While a number of musicians cancelled dates or European tours in reaction to the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, November 13, one day later in Stockholm, a defiant Madonna stood before a packed audience and said she would not be silenced. The singer long known for voicing her opinion on matters of controversy took time out from her performance to address the people who turned out to hear her as she delivered an impromptu message “to acknowledge the tragedy” in the City of Lights.
Saying she “felt torn…when people are crying over the loss of their loved ones,” Madonna took her time and spoke in a measured voice as she decried the actions of the gunmen and suicide bombers who, in her words, “want to shut us up.”
“They want to silence us,” she said before emphatically declaring, “We won’t let them. We will never let them.”
“There is power in unity. And I do believe that as much chaos, and pain and senseless violence and terrorism that occurs around this world — not just in Paris — as much as that that does occur, there is more goodness in this world,” she told the crowd including them in the moment, “And we are here to prove it.”
She cautioned the people gathered at her concert that freedom should never be taken for granted.
“I thought to myself, why should I give that to them. Why should I allow them to stop me, to stop us from enjoying freedom.”
She reminded her audience that the people who were killed or injured as the result of this act or terror — these people were having fun, enjoying themselves, listening to music, dancing.
“These are freedoms that we take for granted of course and we must not but they are freedoms we deserve. There is no one in this world who should stop us from doing what we love.”
Madonna concluded her remarks with a gentle admonition to everyone to make an effort to take individual responsibility to make the world a better place — one person at a time.
“Yes, there are people who have no respect for human life and there are people who do atro degrading unforgiveable things to other human beings we will never change this world unless we change ourselves.”
“The way we change the world is that we change the way we treat one another on a daily basis in the simplest ways. This is the only way we can change the world…it’s very hard to love that which we do not understand. But we have to. Or this will go on and on forever.”
After calling for a moment of silence, Madonna launched into a powerful rendition of her song “Like A Prayer” and asked the audience to join her in singing the chorus.