Shafaqna conducted a very special interview this week as we talked to Claire Santana, a young French woman who, on November 13, witnessed first hand the terror preached by the Wahhabi clergy.
Rather than burden Claire with our questions, and risk to force to relive those moments she might chose to not speak of at the moment, we simply requested that she tells her story the way she wants it to be remembered.
Mother to a three-year old little boy, Claire moved to France from her home in Spain last September after her husband was offered a position at a PR firm in the French capital.
You said you wanted to share with others not your tale as a survivor of terror but a voice for peace – what do you mean by that?
I was at La Belle Equipe on Friday evening … I literally just got back inside when I heard loud noises … I thought people were shooting fireworks or something at first, and then I heard the screams.
I was pushed on the floor by someone next to me and after that it was pretty much darkness. I simply can’t remember … my mind literally went blank. All I remember is the smell and the screams of terror. I wouldn’t be able to tell you I long I was on the floor, only that someone got me back up and asked me if I was injured. I wasn’t … all these people dead and I was completely unharmed.
It is a strange thing to walk away from such devastation and think that a few meters, a few minutes could have ended my life. I am very fortunate I know this.
But I’m not angry. I can’t be, I don’t want to be.
All these people died because of hatred and ignorance and I refuse to follow the same standards. I will not be made to hate.
What do you make of politicians and media’s call on Muslims to apologize? Do you think Islam is to blame here?
No, absolutely not. Radicalism is just racism and fascism all rolled into one. I come from Spain and Spain knows exactly what fascism looks like … it’s not pretty I tell you. Islam, like Christianity or Judaism , or Buddhism cannot be blamed for the lunacy of a few.
I mean all religions have had their fair share of evil clerics … I don’t think the West has any lesson to give when it comes to fascism … especially when our history is full of men who built their powers on blood.
I don’t like politics very much but the way I see it politicians are using this tragedy to promote their policies and justify their wars and budget increases … they don’t care about the people.
If they did care for the people officials would have resigned over their failure as civil servants.
Did they though?! Not one came to apologize to the people for failing to keep the nation safe.
With all the technology they have, with all the spying and listening onto our conversations you’re telling they had no idea … well that is not acceptable to me!!! I want answers.
So Muslims need to apologize? Why would they? Did we apologize for colonialism? Did we apologize when we invaded, pillaged and robbed Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East across the centuries?
Did we blame Christianity for slavery? Did we call on all Christians to say sorry to every African American? This is the very definition of prejudiced to me.
The crazy thing is we are at war with the Middle East. Right now our leaders are killing civilians … they might not willingly target them but the result is the same – dead people. Have we issued an apology to all the families?
What would you like to tell people?
Well to begin with I don’t want all these people’s memories to be dishonored by calls for revenge. This is exactly what terrorists want us to do.
I also would like to know how terrorists managed to put their hands on military grade weapons. I heard in the media that they were very well trained and organized in the way they did thing.
We are told that refugees are to blame but this is ridiculous. Refugees fled the war, they fled the very people who attacked us.
My great grandfather was a war refugee at one point. He too fled the war and he was lucky enough to find good souls to give him shelter. Most Europeans have only to go back two generations to find their ancestors were war refugees at one point or the other so NO I refuse to blame the poorest among us.
We always talk about how Western society is better: more democratic, fairer and more tolerant … where is the tolerance, where is the justice and where is the compassion?
Claire chose not to share a photo with Shafaqna as she doesn’t want to draw more attention to herself. “I don’t want Friday to become this thing I carry around … I want to be me, the me I was before.”