“Shocked and alone, I pretended to be dead for over an hour, lying among people who could see their loved ones motionless. Holding my breath, trying to not move, not cry – not giving those men the fear they longed to see. I was incredibly lucky to survive. But so many didn’t. The people who had been there for the exact same reasons as I – to have a fun Friday night were innocent. This world is cruel. And acts like this are supposed to highlight the depravity of humans and the images of those men circling us like vultures will haunt me for the rest of my life. The way they meticulously aimed at shot people around the standing area I was in the centre of without any consideration for human life. It didn’t feel real. I expected any moment for someone to say it was just a nightmare.”
From Isobel Bowdery’s heart-wrenching account of surviving the Paris attacks.
In the midst of pointless tragedy brought on innocents by the worst of humans, there was humanity. There always is.
“But being a survivor of this horror lets me able to shed light on the heroes. To the man who reassured me and put his life on the line to try and cover my brain whilst I whimpered, to the couple whose last words of love kept me believing the good in the world, to the police who succeeded in rescuing hundreds of people, to the complete strangers who picked me up from the road and consoled me during the 45 minutes I truly believed the boy I loved was dead, to the injured man who I had mistaken for him and then on my recognition that he was not Amaury, held me and told me everything was going to be fine despite being all alone and scared himself.”
There’s no easy answer to the sort of depravity that leads to these despicable acts of terror. I’ll always choose peace and love over war and hate, when that choice is available. I don’t know what can be done to bring people together, and reverse the divisive trend driven by religious zealots on all sides. But I know one thing- people have fucked with France and the United States before. It never worked out for them before, and it won’t this time either.