Le Bataclan, one of the six sites desecrated by terrorists last Friday night during the Paris attacks, is set to reopen, according to its manager. The act of reopening the venue soon after the attacks, manager Dominique Revert believes, will send a strong message to terrorists that people are not ready to bow down in the face of attempts by terrorists to induce fear into people.
An estimated 89 people died at Le Bataclan during a concert by American band Eagles of Death Metal on Friday, making it the worst affected site in Paris. Two gunmen, carrying Kalashnikov rifles and wielding grenades, stormed into the popular music venue, located at Boulevard Voltaire in the cosmopolitan 11th arrondissement of the city, and began firing at innocent victims before finally being taken down by the French police. The ordeal lasted a little less than an hour, but the sheer brutality of the killings meant that people were not keen to visit the venue in the aftermath of the attacks.
However, in an interview with Billboard, Le Bataclan’s co-manager, Dominique Revert, refused to back down in the face of terrorism, promising that the venue will “reopen without a doubt.”
“Hearts will be heavy for a few months, a few years. But we will reopen. We will not surrender.”
In the aftermath of the tragedy, administrators at Le Bataclan released a statement on their official site, promising even then that the venue will reopen once the circumstances were conducive enough. The full statement reads as follows.
“No words can express the magnitude of our grief. Our thoughts are with the victims, the injured and their families. You are likely to want to come together and pay your respects at the Bataclan, but unfortunately the authorities still need to work on site. We will inform you when it will be possible to gather in front of the venue.”
Thousands of people congregated near the site of the tragedy throughout the weekend, paying homage to the 89 people who lost their lives at Le Bataclan. The mood was that of intense grief and mourning, but even music lovers refused to be intimidated by the brutal acts perpetrated by the terrorists.
David Guetta, a one-time resident DJ at Le Bataclan, said the venue always reminds him of music and sharing.
“The Bataclan has always been for me a place of music, sharing and joy. I never would have imagined that it would become the place of such a tragedy,” he wrote on Facebook.
Since 1864, Le Bataclan has stood tall, according to the Hollywood Reporter, as a popular music destination for Parisians. The venue has remained a favorite of concertgoers as much for its brightly colored facade and chinoiserie-style features as for its welcoming atmosphere and eclectic booking policies.
From 1926 to the late 1960s, Le Bataclan operated as a cinema before being converted into a live music venue in 1972, thanks to Velvet Underground members Lou Reed, John Cale, and their German collaborator Nico.
Maxime de Abreu, a music journalist from Paris, said the choice of Le Bataclan by terrorists as a potential site for shootings may have arisen because of the fact that it lies at the heart of the Parisian cultural scene. To attack Le Bataclan, then, is synonymous with attacking French culture.
“My father used to go when he was my age. He’d drive all the way from the suburbs just to go to the disco there. The place is like family. Everyone in France is hurt by this.”
And though it was feared that Le Bataclan will now be remembered for the tragic events that took place there last Friday, its administrators have confirmed that the site will not fall prey to hatred or bigotry and will continue on its path of spreading love and, more importantly, the language of music.
Eagles of Death Metal, the California band which was playing on stage when the attacks at Le Bataclan occurred, also released a statement, saying that music will always emerge victorious when challenged by terrorism.
“Although bonded in grief with the victims, the fans, the families, the citizens of Paris, and all those affected by terrorism, we are proud to stand together, with our new family, now united by a common goal of love and compassion.”
Though it might still take a while for Le Bataclan to be the place it used to be, the fact that it will reopen will at least go some way in healing some of our grieving hearts.
[Photo via David Ramos/Getty Images]