A second survivor of the terrorist attack which took place during an Eagles Of Death Metal concert in Paris last year has criticised the band’s frontman, Jesse Hughes (pictured), for calling into question France’s gun laws and accusing security guards at Paris’ Bataclan Theatre of supporting terrorist groups.
In an open letter addressed to Hughes and published by The Guardian, Bataclan attack survivor Ismael El Iraki calls the rocker “a spreader of hate”, and says that while he loves EODM’s music, he believes Hughes has made “racist, hateful comments” since the Paris attacks.
El Iraki writes, “I love your music, your concerts mostly (such fun, wild shows) and man, I never thought that you would become one of those spreaders of fear. Fox News, Trump, all those guys.
“You always felt like a maverick, a rebel: we now know that you are not. We (and by that I mean the rebels, the mavericks, the rock crowd) always loved and defended you because you were a lovable fool and kind of a dumb fuck, like the Three Stooges or Tex Avery’s wolf. You now proved your stupidity to be fucking dangerous.”
Calling out Hughes for comments he’s made in recent interviews, El Iraki says, “Your comments reopened a nasty wound. So you say the security crew was in on it and was warning every Arab they saw… I happen to be an Arab and to look very much like one. I got a big black curly beard and the skin tone to match it. I also happen to live and breathe rock n’ roll.
“But apparently, the big bad Muslim conspiracy missed me. Damn, they forgot to warn me. They also forgot to warn Djamila, and all the other Arabs who got shot and killed that very night. They forgot to warn my fellow Moroccan Amin, who was shot that very night… Silly international Muslim conspiracy. They really cannot do any job well.”
El Iraki goes on to say that Islam is not the problem. “All you fucking bigots and your fairytale shit stories are the problem. Racism and refusal to recognize one another as complex (more complex than ethnicity or race can explain) human beings is the problem. Reducing others to what you think you know is the problem.
“Rock ‘n’ roll is love, man. LOVE. Look at yourself: you have become a spreader of hate, brother. Try to be more in life like the persona we all love when you are on stage. Try to spread the love. The real love, the kind that sees right through people’s beards and skin colors and religious shit and garments, the kind that can unite not only a concert crowd but hopefully a nation, a whole world.
“I hope you can realize how wrong that shit you spread is, hope you can see all the wrong that you are doing. ‘There’s still time to change the road you’re on’, brother. Zeppelin’s words.
“Just come back to the real spirit of rock ‘n’ roll, which is that a good rock show should make you wanna fuck or fight. Not rally a nasty conservative politician.”
89 people were killed by terrorist gunmen during EODM’s show at the Bataclan Theatre in November. Since then, Hughes has spoken in favour of gun ownership, and has also accused some of the Bataclan Theatre security guards of working with the terrorists.
Two French music festivals have also dropped EODM from their lineups over Hughes’ recent comments.
Previous to El Iraki’s open letter to Hughes, fellow gig-goer Tony Scott penned a missive calling Hughes’ comments “a stomach punch to fans, especially when they are still dealing with their own trauma. He is alienating the very people who helped him get where he is”.
Catch El Iraki’s full letter, titled ‘A letter to Jesse Hughes from a fellow Bataclan survivor’, over at The Guardian.
Gallery: Eagles Of Death Metal, All The Colours – Metro Theatre, Sydney 27.03.16 / Photos: Ashley Mar