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Thursday 9 February 2023 Dublin: 7°C
# Bataclan
Paris attack survivor played dead for over an hour as gunmen opened fire
Isobel Bowdery was at the Bataclan concert hall when gunmen opened fire on young people attending a rock concert.

A YOUNG WOMAN has described the terrifying ordeal she endured at the Bataclan concert hall where 89 people were killed on Friday night.

In a powerful Facebook post, South African graduate Isobel Bowdery (22) shared a photo of the blood-stained top she wore on the night, saying she pretended to be dead for over an hour as gunmen opened fire.

Capture Isobel Bowdery / Facebook Isobel Bowdery / Facebook / Facebook

Bowdery wrote that she thought the gunfire was just part of the concert when it began.

You never think it will happen to you. It was just a Friday night at a rock show. The atmosphere was so happy and everyone was dancing and smiling, and then when the men came through the front entrance and began the shooting, we naively believed it was all part of the show.
It wasn’t just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre. Dozens of people were shot right in front of me. Pools of blood filled the floor. Cries of grown men who held their girlfriends dead bodies pierced the small music venue. Futures demolished, families heartbroken, in an instant.

She said she played dead on the floor of the club, trying not to breathe, as gunmen “meticulously” aimed at people around her.

Shocked and alone, I pretended to be dead for over an hour, lying among people who could see their loved ones motionless. Holding my breath, trying to not move, not cry – not giving those men the fear they longed to see.
I was incredibly lucky to survive. But so many didn’t. The people who had been there for the exact same reasons as I – to have a fun Friday night – were innocent. This world is cruel. And acts like this are suppose to highlight the depravity of humans and the images of those men circling us like vultures will haunt me for the rest of my life.
The way they meticulously aimed at [and] shot people around the standing area I was in the centre of without any consideration for human life. It didn’t feel real. I expected any moment for someone to say it was just a nightmare.

France Paris Shooting Associated Press A woman is evacuated from the Bataclan theatre on Friday night. Associated Press

Bowdery also praised the strangers who helped her: from an injured man who comforted her, to a woman who opened her doors to survivors.

“Being a survivor of this horror lets me able to shed light on the heroes,” she said.

To the man who reassured me and put his life on line to try and cover my brain whilst I whimpered, to the couple whose last words of love kept me believing the good in the world, to the police who succeeded in rescuing hundreds of people, to the complete strangers who picked me up from the road and consoled me during the 45 minutes I truly believed the boy I loved was dead, to the injured man who I had mistaken for him and then on my recognition that he was not Amaury, held me and told me everything was going to be fine despite being all alone and scared himself, to the woman who opened her doors to the survivors, to the friend who offered me shelter and went out to buy new clothes so I wouldn’t have to wear this blood stained top, to all of you who have sent caring messages of support – you make me believe this world has the potential to be better. To never let this happened again.

She added: “As I lay down in the blood of strangers and waiting for my bullet to end my mere 22 years, I envisioned every face that I have ever loved and whispered ‘I love you’, over and over again, reflecting on the highlights of my life.

Wishing that those I love knew just how much, wishing that they knew that no matter what happened to me, to keep believing in the good in people, to not let those men win. Last night, the lives of many were forever changed and it is up to us to be better people. to live lives that the innocent victims of this tragedy dreamt about but sadly will now never be able to fulfil. RIP angels. You will never be forgotten.

Bowdery’s post has been shared over half a million times since yesterday evening, with hundreds of people leaving her messages of support.

Paris attacks: What we know today

Caught on camera: The moment the Bataclan massacre began

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