“Long live freedom! Long live our common, peaceful Europe!”

After the tragic events of November 2, Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen held a speech addressed to all people living in Austria. We translated it for our readers.

Dear Austrians

and all people who want to live together peacefully in Austria.

We have had a dark, terrible night.

In the center of Vienna, in the middle of our Republic, a cowardly terrorist attack on the heart of our society has taken place: What appears to be an Islamist-motivated attack, which in its dimension and cold contempt for humanity is the worst of our recent history.

Our deepest sympathy goes to all the injured who are struggling for their lives in these hours.

Our tears flow from our midst for all those who have lost their lives.

And for all their loved ones and relatives and friends.

Our thanks go to all policemen and soldiers who give their lives for our safety, and to all rescue workers who give their utmost in a time of greatest strain.

Our thanks also go to the international community, which stands united and in solidarity behind Austria in these difficult times.

That is good to know.

Ladies and gentlemen!

The assassination attempt was obviously aimed at all those who value and cherish life in a free society.

It was aimed at our free society itself. Life in community, in tolerance, in respect for each other.

Life in a liberal democracy. A life that terrorists obviously hate deeply. But on the ground on which we stand – the ground of our democracy, of Europe – is one where we fought for centuries for freedom and tolerance and we cannot give in now.

Whoever thinks we will doesn’t know us at all!

Hatred will not fall on fertile ground in our society, for terror wants to unsettle and sow conflict. We will not let ourselves be infected by this hatred. We will protect and defend ourselves and our values.

With everything that Vienna is, what Austria is, what we believe in and what we stand for, we say here and now: Hate can never be as strong as our community in freedom, in democracy, in tolerance and in love.

Long live freedom! Long live our Republic of Austria! Long live our common, peaceful Europe!

The president’s original speech in German can be found here.

The speech of President Alexander Van der Bellen can be watched below.

Benjamin Wolf
Benjamin studied Journalism, History and International Affairs. After stints with Cafébabel in Paris and Arte in Strasbourg, he is now working as managing editor and COO for Metropole in Vienna. Fields of expertise are politics, economics, culture, and history. Photo: Visual Hub

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