On Friday, November 13, 2015, Paris France was rocked by coordinated strikes against its people. Mass shootings, suicide bombings, and hostage situations occurred at Stade de France, the Bataclan theatre, and in the streets of Paris. The deadliest of which occurred at a concert of the American rock and roll band Eagles of Death Metal. The numbers vary by report, but at least 129 people were killed and upwards of 350 more were injured, some seriously. Many news outlets have called this the deadliest day in Paris since World War II. In this episode of Flash Past, Dan and Lyle discuss the attack, the history of Muslims in France, and Schengen in the European Union.
This has been called the deadliest day in Parisian history since WWII, but that’s not necessarily the case. On October 17, 1961 as many as 200 French citizens were killed in an attack organized by a former Nazi collaborator. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Paris was home to thousands of African Muslims. The divide among classes caused a lot of ill will toward well-to-do Parisians. Algerian separatists began launching terroristic attacks in Paris around 1958, and the Parisian police were working to stop the spread of violence.
Under the command of Maurice Papon, veteran of Algerian counterinsurgency and architect of the deportation of French Jews during the Holocaust, a curfew was initiated. A curfew directed at French Muslims. This led to resistance and a massive protest on October 17th. Approximately 40,000 African French protesters took to the streets of Paris and were met by 10,000 French police. The police arrested and detained some 11,000 protesters. They were corralled into sports stadiums and police stations.
According to Jean-Luc Einaudi, police then opened fire on the detainees, killing some 200 of them. Official police reports stated that only 2 people were killed, but bodies were said to be found along the Seine “for several weeks.” It wasn’t until 2012 that President Francois Hollande acknowledged the attack and massacre of 1961.
So, this was not the deadliest day in Paris since WWII, but it was most certainly the deadliest in recent memory, and the deadliest at the hands of ISIS and Muslim extremists.
Listen to episode 110 of Flash Past to hear commentary on the attack, discussion about martyrs and violence, and a bit of talk about a possible breakdown in French intelligence that led to the attacks.