Sting sows mes­sage of em­pa­thy at an­niver­sary show

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

ROCK star Sting re­opened the Bat­a­clan over the week­end, the Paris concert hall where ji­hadists mas­sa­cred 90 peo­ple, with a hugely sym­bolic and emo­tional show to mark the first an­niver­sary of France’s blood­i­est ter­ror at­tack.

But in a sensational turn of events, the concert hall’s co-di­rec­tor said he had pre­vented two mem­bers of the US group Ea­gles of Death Metal, who were on stage when the blood­shed started on Novem­ber 13, 2015, from en­ter­ing.

“They came, I threw them out – there are things you can’t for­give,” Bat­a­clan co-di­rec­tor Jules Fru­tos told AFP, fu­ri­ous at Ea­gles front­man Jesse Hughes for his claims that some of the venue’s Mus­lim se­cu­rity men were com­plicit in the at­tack.

“He makes th­ese in­cred­i­bly false dec­la­ra­tions ev­ery two months. It is mad­ness, ac­cus­ing our se­cu­rity of be­ing com­plicit with the ter­ror­ists ... Enough. Zero. This has to stop,” Fru­tos added.

Hughes, a rare right-wing rocker and sup­porter of US pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, has also said with­out ev­i­dence that Mus­lims were cel­e­brat­ing out­side dur­ing the venue dur­ing the siege.

How­ever the band’s man­ager Marc Pol­lack de­nied mem­bers of the group had tried to en­ter the Bat­a­clan, telling Bill­board mag­a­zine: “Jesse did not even try to en­ter the room for the concert of Sting.”

In a brief email Pol­lack told AFP that the in­for­ma­tion was “false”, “no com­ment”.

Sting be­gan what had been billed as “the tough­est gig in rock” with a minute’s si­lence for the 130 peo­ple who lost their lives in a night of Is­lamic State gun and bomb at­tacks across the French cap­i­tal.

The Bri­tish singer – who spoke French through­out the gig – told the crowd that “We will not for­get them” be­fore launch­ing into a set that walked a per­fect line be­tween cel­e­bra­tion and re­flec­tion.

“Tonight we have two tasks to achieve,” he said. “First to re­mem­ber those who lost their lives in the at­tack, and then to cel­e­brate life and mu­sic in this his­toric place.”

Many in the crowd wept dur­ing the first song, “Frag­ile”, as Sting sang “Noth­ing comes from vi­o­lence and noth­ing ever could”, but the singer then got the place on its feet clap­ping and stamp­ing with “Mes­sage In a Bot­tle”.

“I’ll send an SOS to the world,” he sang. “Only hope can keep us alive.”

Scores of sur­vivors of the Bat­a­clan as­sault at­tended the packed concert, the dom­i­nant event in a week­end of oth­er­wise low-key com­mem­o­ra­tions.

Among them was Aure­lien, in his 30s, de­ter­mined to have a good night de­spite the pain of re­turn­ing to the scene of so much horror.

“It’s the first time I’ve been in a pub­lic space for a year. I haven’t been to the cin­ema, to a concert. I get my shop­ping de­liv­ered,” he said.

“Tonight I’m tak­ing my life back like it was be­fore. It’s a duty, there’s an obli­ga­tion to be here – be­cause there are 90 peo­ple who can’t come any­more,” he added, vis­i­bly moved, his hands trem­bling.

More than 250 sur­vivors and vic­tims’ fam­i­lies at­tended the concert.

Photo: AFP

Bri­tish mu­si­cian Sting (right) and French-Libano mu­si­cian Ibrahim Maalouf (left) per­form dur­ing the re­open­ing concert of the Bat­a­clan in Paris to mark the first an­niver­sary of the Novem­ber 13, 2015, Paris at­tacks.

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