Secretary of State John Kerry spoke passionately about the principles of free expression after a Wednesday shooting at a French satirical magazine left 12 dead.
“Free expression and a free press are core values. They are universal values, principles that can be attacked but never eradicated,” Kerry declared at a press conference held hours after the attack.
The targeted satirical magazine, “Charlie Hebdo,” published a series of controversial cartoons over the years, including of the Prophet Mohammed. Muslims widely find such depictions offensive and “Charlie Hebdo” received violent threats in response.
But Kerry argued that “no matter what your feelings were” about “Charlie Hebdo,” “the freedom of expression it represented is not able to be killed by this kind of act of terror.”
“I agree with the French imam, who today called the slain journalists ‘martyrs for liberty.’ Today’s murders are part of a larger confrontation, not between civilizations, … but between civilisation itself and those who are opposed to a civilized world. The murderers dared proclaim, ‘Charlie Hebdo’ is dead. But make no mistake, they are wrong,” Kerry said.
Kerry also spoke in French directly to the people of France and referenced the country’s history as an American ally and the first major modern Democratic government in Europe.
“Our countries are still united. Liberty. That’s it,” he said, according to a translation by Business Insider. “No country knows better than France that liberty has a price.”
Additional reporting by Hunter Walker.
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