“If I’m alive, it’s because the bullet crossed many dead bodies in front of me”: Bataclan survivors tell of Paris attacks

"Si je suis vivante, c'est parce la balle a traversé plusieurs corps avant moi" : des rescapés du Bataclan racontent les attentats de Paris

Many of the accused, including Vanessa, Karina, Loik, Robert, Naima or even Siham, “half Moroccan, half French” such as Salah Abdeslam, have since led to the attacks that have killed 130 people in Paris and Saint-Denis. He remembered his troubled life. 13 November 2015.

Unusually in a trial, many civil parties (more than 2,400 in total), victims or relatives of victims of the attacks have the right to speak again this week before their lawyers’ arguments begin on Monday. The civil side who wanted it already had the opportunity to speak on top of this extraordinary trial in October.

The first to intervene, 33-year-old Vanessa, her voice trembling, denies her the evening of the attacks and not long after. “It’s okay, it’s okay,” she repeats to herself, “like a chant” as the bullets surround her.

“I did the kids’ technique when they were scared: waiting every minute for the next one that it would be the last,” she says. “That’s how I walked for four and a half hours”, when the police neutralized the attackers of Bataclan … Over the next five years Vanessa “pretended that everything was fine.”

“And then one day, I couldn’t sleep. Not a second more. No more rest (…) With fatigue, I began to think less and less that everything was fine,” she said, crying.

Orphaned forever by a carefree Vanessa before November 13, the young woman says the opportunity to testify in court has opened up “a space for humanity”.

French-speaking American Karina has a suffocating voice when she remembers the strange voice she heard from the “little closet” where she was hiding at the start of the attack. “I thought it was music and then I realized it was the lamentation of people who died.”

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Kareena survived. “I survived,” she says. Except that “the next day, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress. My 5 year old son just took off a toy that clicked. And I was so scared. And it’s been like that ever since”.

Her children “absorbed” their mother’s stress. “It’s always difficult for my kids. And it breaks my heart.”

Testimony continues and it appears that the suffering that poisoned the lives of the victims continues six years after the attacks. Often survivors have a sense of guilt. “If my knee didn’t explode when I was shot, it was because it passed several bodies in front of me,” Emmanuel said. “I don’t understand why we are miraculous and there are people we leave behind,” said Cyprian, listening to several friends so as not to budge.

“After the attacks, there was a kind of injunction not to hate. Not to stop. And in the beginning, I told myself I was very happy with it. But actually, yes, I hate,” said Francois , turn to the dock.

“I hate. And I’m not ashamed of it. It’s normal. I hate the people who took all those lives, destroyed so many others and tried to take others including mine There is still a deep anger inside me”.

Naïma, who was only 16 on 13 November, also addresses the defendants. “What are you going to remember from all this, you accuser, you the one whose eyes I gaze at the most?”. No one leaned into the box.

“I’m on the wire, sometimes the wire gets twisted, sometimes the wire gets loose”, says Naeema, all weak and trembling.

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“I work every day to stand peacefully on this thread for life with those I am in love with,” she said, moving in tears.


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