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TERRORISM

Bono writes Paris attacks song ahead of gig

U2 frontman Bono has written a song about the Paris attacks ahead of a defiant return to the French capital on Sunday that may also feature the Eagles of Death Metal whose show was targeted by the jihadists.

Bono writes Paris attacks song ahead of gig
In an interview for CNN, Bono recited lyrics from a new song called "Streets of Surrender" that touched on the Paris violence. Photo: Dave Kotinsky / Getty / AFP

The Irish rock band cancelled their shows in Paris earlier this month in the wake of the attacks on November 13 that left 130 dead.

But they quickly rescheduled them and are due to appear at the 16,000-capacity AccorHotels Arena on Sunday and Monday.

“We think of music as the sound of freedom,” said guitarist The Edge, in an interview with CNN.

“We think rock and roll has a part to play, so going back to Paris to us is not just symbolic. I think we're actually starting the process of resistance, of defiance against this movement,” he said, referring to the Islamic State group that carried out the attacks.

In the same interview for CNN, Bono recited lyrics from a new song called “Streets of Surrender” that touched on the violence.

He said he had started writing the song for Italian singer and long-time friend, Zucchero.

The lyrics include the lines: “Every man's got one city of liberty, for me it's Paris, I love it.

“Every time I get lost down these ancient streets, I find myself again. I didn't come here to fight you. I came down these streets of love and pride to surrender.”

The song also touches on the refugee crisis, with a lyric mentioning the young Syrian boy photographed dead on a beach earlier this year: “Everybody's crying about some kid that they found lying on a beach, born in a manger.”

The worst of the violence took place at the Bataclan music venue, where 90 people were killed during a gig by the Eagles of Death Metal.

Rumours have been circulating in the music press that the band will join U2 on stage in Paris for at least one of their shows, though neither camp has yet confirmed the appearance.

Bono told CNN that the Islamic State's ban on music was perverse.

“Think about the idea of outlawing music. A child sings before it can speak. It's the very essence of our humanity,” he said.

Bono and The Edge are both francophiles who share a house in the south of France, and there are rumours the singer also has a home in Paris.

“It seemed like the target was culture and every kind of expression of the best of humanity: great music, restaurants, French food — everything that we hold dear,” said The Edge of this month's attacks, which hit several restaurants and bars as well as the Bataclan venue.

TERRORISM

US vice president lays wreaths at site of 2015 Paris terror attacks

US Vice President Kamala Harris and French Prime Minister Jean Castex laid wreaths at a Paris cafe and France's national football stadium Saturday six years since deadly terror attacks that left 130 people dead.

US vice president lays wreaths at site of 2015 Paris terror attacks
US Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff lay flowers after ceremonies at Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, at which 130 people were killed during the 2015 Paris terror attacks. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/POOL/AFP

The attacks by three separate teams of Islamic State group jihadists on the night of November 13, 2015 were the worst in France since World War II.

Gunmen mowed down 129 people in front of cafes and at a concert hall in the capital, while a bus driver was killed after suicide bombers blew themselves up at the gates of the stadium in its suburbs.

Harris, wrapping up a four-day trip to France, placed a bouquet of white flowers in front of a plaque honouring the victims outside a Paris cafe.

Castex attended a minute of silence at the Stade de France football stadium, along with Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, before laying wreaths at the sites of the other attacks inside Paris.

In front of the Bataclan concert hall, survivors and relatives of the victims listened to someone read out the names of each of the 90 people killed during a concert there six years ago.

Public commemorations of the tragedy were called off last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Last year we weren’t allowed to come and we all found it really tough,” said Bruno Poncet, who made it out alive of the Bataclan.

But he said the start of a trial over the attacks in September meant that those attending the commemoration this year felt more united.

‘Overcome it all’

“We’ve really bonded thanks to the trial,” he said. “During previous commemorations, we’d spot each other from afar without really daring to speak to each other. We were really shy. But standing up in court has really changed everything.”

The marathon trial, the biggest in France’s modern legal history, is expected to last until May 2022.

Twenty defendants are facing sentences of up to life in prison, including the sole attacker who was not gunned down by police, Salah Abdeslam, a French-Moroccan national who was captured in Brussels. Six of the defendants are being tried in absentia.

Poncet said he felt it was crucial that he attend the hearings. “I can’t possibly not. It’s our lives that are being discussed in that room, and it’s important to come to support the others and to try to overcome it all.”

Survivors have taken to the witness stand to recount the horror of the attacks, but also to describe life afterwards.

Several said they had been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, grappling with survivor’s guilt, or even feeling alienated from the rest of society.

Saturday’s commemorations are to wrap up with a minute of silence at the Stade de France in the evening before the kick-off for a game between France and Kazakhstan.

It was during a football match between France and Germany that three suicide bombers blew themselves up in 2015.

Then-French president Francois Hollande was one of the 80,000 people in the crowd, before he was discreetly whisked away to avoid triggering mass panic.

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