Five years after the attacks on the Bataclan Hall and other points in Paris, France on Friday soberly paid tribute to its 130 victims, at a time when the country is still on alert for recent terrorist attacks.
The 2015 deadly wave began at the Stade de France, where three kamikazes committed suicide with explosive vests shortly after the start of a friendly between the National Football Teams of Germany and France and killed one person.
Another Islamist commando took over by shooting at several bars and terraces in the center of the capital, wreaking havoc that reached hell in the Bataclan concert hall, where the American group Eagles of Death Metal was performing and 90 people were killed.
The ceremony he paid tribute to the victims today, restricted by the health measures imposed to control the coronavirus pandemic, followed that same path.
The prime minister, Jean Castex, and the Parisian mayor, Anne Hidalgo, headed a committee that also featured representatives of the Life for Paris and 13once15 Fraternity and Truth associations, which bring together survivors and relatives of the deceased.
At each point, between a strong security device and without official speeches, the same ritual: the reading of the names of those affected in that place, the delivery of bouquets of flowers in his honor before the plates installed in his memory and the respect of a minute’s silence.
«Fluctuat nec mergitur», had written before its beginning Castex on Twitter in reference to the motto of the coat of arms of Paris («Beat by the waves, but not sunk») which became popular in 2015 as a symbol of the resilience of the city and its inhabitants to what happened.
If the pandemic had not prevented it, Spain’s Cristina Garrido would have traveled to Paris to participate, as every year, in the tribute. His son, Juan Alberto González, was one of Bataclan’s mortals.
«It doesn’t matter if it’s November 13th than 2nd 4th. The emptiness is terrible every day, although the 13th is even harder. You never expect life to take away the most valuable thing from you in this cruel way. You don’t recover from that,» he explains to Efe on the phone.
Former Socialist President Francois Hollande, French’s head of state at the time of these attacks, said on Friday at France Inter that what happened had both an individual and collective impact.
«A country also has psychological aftermath. There were first 130 fatalities and 400 wounded, but the notion of lasting peace was also lost that we were protected from everything. We felt it was a terrorism that had come to stay,» he said.
TRIAL IN 2021
The trial is scheduled for 2021. 20 people will be tried, including Salah Abdeslam, the only terrorist who survived these jihadist attacks and who fled Paris that night without activating his explosive vest.
Had it not been for the pandemic, this fifth anniversary would have coincided with the verdict of another major French terrorist process, the one focused on the January 2015 attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a Jewish supermarket in Paris and a police officer, in which 17 people were killed.
The trial began on September 2, but the detection of several coronavirus cases among the ten defendants forced him to be interrupted in early November and, as indicated today by the National Counter-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office, will resume next Monday.
A process that comes at a time when France has been rocked again by several attacks: from the beheading of a teacher on 16 October after showing caricatures of Muhammad in class, to the subsequent attack on a nice church that killed three people.
Testimony of the sister of one of the victims
Video via Youtube Association Victims of Terrorism