— Carlos Brandt (@CarlosBrandt) November 23, 2015
The American Music Awards were a star-studded event as usual, but it wasn’t without its sad moments, due to the November 13 terror attacks on Paris.
Jared Leto took the stage to introduce Celine Dion, who gave her own tribute to Paris in a moving performance of Edith Piaf’s “Hymne à L’Amour.” Leto, in his speech, referenced his band’s visit to Paris earlier this year, during which they gave a performance at the very venue that was attacked on November 13, the Bataclan.
Leto also shared the news that he lost colleagues and friends that night, and that a friend of his had lost his wife, the mother of his child. It was an impassioned speech calling for love in the midst of hatred and terror, and it also expressed Leto’s belief that “peace is possible.”
Here’s the speech’s text in full, or watch the video above. Fair warning: it’s possible you’ll cry.
“Earlier this year my band, Thirty Seconds To Mars, was wrapping up a tour in Europe and we were looking for a good excuse to stop off in one of our favorite cities in the world, Paris. We decided to play a little impromptu show at a classic venue called The Bataclan. It was beautiful, peaceful and unforgettable. What a difference a day makes.
Seven months later, on the evening of November 13, 2015, that same venue, Bataclan, was under siege. One in the series of a terrorist attack on Paris that changed the world forever. 129 innocent people died, 368 were injured and another 7 billion will forever be scarred by this horrific and senseless tragedy. Like some of you here, we had friends and former colleagues there that night. Steve Toth, Matt McJunkins both made it out. Thomas Ayad did not.
Antoine Leiris was also at Bataclan and said, ‘Friday night, you took an exceptional life. The love of my life, the mother of my son. But you will not have my hatred.’ He went on to say, ‘You’re asking for it, but responding with hatred and anger is falling victim to the same ignorance that has made you what you are. You want me to be scared, to view my countrymen with mistrust, to sacrifice my liberty for my security – you lost. We are just two now, my son and me. But we are stronger than all the armies in the world.’
Tonight we honor the victims of the unimaginable violence that has taken place this year in Paris and around the world. France matters, Russia matters, Syria matters, Mali matters, the Middle East matters, the United States matters — the entire world matters and peace is possible.
By the way, many of us here are the sons and the daughters of immigrants. Steve Jobs, the son of a Syrian immigrant. President Barack Obama. The American Music Awards wanted to show its support for the people of France and the entire world.”