I could call Stephane my brother. So many years we know each other. He is part of our family. He is the Godfather of my sister's son. He can call any time of day and night, we are here for each other. But life made us busy, more busy, and then so far apart since I moved in America. He was inside the Bataclan when the Attack happened. He needed to write about it. He asked me to translate it. Since that night I can't sleep either, and I just want to show him and the rest of my people how much I love them. Music is my life, so this is how I tried to show my love, my support and compassion. I did a show few days after and had to sing for him that night. Bellow is his "Open letter", I translated the best I could, with my heart.
My name is Stephane
I am 36.
Chloe and me had something to celebrate A project we had together that was finally coming to life, something about our careers, and it was after many months of waiting.
Our friend Alix got discount tickets for a concert at the Bataclan. That friday.
There were 5 of us. Chloe, Alix, David, Guillaume and me.
We first met at the Aperock, just next to the venue. Great place, nice music, all our friends are here.
We laugh, we celebrate, we smile, we hug, a nice start for a nice night and a nice week end.
Time is flying , its already 9pm. The “Eagles of Death Metal” concert is about to start.
I put my helmet at the coat check while the others present our tickets at the entrance.
Lots of noise, lots of people, lots of laughs. An empty stage for now just waiting to get animated.
The girls really want to party a lot and choose to go in the orchestra pit. We choose to stay seated at the balcony where we can have a great view on the stage.
Guillaume decides to go and get us some drinks.
The lights turn down, the crowd screams to express its happiness, the show is about to start.
40 min of great music, Rock, crazy , lots of clapping, lots of exchanges between the artists and the crowd.
My friend and I are drinking to this wonderful night. We want to remember it so we do a Selfie.A few rows further on our right, a beautiful woman is dancing, she is really gorgeous, she is so happy to be here, and we think that one of us should offer her a drink.
We'll keep that for later cuz for now the band begins the song “kiss the Devil”. The pit is screaming , the balcony is shouting too, so much fun, so much happiness.
Then the music stops. Fire crackers have replaced the sound of instruments,screams of terror have replaced the singer's voice.
“Whats going on?” is asking one guy in the audience.
“Maybe a joke planned by the band? They are probably coming back on stage soon” answered his friend
We stay seated, thinking the same.
Then we hear a second series of shots after a short break. We can smell it. But the smell is not only the fire cracker smell, it is mixed with something else. Blood.
I turn to David and Guillaume, we know now that it is not a joke. People are dying just underneath us.
“Chloe? Alix? Shit !!!! I don't wanna die like this! I don't wanna die now! We have to get out!”
I see Guillaume next to the Balcony door which leads to a hallway and stairs to the Restrooms. As I can't see David, I think that he might have gone in the same direction. Guillaume waves at me to follow him. The survival instinct helps me step over the people hiding under their seats while some are shot right there and fall down in the pit.
I finally walk through the door to join Guillaume. He looks confident. I feel safe.
Hallways and stairs are full of people. Everyone is talking about what is happening. People are on the phone to try to find answers, others are watching through the windows what is happening outside.
We try to stay calm, I am calm. So is Guillaume. But we find a girl, totally petrified, standing at the top of the stairs. She can't breath. I stop by a minute to help her and calm her, by telling her everything is gonna be fine, that she shouldn't be scared. I try to comfort her and myself at the same time, convinced that all of this is impossible.
Guillaume goes back into the main room, maybe to find David who is not with us. I get closer and look through the door windows, I see them, they are hiding behind a row of seats. David sees me. He beckons me to stoop. I do so and half open the door .David beckons me to leave. The door closes behind me. In the hallway the fear of death is very present, a movement of panic has started. Someone is coming and I guess is scary enough to make me think I should leave. I have to leave and quick.
I run down the stairs as fast as I can, and I stop in front of an emergency exit door. It's closed. We are scared to open it. What if someone is behind it, waiting for us? Is it a trap?
A young man takes the risk and opens it. We run out, all together. Bullets are flying. I can hear them. Bodies are falling on the pavement. Blood everywhere.
I am still running. I am still alive, I am almost at the end of the street.
