A survivor of the Bataclan massacre has called out Jesse Hughes, the lead singer of Eagles of Death Metal, for indulging in “racist, hateful comments.”
In a long open letter on Facebook, Ismael El Iraki, who was one of the 1,500 fans at the band’s Nov. 13 gig in the Parisian venue, accused Hughes of becoming a “spreader of hate.”
“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,” he wrote, in reference to an interview with Taki Magazine in which Hughes claimed Bataclan security members were involved in the shooting.
“You now proved your stupidity to be fucking dangerous. 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 live and breathe rock ‘n’ roll, and I could not look more Muslim if I tried. But apparently, the big bad Muslim conspiracy missed me,” he went on.
“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.”
In the controversial interview, Hughes claimed Bataclan staff were “staring at my buddy”.
“I just chalked it up to Arab envy. You know what I mean? When a Muslim sees a cocky American dude with tattoos, he stares at him,” he said, adding that “there’s no denying the terrorists were already inside”.
“I saw Muslims celebrating in the street during the attack. I saw it with my own eyes. In real time! How did they know what was going on? There must have been coordination,” he said.
“Rock ‘n’ roll is love, man. LOVE. Look at yourself: you have become a spreader of hate, brother […] Try to spread the love.”
Following his allegations, two French festivals decided to cancel appearances by Eagles of Death Metal.
El Iraki goes on paying homage to a Muslim security guard known as Didi who has saved dozens of lives during the attack:
“His name is Didi and he opened the left front door most of us got out of. […]
“You know what he did, this Arab guy, this Muslim? He opened the left front door, let a shitload of people out, and then, while he was safe and sound in the street outside, HE WENT BACK IN.
“He turned back, and headed back in to save more people. He opened the upstairs exit and let a number of people out through there. That guy, as I said, was nothing like you. Or me.”
The Bataclan concert hall
Image: Apaydin Alain/Sipa USA
“He was a fucking hero. An unarmed, red-blooded, real-life fucking hero that you just insulted with your racist, hateful comments. You, who are not a hero. “
“You who are, just like me, just a regular guy who happened to be caught in an awful situation and did whatever he could to get out of it and try to help some people around him. So no, your comments are not OK. How is insulting heroes OK?”
After rejecting Hughes’ claims that “Islam is the problem,” El Iraki calls on Hughes to “spread the love” through rock ‘n’ roll.
“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.”
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