discover his resounding speech and other striking speeches

discover his resounding speech and other striking speeches

70 years ago, on February 1, 954, Abbot Pierre, founder of the Emmaus communities, launched a resounding appeal on Radio Luxembourg (ancestor of RTL). Multiplying his battles until the end of his life in 2007, at the age of 94, he left behind vigorous words which still resonate and which we share with you today.

Abbé Pierre’s appeal of February 1, 1954

On February 1, 1954, while the temperatures were freezing, a message from Abbé Pierre on the radio provoked what we call today “the insurrection of kindness”. His call for help in favor of the “outside diapers” triggers a real wave of solidarity. Donations are pouring in, volunteers are offering their services and businesses are offering their support. The government is launching an “emergency plan” for 12,000 “essential” housing units. The winter break on rental evictions, established by a 1956 law, is a direct result of this appeal.

There is no authentic audio version of the call. The one you will find in the video below, published by the Abbé Pierre Foundation, was recorded by Abbé Pierre on October 4, 1993.

“My friends, help… A woman has just frozen to death, last night at three o’clock, on the sidewalk of Boulevard Sébastopol, clutching the paper with which, the day before yesterday, she had been expelled…

Every night, there are more than two thousand of them huddled under the frost, without roof, without bread, more than one almost naked. Faced with so much horror, emergency cities are no longer even urgent enough!

Listen to me: in three hours, two first emergency centers have just been created: one in the tent at the foot of the Panthéon, rue de la Montagne Sainte Geneviève; the other in Courbevoie. They are already overflowing, we must open them everywhere. This very evening, in every city in France, in every district of Paris, signs must be hung under a light in the night, at the door of places where there are blankets, straw, soup, and where ‘We read under this title “fraternal emergency center”, these simple words: “You who suffer, whoever you are, come in, sleep, eat, regain hope, here we love you”

The weather forecast predicts a month of terrible frosts. As long as the winter lasts, as long as these centers exist, in the face of their brothers dying of poverty, only one opinion must exist between men: the desire to make it impossible for this to last. Please let us love each other enough right now to do this. That so much pain has given us this wonderful thing: the common soul of France. Thanks to you, no man, no child will sleep this evening on the asphalt or the quays of Paris. THANKS! »

Speech by Abbé Pierre, in 1984, the voice of the voiceless

In October 2017, the Abbé Pierre foundation posted a poignant speech on its YouTube channel, delivered at the Palais des Congrès in Paris, in 1984. Less known than the appeal of February 1, 1984, it remains no less striking.

Angry against the rich, the one nicknamed the “voice of the voiceless” denounces those who monopolize all the wealth, and are therefore part of the problem by letting the poorest die. Words that still resonate with us today!

“Those who have taken the whole dish on their plate, leaving the plates of others empty, and who having everything say with a good face, a good conscience “We who have everything, we are for peace!”, I know what I have to shout out to these:The first violent ones, the provocateurs of all violence, it’s you! And when, in the evening, in your beautiful homes, you go to kiss your little children, with your good conscience, in the sight of God, you probably have more blood on your unconscious hands than the desperate person who has ever had will ever have. took up weapons to try to get out of his despair.”

But we are not deceiving, there is no violence only with weapons, there are situations of violence. There are such and such people in the world that I know very well, where I have been so many times and where there is no longer any hope for the crowd of the smallest. No hope of learning to live. And I shouted, you rich people – there are rich people who are honestly rich – you have a duty to spend. Those who would store gold and jewelry in bank vaults, who would accumulate them like treasure. For wealth in times of trial must be shared, coming to the rescue by creating viable businesses to provide employment and wages. »

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