barbarism that kills and maims the innocent, the urge for revenge and retribution is real, and it is human.

In our shock and in our anger, we want to avenge, to enact an equal price.

But it is when the urge for revenge is greatest that our humanity must take over – our sense of ourselves as a loving and peaceful and just people.

For just as the perpetrators of this gross violence wish us to cower in fear to their warped tyranny, so also do they want to see us abandon our humanity.

And we must never do that.

Because to do so is to yield to their fear mongering.

We must never concede to fear.

As we deal with our shock, our anger, our revulsion, our insistence on justice in the face of the grossest injustice, we must never fear the path of peace.

We may have differences of party in this parliament. But we are united by our humanity.

Let’s stand in solidarity with the people of Paris and all of France.

And we stand in solidarity with all peoples in the world for a just and lasting peace.