I would like to start by saying that attacks by ISIS have been happening all across the non-western world in the last few months in places such as Lebanon and Syria. All killing is terrible, all the innocent lives lost at the hands of this organization is abhorrent and it is a shame that some deem the killing of certain people as less terrible than the killing of others.
That said, the attacks on Paris in particular have shook me to my core for a startling number of reasons;
1) As a person living in Britain, the geographical proximity of these attacks has left me incredibly shocked, it really hits home.
2) One of my very close friends has just returned from a year abroad in Paris. I visited her, she is an avid music fan and attended rock concerts whilst living there.
3) Only 4 months ago, I actually attended an Eagles of Death Metal concert (the band who were playing at Le Bataclan when the shooting started), not in France but neighbouring country Germany.
4) France was not at war, and as much as I try to keep up with contemporary affairs, this attack, to me and I’m sure to many, seemed completely out of the blue.
Nearly two weeks have gone by since it happened and I cannot stop going over the sheer horror of it in my head. As I think about those innocent lives that were taken, what strikes me most deeply is the fact that someone, somewhere had CHOSEN for it to be at a rock concert.
Going to gigs, concerts and music festivals is one of the things in life that I enjoy the most. The atmosphere and feeling of community is like no other experience. It comes with such a sense of vulnerability, being in a crowd packed with thousands of people, flashing lights, darkness, loud noises – it must have been incredibly difficult to identify shots being fired at first or where they were even coming from. I cannot begin to contemplate the chaos of an event that is supposed to be an entirely enjoyable pursuit of pleasure.
Rock concerts are a communal celebration of freedom of artistic expression, something that many societies past and present, have been denied and a part of western culture that ISIS see as detestable, even worthy of attacking. A music concert is sacred, the only sacred space that many music fans have.
As musicians began to take to the likes of Twitter to express their thoughts and prayers, it seems they share the horror of this blatant attack on music.
Lzzy Hale: ‘I play these venues,I know these people,the fans, the crew, the photographers, the journalists.It’s an attack on my world.’
‘My love&sympathies to all the victims&the victims families in Paris.ARock show should be a haven,a church.This tragedy is close to my heart.’
Eric Bass: ‘It also hits extra hard for me, because those were just fans at a rock show. Faces we see every night out here. I’m just heartbroken.’
As Bono stated a few days after the massacre, this is the ‘first direct attack on music’. People enjoying a rock concert are not political or offensive, they are innocent and completely unsuspecting.
The attacks have also forced many artists such as the Foo Fighters, Prince, U2 and most recently Five Finger Death Punch, to cancel not only shows but whole European tours. The precaution is obviously worthwhile, but at the same time awful, that this group of terrorists have been given this power over music.