On Tuesday night of this week, I went along with my girlfriend to see Eagles of Death Metal in the Olympia Theatre in Dublin’s city centre. It was my fourth time to see them, so I had a fair idea of what I was in for. Even so, I wasn’t expecting it to be as magnificent as it was. The band loved us, and we loved them. There were regular chants of “Jesse! Jesse! Jesse!” in between songs, with each track receiving rapturous applause. For his part, lead singer Jesse Hughes was visibly emotional; he seemed almost moved to tears after walking back on stage for the bands encore. He pointed out that being a singer in a rock and roll band is the best job in the world, and that, in reference to the show, we were all in it together, much to the enthusiasm and adulation of the crowd.
So on that very Friday, when news began to surface of a series of horrendous attacks around Paris, one of which was at an Eagles of Death Metal gig the the Bataclan Theatre, I was positively horrified. I can imagine the sort of people that were in attendance at the concert. Teens and 20 and 30 somethings out on a Friday night to enjoy some light hearted rock music. What should have happened is that it should have built to a crescendo similar to the Dublin show, where it essentially ended in a love-fest between the band and their audience. But tragically, frighteningly, the concert was interrupted by 3 men clad in black armed with guns and explosives, who began to open fire on the attendees of the venue. Between this heinous attack and the six mass shootings and three suicide bombings across Paris, the death toll reportedly stands at 129, with 89 of these victims at the Bataclan Theatre. By now, terrorist group ISIS has claimed responsibility, in retaliatiation for France’s bombing of Syria and Iraq
Now, I do realise that on the very same day, there were further horrendous atrocities committed in both Lebanon and Baghdad, but something about the Parisian attack hit closer to home for me. I’ve gone to concerts literally hundreds of times since I was 13. The fact that there are people in the world who can so callously dispose of human life is positively heartbreaking. Human life which bears no relationship to whatever fucked up ideology ISIS is trying to inflict upon the world.
Meanwhile, on social media, the paranoid and ignorant among us have been quick to blame Muslims as a whole, forgetting that there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. If all 1.6 billion Muslims were terrorists at heart, we would all be well and truly fucked.
Then there are those who are assuming that the atrocities were committed by refugees, with several counter posts pointing out that the likes of ISIS are the very sort of lunatics that refugees are in fact trying to escape from. There is now also a campaign to get Eagles of Death Metal’s cover of “Save a Prayer” by Duran Duran to Number 1 in the UK. Personally, I quite like the idea, although the majority of people’s comments under NME’s article on the matter are insisting that it’s a shit one. And of course there’s that contingent of people who insist on telling you that “The band themselves would hate this.” Thank Christ Andy from Facebook is there to let us know the Eagles of Death Metal’s inner most thoughts. Still, if you don’t agree with the idea of the campaign (and I can genuinely see your point if you don’t, given that there’s no way of knowing whether or not anyone receiving royalties will donate them to charity as a goodwill gesture) then why not donate to the French Red Cross here, or another charity of your choice. Or even if you do support the campaign, why not donate anyway?
As for the future, all we can hope for is tighter boarder security in a bid to prevent any further tragedies of this nature. One thing is certain though, we should never be afraid to leave our homes, go to work, go to a restaurant, go shopping, go to a funeral or go to a concert. Ever. Fuck terrorism. What the world needs now, is Peace, Love and Death Metal.