Why didn't I got shot? Why didn't I have the same destiny as the people who went out by the same door? At the same time? Why is it not my blood that is on the pavement? I am still running. I turn right, I keep running . I see a Chinese restaurant. I run there . This is it. It's gonna be my refuge.
I enter inside the restaurant, my phone is in my hand. I am shaking.
“Chloe? Are you alive? Are you outside?”
“Yes! I am so scared! Steph, where are you?”
“Chloe! Run as far as you can, find a place to hide! A restaurant, a bar, a Bistrot, a hotel, anything but go there, hide and call me back!”
Chloe is alive. Such a relief. What about the others?
Guillaume and David stay unreachable. Guillaume's phone is ringing without any answer, and Alix and David's goes straight to the voice mail. God I hope they are still alive!
I call my parents to tell them I am ok before they learn about the attack on TV. We agree that I will call them every 15 min. They are terrorized.
Little by little more information spreads around. From inside, we hear about the attack at the Stade de France, at the Petit Cambodge. This incident is not isolated. They are a lot of them , they are everywhere. From outside, our friends are trying to reach us, phones keep ringing, everyone is terrified.
1.30hour without hearing from our friends . Alix is lucky to be part of the first group of people that are evacuated, hands on their head, in line.
"Oh my god she is alive!!!"
I receive another text among hundreds others...... it's from Guillaume!!!
“We are locked in a a sort of cellar, they are just behind the door”
“Are you still at the Venue? Are you with David?”
“No I am with other people, without David, at the Bataclan”
“Stay strong Bro, we hear the Police is around from where we are, they are gonna be there soon!”
I have to tell the others to stop calling his phone, Thank you Facebook!
I am gonna be soon out of battery and nothing is over yet, my motorcycle is just in Front of the Bataclan, and I only know where Chloe is. I need to go and get her.. I can't stay without her in such a tragedy, we became two helpless spectators like lots of others.
“Dad? Mom? I am getting out of the Restaurant, I need to find Chloe, don't worry, and please don't come here to get me, I call you when I am with her”
I cross the Boulevard Beaumarchais, without even noticing that a shooting happened there too. I arrive safely at the Bar where chloe is hiding. We are so happy to see each other. Tears of happiness and tears of terror flow on our cheeks.
But the waiting is not over, neither is the terror.
We stay without hearing from our friends during 2,30 hours. Without knowing if they are alive. Or dead.
The first good news reach us at 2 am. Alix tells us David is alive. He got out. He couldn't hide, he was kept as hostage till the Raid's assault.
The customers inside the bar read on our face the relief, they hug us, they comfort us.
Few minutes later, we learn Guillaume is alive and unharmed. He is out.
By some miracle, we are all alive, separated in two groups, but alive, and unharmed.
Since that night, I can't sleep, and I needed to share this story, to tell everyone what happened.
But I needed to give a message that I hope will be heard.
I don't have any words that are strong enough to describe what I feel for these animals who killed in cold blood so many people. And as you all probably do, I watch, ever since that night all the News.
I learn one more time that those people were being watched by our Intelligence Services.
I learn another time they were expecting this attack, that they had received threats. And just like you, do I ask myself :
“How is this possible? How could 8 people watched by the Intelligence Service organize such a Big Attack without being caught? How is it possible not to have known ,and then attack a strategic point of the Daesh Development one day later!!!!?”
Anyone is free to think whatever he wants, and for those who know me, whatever political side you are on, I have no admiration, no hope about those people.
But today, in spite of my resentment, I have decided to support our Government. I decided not to show my anger against our leaders, even if I can see clear through their game.
Because it is precisely what they are trying to do. Makes us stand against each other. That's what they did in Irak, and I don't want this to happen in France.
If we don't want to see France fall into their hands, we need to ignore Anger, support our France, her actions, till the real responsible can be punished without harming our security.
Because one day, finally, I want to tell them “Fuck ”
My thoughts go to the families that were not as lucky as we were.
We are sincerely with you.
To you, my friends, my family....sometimes we need a tragedy to realize how much we love you.
I love you. Deeply.
Thank you for reading me. Thank you for your support.