In a letter to Education International (EI)’s 10 French affiliates, General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen voiced the organisation’s “sincere condolences to the families and friends of the innocent victims of these attacks.” To the community of French teachers and education personnel, he expressed hope “that in these moments of mourning you find the strength to ease the pain and revulsion to continue defending our values with your students that make up your unions and education institutions.”
In a statementissued on 14 November the EI Francophone Committee for Education and Training (CSFEF) has stressed that “In this unstable geo-political context, the educators we are owe more than ever to wield the weapon of Education against all obscurantism and intolerance. Universal enrolment, reaffirmed at the General Assembly of the United Nations in September, must quickly become reality. This requires political will and investments”
In her statement, Sharan Burrow, the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said that “the so-called Islamic state is seeking to export its murderous creed from Syria and Iraq to France and elsewhere. The global trade union movement stands in full solidarity with the people of France, who showed such extraordinary generosity and bravery even as the attacks were still underway, tending to the wounded and opening their doors to those escaping the atrocities.”
“As the authorities continue to investigate the deadliest attack on French soil since the Second World War, these events are a reminder to EI and its affiliates around the world that the horrific acts of a few will not dismantle the values that bind our societies,” EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen said. “Education International remains steadfast in its commitment to upholding the fundamental democratic values that support free society, and will not waver in the face of any attack to undermine them”.
Recent attacks in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and now France have made it clear that the brutal violence aimed at stripping freedom does not discriminate.