‘We kill innocent people’: Bataclan survivor says Paris horror made him rethink West’s actions
Pierre Janaszak, a TV and radio presenter, went to the Bataclan with his sister on that fateful Friday evening. He says he just wanted to make her happy because she is a huge fan of “The Eagles of Death Metal,” the US band that was performing in the Paris theater on November 13.
Pierre was on the left side of the balcony in front of the stage – drinking beer and having fun. When he first heard the shooting, about 50 minutes into the gig, he thought it was “part of the show.”
All of a sudden, a woman who was in charge of the lighting for the show turned the lights on. The gunman shot at her and she fell down. Pierre says the woman turned the lights on purpose to ensure that the concertgoers knew they were under attack from terrorists.
“She’s a hero for me,” Pierre told RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze in an interview, adding that the woman was killed.
Then there was panic.
“I saw, one guy with this gun – don’t know if it was a Kalashnikov, it was so huge, and was doing like this — [imitates act of shooting] just on everybody,” Pierre recalled.
“They were at the main entrance and the security, because they were there to kill everybody, so you can’t go over there, and everybody was just shouting like, ‘Don’t go this way, don’t go this way,’ they were just shooting, you could hear the guns.”
Pierre says that everybody was scared to the point that initially no voices could be heard, no sounds, nothing. People just tried to escape.
“Because, if someone wanted to go [run] away, even if terrorist wasn’t in the room – they hear someone moving, ‘boom’, they kill them. I’ve got a lot of friends [lying] just on the floor, with the bodies on them, and with the blood everywhere, like they’re in an Apocalyptic film - something you can’t believe it’s possible.”Pierre says he eventually lost track of time. “You know, you don’t think about the time. One minute can be 10 minutes or one second – you don’t understand...."
“I just ran. I ran, under the chairs, just there, you know, it’s impossible, nobody can do that, but we just do that. I took my sister, because I wanted to protect her, I said ‘Come on, come on, we have to run.’”
Pierre says he is haunted by the memories of the nightmare unfolding right before his eyes, and suspects that those who were forced to play dead amidst the pile of corpses have been completely psychologically broken.
“We were just like three hundred, running, and you walk on everybody, you don’t care about anybody,” the survivor of the Bataclan attack said.
“There was a pregnant woman – I remember that – and everybody was just running [over] her... And everybody was just scared. This was the Apocalypse, everybody was just saying: “No, no, no, down!”, and you hear this sound of the guns, they were closer and closer, so you don’t know where to go.”
The young man then lost his sister in the ensuing chaos, as the crowd ran for the narrow exit with stairs leading to the musicians’ changing room. He didn’t know if she was dead or alive until they were reunited after siege had ended. But before that he had to go through a horrifying ordeal, hiding just a wall away from terrorists with a few other people in the toilet.
At one point the terrorists spoke to three hostages – including one woman, who couldn’t stop crying.
“Why are you crying? Why are you crying?” the jihadists asked.
“Because I’m scared.”
“You don’t have to be scared, you will be dead in few minutes, so don’t worry.”
“This is horrible. Because, what can you do?” Pierre recalls, adding that the girl instantly stopped sobbing. The terrorist said: “It’s because of Francois Hollande, because he attacks our countries.”
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Pierre says that despite his disgust for the terrorists’ actions, the Bataclan attack made him reassess certain things about his country’s foreign policies, and realize that the ‘collateral damage’ in far-away military campaigns is made up of real, ordinary people being killed.
“I want to say something really horrible, and, again, my thoughts go to the families of the victims, but our governments are just doing what they think it’s good, but they kill innocent people – that’s true, and we know that it is sad, but we don’t think about that, we just think about ourselves. So… Yes. He’s right. That’s not an excuse or something, I hate them, and I don’t want to say good things about them, but those words are true, we kill innocent people all the time, because we just care about things that we think that they are good, like Western way of life. Everybody can live like they want, if they respect each other – that’s all.”
Does he think another attack could happen again?
“Oh yeah, of course. Before, when I was outside, I’m not going to lie, if I was with someone wearing maybe the typical radical Muslim thing with beard like this – before, I was scared, because of the judgment. I said: ‘He may be like them.’ And this is the beginning of the end. The judgment is the beginning of the end.”
But according to Pierre, there is a way out of this vicious circle of hatred.
“I don’t have to do that, I’m not a monster, I’m not going to play the same game that Islamists do. I’m going to say to everybody that I love them … I’m sure if you’re so positive and all those things – you can give an energy, good vibration to everybody. I’m sure it can be something good, and I’m sure we can change a world like this.”