Madonna paused her concert in Stockholm, Sweden on Saturday night and broke down in tears as she paid tribute to the victims killed in terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday — but the singer drew the ire of some social media users for suggesting that “only love” could change the world, and consequently, prevent terrorism.
“I feel torn. Like, why am I up here dancing and having fun when people are crying over the loss of their loved ones,” Madonna began. “However, that is exactly what these people want to do. They want to shut us up. They want to silence us. And we won’t let them. We will never let them!”
The pop star continued:
“I was going to cancel my show tonight but then I thought to myself, ‘Why should I give that to them? Why should I allow them to stop me and to stop us from enjoying freedom?’ All of the places where people were killed were places where people were having fun. People were enjoying themselves, eating in restaurants, dancing, singing, watching a soccer match. These are freedoms that we take for granted, of course, and we must not but they’re freedoms that we deserve. We work hard and we deserve to have fun, and there is no one in this world that should have the right to stop us from doing what we love.”
The sold-out crowd at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm clapped and cheered as Madonna spoke. But the 57-year-old singer seemingly hit a sour note midway through her remarks.
“Yes, there are people who have no respect for human life and there are people that do atrocious, degrading and unforgivable things to other human beings,” she said, “but we will never ever, ever change this world that we live in if we do not change ourselves, if we do not change the way that we treat one another on a daily basis.”
“Only love will change the world,” she added. “But it’s very hard to love unconditionally and it’s very hard to love that which we do not understand, or that which is different than we are. But we have to or this will go on and on forever.”
The singer’s later comments came under fire from some social media users and at least one editorial writer, who called her speech “well-intentioned,” but “misguided.”
“While in broad brushstrokes, there’s no argument that spreading love and treating one another with ‘dignity and respect’ will make for a better planet, but ISIS doesn’t play by those rules,” a writer for GossipCop wrote in an editorial. “ISIS detests our way of life. ISIS wants to wreak havoc on the Western world.”
“Does Madonna really think if we gave ISIS ‘love unconditionally’ they would no longer perpetrate horrific acts of violence? And can Madonna really ‘love unconditionally’ a group that beheads, throws over the sides of building, and stones to death men for being gay?”
At the conclusion of her speech, Madonna performed her 1989 classic “Like a Prayer”.
Madonna is currently on the European leg of her Rebel Heart tour. The singer is set to perform two shows in Paris on December 9 and 10.
Check out the complete video of Madonna’s speech and her performance of “Like a Prayer” above.