Thomas Mattsson - Bloggen om Expressen

Sergels torg i dag – hela talet

Här mitt tal på dagens manifestation på Sergels torg i Stockholm för Charlie Hebdo. Jag är djupt tacksam för att så många kom – i snö och kyla – för att värna pressfriheten. Tack också till alla andra talare.

Talet kan du läsa här:

”Firstly, I would like to express my condolences to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack, their families and the people of France. We stand here today, together with you, not only – as earlier – in silent mourning, but also in defiance. Knowing that Freedom of Speech may, yet again, be under attack, but still convinced that it will prevail.

We have been here before. This very place, Sergels torg in Stockholm, is the square where people gather to protest and manifest.

This is where oppressed minorities speak out freely about dictatorship in their
native countries.

This is where politicians address voters during election campaigns.

This is where desperate individuals go on hunger strike, to express their views.

We may like or dislike what is said, sung, written or drawn – but we must, always, defend each and everyone who wishes to register his or her opinion.

This is also a place of celebration. Right here, close to the Parliament of Sweden and the Cabinet headquarters Rosenbad, right next to the so called Culture House, where politics and journalism and art meet, people also meet to greet successful athletes.

And today we are here to honour the staff of Charlie Hebdo, and the police officers who defended them. We celebrate that we agree on the fact that liberty of speech must be a given in democracies. That, we must recall, has not always been the case and is still not in many socities.

Many of us were here at Sergels torg, some time ago, to honour freedom of speech
personified by the Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak. He has been imprisoned, without trial I must add, by the junta in Asmara since 2001.

When we say ”Je Suis Charlie”, we also echo the words ”Free Dawit”!

Freedom of the press is truly a must, and our colleagues at Charlie Hebdo paid the ultimate price to prove that. I talk to you as an Editor of a newspaper which has, too, lost journalists in the past. One reporter, I must recall, was dispatched to a conflict in Africa but was murdered in a small, village in Uganda shortly after crossing Lake Victoria from
Tanzania with another newspaper man. He, too, was shot by the militia.

That violence is what Charlie Hebdo faced. This is what journalists around the world face as we speak. 66 journalists were killed last year, according to the French organization Reporters Without Borders.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders was founded in Montpellier in 1985, and is one important voice against oppression of free speech.

Your voices are vital, too, and your pencils may be, as well. Philippe Honoré, one of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists killed this week, did participate in Expressen with his drawings. One of them was published in Expressen the day after the funeral of Olof Palme, the Prime Minister of Sweden who was shot not far from here back in 1986.

Philippe Honoré’s drawing that day was a rock next to a stormy sea. Maybe the waves on his drawings can, today, be seen as the terrrorists, not knowing where their force will bring them? Maybe that cliff is us. Firmly standing here today, stating that ”FREEDOM OF SPEECH WILL PREVAIL”.

Je Suis Charlie.