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TERRORISM

Bataclan survivor commits suicide two years after terror attack

A charity that supports victims of the Paris terror attacks has sounded the alarm after it revealed that a Frenchman who survived the Bataclan had taken his own life shortly after the second anniversary of the horror.

Bataclan survivor commits suicide two years after terror attack
Photo: AFP

The suicide of Guillaume Valette, aged 31, was announced by the charity 13Onze15 Fraternité – Verité, which was set up to support the victims of the Paris terror attacks.

He took his life on the night of Saturday November 18th, just a few days after France and its president Emmanuel Macron had paid homage to the 130 people killed including 90 at the Bataclan music venue, two years ago.
 
While Paris as a city has been keen to show it has moved on and recovered from that horrific night, for those people who were caught up in the horror it is clearly a far more difficult task.
 
The survivors need help which was the message of Fraternité-Verité in announcing Valette's death.
 
The charity made the announcement on its Facebook page “in agreement with the family” of the victim.
 
“It's with immense sadness that we learned of the death of Guillaume Valette,” read the statement.
 
“Guillaume was 31-years-old, he was present at the Bataclan during the terrorist attack and did not wish to be helped by his family, or by one of the victims' associations (“13onze15 – Fraternity and Truth” or ” Life For Paris “), he wanted to stay alone.
 
“However, he was being followed by a psychiatrist and a psychologist,” read the statement with the charity adding that “the refusal of support was more linked to charities and the family (probably to protect it).”
 
“With the agreement of his family, we must remember how important it is to be aware of the need to be followed, by the family in the first place, by an association, a doctor, a psychiatrist, a psychologist.
 
“The psychological trauma suffered on the occasion of these attacks is profound, it is long-lasting, it must be considered and treated.”
 
Charities supporting the victims have regularly made calls to stress how important it is for survivors to be followed by medics and experts who can help them.
 
Some victims refused to take part in the commemorations of the terror attacks earlier this month as they were angered by the decision by President Emmanuel Macron to abolish the role of secretary of state for aid to victims, that had been set up by his predecessor François Hollande.
 
 

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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