I, like the entire world, was heartbroken over the Paris attacks last Friday. The world can be an ugly place and that was on full display over the weekend. The heinous terrorist attacks that claimed 129 lives and threw civilization into a state of hellish panic was a stark reminder that there is evil in the world, that it will not stop until it gets whatever it wants, that we must do everything in our power to stick together to get through these tough and strange times.
Our collective heart must continue to beat, beat loudly like an angelic drumline. We must open up our minds to the better angels of our nature so that they can fly in and help us overcome anger, help us spread love everywhere we go. Maybe that is the purpose of music, its mission statement, its modus operandi. Music will never go down without a fight. Then again, no force can put music “down.” Music after all might be the best defense we have against all the evil of this world. Some have even claimed that what happened in Paris was a declaration of war on music, the things that we love, the things that make life worth living.
In a radio interview with Irish DJ Dave Fanning, Bono said, “Our first thoughts at this point are with the Eagles of Death Metal fans. If you think about it, the majority of victims last night are music fans. This is the first direct hit on music that we’ve had in this so-called War on Terror or whatever it’s called. It’s very upsetting. These are our people. This could be me at a show. You at a show, in that venue. It’s a very recognizable situation for you and for me and the coldblooded aspect of this slaughter is deeply disturbing and that’s what I can’t get out of my head.”
“Deeply disturbing” is an understatement, but yes, the attacks could be construed as a direct hit on music. Most of the deaths occurred at Paris’ Bataclan venue when terrorists opened fire on the crowd and took more than 100 people hostage. There was a concert going on, American band Eagles of Death Metal was playing to a packed house. The band is clearly horrified and still trying to understand why. Recently, they issued a statement about the events that occurred.
On their website, they write, “Although bonded in grief with the victims, the fans, the families, the citizens of Paris and all those affected by terrorism, we are proud to stand together with our new family, now united by a common goal of love and compassion.”
That might be the most important thing to extract from the tragedy: love and compassion. We need to let those two things take center stage. If this is indeed an attack on music, then we must respond with music and what is music without love and compassion?