A picture of Representative Steny H. Hoyer
Steny H.
Democrat MD 5

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  • We Are All Charlie

    by Representative Steny H. Hoyer

    Posted on 2015-01-09

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    HOYER asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I rise, as I know all Americans would rise if they were here, to express our solidarity with, our sympathy to, and our convictions for a strong alliance with the people of France.

    The despicable and tragic murder in Paris on Tuesday of journalists and those who protected them ought to be a reminder that we cannot and must not take for granted the freedoms we enjoy living in a democracy.

    The men and women who were targeted in Paris on Wednesday were cartoonists whose job was to use humor to make people question their leaders and their most cherished principles. Freedom of speech, protected in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, which was read today on this floor, means nothing if that speech can be intimidated and shuttered by violence.

    The principles that we speak of were part of a long tradition in France and in this country of bringing the loftiest of people and ideas down to Earth through the power of satire.

    Freedom of the press and free expression of ideas are a necessary check against tyranny and oppression. They are as much a part of democracy as the right to vote and due process in court.

    Mr. Speaker, in attacking these journalists, the terrorists made their target clear, and that is freedom itself--freedom in America, freedom in France, freedom throughout the world, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, and freedom of dissent.

    The taking of innocent hostages at a kosher market today further demonstrated the terrorists' utter disregard for the ``liberty, equality, and brotherhood'' that are the foundation of the French democracy and the American democracy.

    The democratic nations of the world must continue to stand up to those who wish to stifle the basic freedoms that all people deserve. I know that all 435 Members of this Congress are united in that conviction. I join with all of my colleagues in offering my condolences to the families of the victims and to the French people.

    Mr. Speaker, in that regard, I articulate what has just been demonstrated by all by standing in silence, just as President Kennedy declared, ``Ich bin ein Berliner,'' and newspapers around the world after 9/11 read, ``We are all Americans.'' Today, all freedom-loving people around the world join together in solidarity to say, ``We are all Charlie''--``Nous'' sommes tous Charlie.'' ____________________

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