IT’S BEEN quite a week for the media following the Paris attacks. The Bataclan Concert Hall massacre, in which some 89 fans of California rock band, the Eagles of Death Metal (EODM), were gunned down by armed assailants, linked with a Syrian religious group, has sent shock waves around the globe.
Christian Pastor Steven Anderson spent part of his sermon on Sunday, telling his congregation that, “while he doesn’t condone the actions of the Paris attackers, the concert-goers at the Bataclan theatre, who were there to listen to EODM “had it coming”.
These views were echoed by local Muslim theologian Farid Esack, who said the attacks were part of the logic of Western cultural Imperialism that “kills hundreds of thousands every year”. He also added: “I am not praying for Paris; I am not condemning anyone. Why the hell should I? I had nothing to do with it,” and rejected such calls as “Islamophobic”.
What escaped the sermons and homilies issued by religious representatives, politicians and commentators, is that the music industry “had taken a direct hit” as U2 frontman Bono put it.
“These are our people. This could be me at a show, you at a show, in that venue. It’s a very recognizable situation for you and for me and the coldblooded aspect of this slaughter is deeply disturbing and that’s what I can’t get out of my head.”
Among those killed during the Friday’s tragic terrorist attacks in Paris were several members of the music industry, all of whom were attending the sold-out EODM concert at Le Bataclan when it was attacked. While all the musicians in EODM escaped unharmed, “others in attendance, including some who worked for the band and the band’s parent label, were less fortunate”.
“If you in a war of culture and lifestyle with France, good luck, go ahead, bring your bankrupt ideology, they will bring Jean Paul Satre, Edith Piaf, Fine Wine, Gauloise Cigarettes, Camus, Camembert, Madeleines, Macarones, Marcel Proust and the Croquembouche. (A pastry dessert). You just brought a philosophy of rigorous self-abnegation to a pastry fight my friend,” ranted John Oliver on HBO.
The tragic error of a Muslim fundamentalist group who obviously thought EODM were a heavy metal ‘abomination’, same way Pork Eating Cambodians are an ‘abomination’ to certain clerics, and well, a friendly soccer match between Germany and France, is just plain ‘blasphemy’, didn’t seem to rate in local media. As it turned out, EODM are a progressive rock band, with a number of hits at the top of the iTunes charts, and the part about the death metal is all just a stage joke.
Which reminds me of a local act, The Genuines, who during the dark days of apartheid, used to play metal, and still joke about it.
The nuances of music appreciation, and inside jokes about musical genres appears to have been lost on those with an axe to grind. According to Le Figero, the Bataclan have been on the radar for terrorists as early as 2007, this because its organizers hosted a concert in support of Israel in 2011.
A French terrorist with ties to a Gaza Strip-based group, the Army of Islam, allegedly confessed to planning an attack against the Bataclan because “the owners are Jews.” ISIL has taken responsibility for the latest attacks.