A few days ago, Eagles of Death Metal was dropped by two French festivals over some comments done by frontman Jesse Hughes implying there was some sort of conspiracy after claiming to see Muslims celebrating on the streets and suspecting some of the security crew at the Bataclan theater were involved in the attacks.
The allegations didn’t sit well with many fans, including a man who survived the night of the attack at the Bataclan and decided to respond to Hughes allegations. In an open letter, Ismael El Irak condemned Hughes comments by saying the following:
A LETTER TO JESSE HUGUES FROM A FELLOW BATACLAN SURVIVOR
I just finished reading your tacky Taki interview and to tell you the truth, my heart is bleeding. I postponed reading it, thinking: ” What’s the news, can’t be worse than the others, we’re used to it”. It is worse, and there’s no way in hell we will ever get used to this.
I love your music, your concerts mostly (such fun, wild shows) and man, I never thought that you would become one of those spreaders of fear. Fox News, Trump, all those guys. You always felt like a maverick, a rebel: we now know that you are not. We (and by that I mean the rebels, the mavericks, the rock crowd) always loved and defended you because you were a lovable fool and kind of a dumb fuck, like the Three Stooges or Tex Avery’s wolf. You now proved your stupidity to be fucking dangerous.
Your comments reopened a nasty wound. So you say the security crew was in on it and was warning every Arab they saw. See, as you can see on this picture some guy took at the scene a few minute before your show began, I happen to be an Arab and to look very much like one. I got a big black curly beard and the skin tone to match it. I also happen to live and breathe rock n’ roll. It is, my wife’s love aside, the single most important thing in my life. So of course, that warm November night, I was among the crowd at the Bataclan. Wasn’t gonna miss an EODM concert, and it was only the first of eight rock shows I had lined up that week.
As I said I live and breathe rock ‘n’ roll, and I could not look more Muslim if I tried. But apparently, the big bad Muslim conspiracy missed me. Damn, they forgot to warn me. They also forgot to warn Djamila, and all the other Arabs who got shot and killed that very night. They forgot to warn my fellow Moroccan Amin, who was shot that very night. Apparently, a few weeks later, the also forgot to warn Leila, another fellow Morrocan, who got killed in the Ouagadougou attack. Silly international Muslim conspiracy. They really cannot do any job well.
I will not dignify you by narrating how I behaved that night. I have and always will refuse to do that publicly: I do not believe that another bloody Bataclan story could be useful to anyone. You can make your own inquiries and I do not think that you will like what you will discover, for it will certainly not fit your narrow minded, boxed-in image of what a Muslim or an Arab (for apparently you ignore the difference between those two words) can do. I believe that the people I helped that night did not care that I was an Arab, nor did I care which origin they where or which imaginary friend they bow to. We all bleed red, brother. And enough about me.
What pains me most is that you do not even realize that a huge number of us who managed to get out alive of this horrible ordeal owe our lives to a Muslim guy. His name is Didi and he opened the left front door most of us got out of. This guy did something that neither you, me, or anyone else I ever met would ever have done.
You know what he did, this Arab guy, this Muslim? He opened the left front door, let a shitload of people out, and then, while he was safe and sound in the street outside, HE WENT BACK IN. He turned back, and headed back in to save more people. He opened the upstairs exit and let a number of people out through there. That guy, as I said, was nothing like you. Or me.
He was a fucking hero. An unarmed, red-blooded, real-life fucking hero that you just insulted with your racist, hateful comments. You, who are not a hero. You who are, just like me, just a regular guy who happened to be caught in an awful situation and did whatever he could to get out of it and try to help some people around him. So no, your comments are not OK. How is insulting heroes OK?
You say: “Islam is the problem”. I say: “All you fucking bigots and your fairytale shit stories are the problem. Racism and refusal to recognize one another as complex (more complex than ethnicity or race can explain) human beings is the problem. Reducing others to what you think you know is the problem.” You saw those guys the other night. Those marble-eye, brainwashed, horrible assassin motherfuckers were unable to even recognize a fellow human face. Dude, don’t be like that. Just don’t. Don’t imagine that you are facing that awful fundamentalist deathwave alone. Because this is the world we live in now, and we’re all in this shit together. Muslims and Arabs are caught up in it with you, they face dying a random, stupid death like you.
Rock ‘n’ roll is love, man. LOVE. Look at yourself: you have become a spreader of hate, brother. Try to be more in life like the persona we all love when you are on stage. Try to spread the love. The real love, the kind that sees right through people’s beards and skin colors and religious shit and garments, the kind that can unite not only a concert crowd but hopefully a nation, a whole world. I hope you can realize how wrong that shit you spread is, hope you can see all the wrong that you are doing. “There’s still time to change the road you’re on”, brother. Zeppelin’s words.
Just come back to the real spirit of rock ‘n’ roll, which is that a good rock show should make you wanna fuck or fight. Not rally a nasty conservative politician.
The Bataclan has strongly disputed his assertions, saying the concert hall’s security staff, like Didi who has a petition calling for Didi to be awarded French citizenship and the Legion of Honour, saved hundreds of lives. There still hasn’t been any response from either the band or Hughes himself on the subject.