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Terror in Europe

The Bataclan, Aching To Rock 'n' Roll Again After Paris Attack

British rocker Pete Doherty is signed up for a November gig, though other artists have opted out of playing in the venue where terrorists killed 90 people last year.

The Bataclan is still shuttered from the outside.
The Bataclan is still shuttered from the outside.
Léna Lutaud

PARIS — The Bataclan concert hall is set to reopen a year after Islamist militants attacked the venue, killing 90 people there last November. The restoration work inside the historic venue in eastern Paris is now coming to an end. The team is finally ready.

All that's missing? The artists.

Many French musicians who have been invited to perform over the past few weeks have declined. They said their reluctance was not out of fear but that they weren't comfortable with the idea of celebrating in the same venue that saw so many innocent people massacred.

The historic music hall, which first opened in 1865, has hosted such legendary performers as Jerry Lee Lewis, the Velvet Underground, The Clash, And Prince. American rockers The Eagles of Death Metal were performing on Nov. 13 when Islamic terrorists stormed the theater, opening fire and taking scores hostage as part of a coordinated attack in and around Paris that killed a total of 130.

Jules Frutos, one of the Bataclan's managers, says he's facing difficulties he had not foreseen. For the upcoming winter and spring season, only 15 artists, most of them British, will perform.

"I think that I overestimated the artistic demand," says Frutos, saying that he assumed that a call from him or the other manager of the Bataclan, Olivier Poubelle, would be enough to convince artists to perform at the venue. "But I was wrong."

The reluctance of technicians and production crews has been another obstacle. "The murder of a dozen (colleagues) that everyone knew was a traumatic experience," says Pierre-Alexandre Vertadier, the chief executive of Decibel Productions.

The employees of the production companies owned by Frutos and Poubelle want to continue to organize new events at the Bataclan. "Our teams were on the front line that night in November," he says. "The shock is not the same and their way to overcome what happened is not either."

Moreover, the manager's earlier concerns about ticket sales is slowly fading as the scheduled shows are selling out. "The public has expressed a strong will to come back and it feels very good. There are good things to come," Frutos says.

Vertadier is also enthusiastic about the future of the concert hall. "The venue will be revived. It's just a matter of time," he says.

British rocker Pete Doherty is the first artist scheduled to perform at the Bataclan on Nov. 16. Other shows might happen before that but the dates for those are yet to be fixed.

"Each performance will be like the first one for both the artists and the crowds," says Frutos.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Why The U.S. Lost Its Leverage In The Middle East — And May Never Get It Back

In the Israel-Hamas war, Qatar now plays the key role in negotiations, while the United States appears increasingly disengaged. Shifts in the region and beyond require that Washington move quickly or risk ceding influence to China and others for the long term.

Photograph of U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken  shaking hands with sraeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

November 30, 2023, Tel Aviv, Israel: U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken shakes hands with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Chuck Kennedy/U.S State/ZUMA
Sébastien Boussois


PARIS — Upon assuming office in 2008, then-President Barack Obama declared that United States would gradually begin withdrawing from various conflict zones across the globe, initiating a complex process that has had a major impact on the international landscape ever since.

This started with the American departure from Iraq in 2010, and was followed by Donald Trump's presidency, during which the "Make America Great Again" policy redirected attention to America's domestic interests.

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The withdrawal trend resumed under Joe Biden, who ordered the exit of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in 2021. To maintain a foothold in all intricate regions to the east, America requires secure and stable partnerships. The recent struggle in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict demonstrates that Washington increasingly relies on the allied Gulf states for any enduring influence.

Since the collapse of the Camp David Accords in 1999 during Bill Clinton's tenure, Washington has consistently supported Israel without pursuing renewed peace talks that could have led to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

While President Joe Biden's recent challenges in pushing for a Gaza ceasefire met with resistance from an unyielding Benjamin Netanyahu, they also stem from the United States' overall disengagement from the issue over the past two decades. Biden now is seeking to re-engage in the Israel-Palestine matter, yet it is Qatar that is the primary broker for significant negotiations such as the release of hostages in exchange for a ceasefire —a situation the United States lacks the leverage to enforce.

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