Less than a month after the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, one of the targeted sites is bravely ready to move forward. Of the six locations attacked, the Bataclan concert hall saw the most violence and highest number of casualties. Three gunmen entered the venue and opened fire into the crowd of roughly 1,500, killing 89 people, including several staff members. After such a traumatic, nightmarish episode, it would be understandable for the venue to close permanently, but reflecting the resilient spirit of the French, its owners are doing no such thing. So when will the Bataclan concert hall reopen? It could happen as early as next year.
Two of the club's owners, Olivier Poubelle and Jules Frutos, discussed the Bataclan's next steps with French newspaper Le Figaro, announcing that it would reopen by the end of 2016. They acknowledged that it will be a "long road" as the interior of the club gets redesigned and rebuilt in the interim. Another message the owners were keen to convey is that, even though "no carnage of this magnitude has occurred in another music hall in the world," as Poubelle noted, the best way for their beloved venue to heal is for it to resume its normal activities.
Frutos told the paper (as translated by NBC News):
The Bataclan should not be a mausoleum or a place of pilgrimage... We are dead for the moment. But we need life. It’s vital that the doors reopen.
Frutos also recounted some of the horrific details from the night of the attack, when several of their colleagues and staff members were killed. Two of their colleagues, a lighting technician and a press contact, were not working, just enjoying the Eagles of Death Metal Concert, when they were killed. And two security guards died trying to protect the concertgoers. The owners relayed to the newspaper (as translated by Google Translate):
The two security guards at the entrance saved lives: they understood what was happening when they heard the gunshots in the bar adjacent to the hall. They were in the lobby and did not flee, rushed inside when the concert began, opened the emergency exits, and yelled at everyone to get out. Then they returned to the room. They stayed security officials to the end.
Though Frutos and Poubelle are devastated by the deaths of the concertgoers, what they don't appreciate is how the victims are being labeled. Poubelle explained:
When I hear here and there that a generation Bataclan was mowed, it corresponds to nothing. It is even shameless, like any slogan in those moments. There are different profiles, different ages, 17 nationalities among the victims.
Noting that the 11th arrondissement, where the Bataclan is located, is one of the most diverse districts in Paris, Poubelle added:
Here we fight to live together … but the terrorists have chosen this area, not for these reasons, but to kill as many people as possible. Beware of simplistic analyses.
Also defying the fear the terrorists hoped to create, the Eagles of Death Metal, whose members all fortunately survived the attack, have told VICE that they want to be the first band to play the Bataclan when it reopens. Frontman Jesse Hughes said:
Our friends went there to see rock and roll and died. I want to go back there and live.