luc besson reaches out to french muslims

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack, the director pens an open letter to young French Muslims.

by Felicity Kinsella
|
13 January 2015, 3:30pm

Published in French daily newspaper Le Monde, the director blames economic deprivation for the radicalisation of terrorists and calls for others to accept young Muslims into their culture as well as promising to work more with their community himself to achieve a fairer society. Besson also makes clear to other young Muslims that we understand that the two brothers responsible for the attack are not the norm in their community. "Terrorism will never win," he writes before urging his "brothers" to pick up a pen, rather than a Kalashnikov, "It costs 250 euros to buy a Kalashnikov but not even three euros to buy a pen - and your response can have a thousand times more impact. Take the power, and play by the rules."

Here is the full letter as translated by Deadline:

My brother, if you knew how badly I hurt for you today, you and your beautiful religion that has been so sullied, humiliated, and singled out. Forgotten are your strength, your energy, your humour, your heart, your fraternity. It's unfair and together we will repair this injustice. We are millions who love you and who are going to help you. Let's start at the beginning. What is the society we're offering you today?

It's based on money, profit, segregation and racism. In some suburbs, unemployment for people under 25 is 50%. You are marginalised because of your colour or your first name. You're questioned 10 times a day, you're crowded into apartment blocks and no one represents you. Who could live and thrive under such conditions?

Profit comes before all else. We cut and sell the apple tree's branches and then are shocked there's no fruit. The real problem is there, and that's for all of us to resolve.

I call on the powerful, the big bosses and all leaders. Help this youth that has been humiliated and which asks only to be part of society. The economy is in the service of man and not the reverse. To do good is the greatest of profits. Dear powerful, do you have children? Do you love them? What do you want to leave them? Money? Why not a world that's more fair? That would make your children the most proud of you.

We cannot build our happiness on the misfortune of others. It is neither Christian, nor Jewish, nor Muslim. It is just selfish and it leads our society and our planet straight into a wall. This is the work we have to do beginning today to honour our dead.

Terrorism will never win.

And you, my brother, you also have a job to do. How can you change this society that's being offered to you? By working, by studying, by taking up a pencil rather than a Kalashnikov. That's what's good about democracy, it offers you the noble tools to defend yourself. Take your destiny in hand, take the power. It costs 250 euros to buy a Kalashnikov but not even three euros to buy a pen - and your response can have a thousand times more impact. Take the power, and play by the rules.

Take power democratically, helped by all your brothers. Terrorism will never win. History is there to prove it. And the beautiful image of the martyr walking in both directions. Today there are a thousand [assassinated Charlie Hebdo journalists] Cabus and Wolinskis who have just been born.

Take the power and don't let anyone take power over you. If those who are presumed guilty of this tragedy really are, know that these two blood-spilling brothers are not yours, and we all know it.

It would at most be two weak-minded individuals, abandoned by society and then abused by a preacher who sold them eternity … Radical preachers who play on and make your misfortune their business have no good intentions. They use your religion only to their advantage. It is their business, their small business. Tomorrow, my brother, we will be stronger, more connected, closer. I promise you. But today, my brother, I cry with you.

Tagged:
Film
Charlie Hebdo
Luc Besson