In response to the murderous events in Paris last week, Luc Besson the acclaimed director of The Big Blue, Léon, The Fifth Element, Lucy and Taken wrote a letter to Le Monde newspaper in which he expressed his love and hope for his “Muslim brothers.”
My brother, if you knew how much I hurt for you today, you and your beautiful religion which has been defiled, humiliated, blamed. Have you forgotten your strength, your energy, your humor, your heart, your fraternity. What has happened is unfair and we all must fix this injustice. We love you very much and we will all help you. But first things first. What is society offering you?
Based on money, profit, segregation, racism. In some suburbs, unemployment for those under the age of 25 is 50%. You are turned away because of your color or your name. Ten times a day you are checked and you are put into crowded apartment blocks where nobody represents you. Who can live and thrive in such conditions? If you raised a child, or even an animal, without giving them food and affection for months on end, they would die.
This is a life that puts profit above all else. We cut down the apple tree and sell the wood and are then surprised that we have no fruit. That is the real problem, and it is up to all of us to solve it.
I appeal to the powerful, the big bosses, all of the leaders. Help these poor and neglected youth who just want to be part of society. The economy is at the service of man and not the reverse. Doing good is the greatest profit. Dear powerful leaders, do you have children? Do you love them? Is there something you want to give them? Is it just money? Why not a better and fairer world? This is what would make you most proud of your children.
We cannot build happiness on the misfortune of others. It is not Christian, Jewish or Muslim. It’s just selfish, and it puts our society and our planet up against a brick wall. This then is the work we have to do today to honor our dead.
And you, my brother, you also have a job to do. How to change the company that is offered to you? By work, studying, taking a pencil rather than a Kalashnikov. Realize the power democracy offers you the noble tools to defend yourself . Seize your destiny in your hands, take power.
It costs 250 euros to buy a Kalashnikov but it’s only three euros to buy a pen—which can be a thousand times more effective.
Take the power and play with the rules. Take power democratically, together with all of your brothers. Terrorism will never win. History is there to prove it. It is the fantasy image of the martyr walking in both directions. Today thousands of Wolinski and thousands of Cabu have been born. Take the power and do not let anyone take it from you. Today know that these two bloody brothers are not yours—we all know that.
We know the perpetrators of this tragedy are not yours, they were just two weak-minded individuals, ostracised by society and then misled by a preacher who sold them eternity… The radical preachers who do this only play with your misfortune and have no good intention. They use your religion for their own advantage. It’s their business, their petty business. Tomorrow, my brother, we will be stronger, more connected, more united. I promise.
But today, my brother, I cry with you
Translated from the original French version which can be found here.