PARIS — It was just a Friday night at a rock show, a survivor of the Paris attacks recalls — but then the massacre began.
Now, 22-year-old Isobel Bowdery, from Cape Town, South Africa, is sharing her terrifying account of how she survived the shootings at the Bataclan music venue where over 80 people were slaughtered by terrorists.
The rampage was just one of several throughout the city of Paris where over 100 people lost their lives.
you never think it will happen to you. It was just a friday night at a rock show. the atmosphere was so happy and everyone was dancing and smiling. and then when the men came through the front entrance and began the shooting, we naiively believed it was all part of the show. It wasn’t just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre. Dozens of people were shot right infront of me. Pools of blood filled the floor. Cries of grown men who held their girlfriends dead bodies pierced the small music venue. Futures demolished, families heartbroken. in an instant.
So she did the only thing she could think of — she pretended to be dead.
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.
Bowdery continues with describing what she saw inside the venue — something she says she keeps hoping will be only a nightmare and not reality.
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.
Then she sheds light on the heroes of the night — the strangers who comforted each other and the friend who bought her new clothes she wouldn’t have to continue wearing her bloody shirt.
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 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, to the woman who opened her doors to the survivors, to the friend who offered me shelter and went out to buy new clothes so i wouldnt have to wear this blood stained top, to all of you who have sent caring messages of support – you make me believe this world has the potential to be better.
Bowdery concludes with a heart-wrenching apology to the ones whose loved ones didn’t survive. And how they will never be forgotten.
I am so sorry. There’s nothing that will fix the pain. I feel privileged to be there for their last breaths. And truly beliving that I would join them, I promise that their last thoughts were not on the animals who caused all this. It was thinking of the people they loved. As i lay down in the blood of strangers and waiting for my bullet to end my mere 22 years, I envisioned every face that I have ever loved and whispered I love you. over and over again. reflecting on the highlights of my life. Wishing that those i love knew just how much, wishing that they knew that no matter what happened to me, to keep belieivng in the good in people. to not let those men win. Last night, the lives of many were forever changed and it is up to us to be better people. to live lives that the innocent victims of this tragedy dreamt about but sadly will now never be able to fulfil. RIP angels. You will never be forgotten.
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