We Nonetheless Have Phrases overview – two fathers come to phrases with terror | Autobiography and memoir

Gaorges Salines and Azdyne Amimour both lost a baby in Paris on November 13, 2015. Salines’ daughter, Lola, and Amimour’s daughter, Samy, were at the Bataclan concert hall the same night. One was killed, the other was one of the killers, who blew himself up immediately. All were 28 people and local residents.

Lola, who grew up in France, Martinique, and Egypt, worked as a bookkeeper. He loves sports, travel and rock music. They live with their friend Agathe and their cat Billy. Samy was very intrusive. A son of a Franco-Algerian family, he started studying law at a university before finding a job in Paris for human trafficking but in 2013, he went to war as a jihadist in Syria. His father tried to stop him, but to no avail.

In 2017, Samy’s father contacted Lola’s father and asked to see him. At the time, Salines was the leader of a group of survivors of the November 13 demonstrations. At first, he was shocked by Amimour’s request, and he was impressed by what the terrorist father had told him. When they first met in a cafe near Bastille, the two men did not connect. Together, with the help of political scientist Sébastien Boussois, they agreed to have their discussions published as a book: We Yet Have Words, translated into English by Jonathan Hensher, published this week at a time when France is still struggling with the growing Islamic uprising.

The ease with which the two men ask each other questions and listen to the answers becomes refreshing and exciting

Prior to the first meeting, Salines, a physician working in public health, asked Amimour what he wanted to discuss. She replied, “I want to talk to you about this tragedy, because I feel that I too have been affected by it.” Some may be surprised, but fortunately, Salines has attended a meeting at the Quilliam foundation in London a few months earlier. There, she was moved to tears by the women of the jihadists who were invited to speak and shared a great deal of guilt.

He thought that if some terrorist parents did the wrong things to their children the way they were taught, others would be innocent. However, for Salines, the prospect of meeting a man whose son had killed her daughter was unrealistic, but it ended his rejection. He says: “Our meetings really affected me. “Azdyne is a lovely person with a history of good health, who gives an image of a person who is active, passionate about life, reasonable and self-disciplined.” The men connect. For Amimour, their discussion was “a way to help”, a way to “strongly oppose violence” and “to help in the name of Islam which I believe in”.

On November 13, 2015, it had been several months since Amimour had heard anything from their son who had gone to war with Islamic State two years ago. That same night, Amimour was in Liège, Belgium, where he owned a clothing store. He closed the shop early so he could settle down to watch a football match – France v Germany. Georges Salines had seen his daughter Lola earlier in the day at the swimming pool where they sometimes swam together during recess. “We talked for nothing. When you have no reason to think that you will see each other again, you do not say the right things. ”Salines did not ask him what he could do that evening. Amimour asks Salines to tell her more about Lola. The simplicity and ease with which the two men ask each other questions and listen to the answers is encouraging and interesting.

One day, the boy shouted to his father: ‘If your business is not doing well, Dad, it is because you are not praying enough’

When Salines asks Amimour to try to tell him what could lead to Samy’s involvement in the violence in Bataclan, Amimour remembers revealing more. Over the course of 15 years, Samy began to feel insecure in front of his parents, non-Muslims. Amimour had a wound in the center of Paris at the time, and he felt his son did not love him. He refused the cup of beer his father had given him. I could see that he hated me. Samy became interested in religion, following a Belgian imam who, Amimour later found out, had ties to a jihadist registry group. Later, Samy dropped out of college. One day, the boy shouted to his father: “If your business is not doing well, Dad, it is because you are not praying enough.” For Amimour, “it was like a punch in the gut”. Salines asks if, as a child, Samy was discriminated against for being a Arab in France. His father commented: “She never complained that she was called ‘the immoral Rabbi’ or anything like that. “They were in the middle of diversity and tolerance. We lived in four-story houses and once you got the entrance you could find families from Moroccan, Algeria, Romania, French, Portuguese.”

We still have the Word so powerful when all men tell each other stories about their families: how they met their wives, how they got married, each with three children. Both men are Mediterranean, Salines from Sète in the Pyrenees, Amimour from Annaba in Algeria; They are all warm and share the French relationship no matter what. Amimour worked hard all his life, first in the films, in the films Claude Chabrol in the 1970s, he ran the bars in the center of Paris, he owned clothing stores in Belgium, he traveled all the time. “Men who don’t exist,” admits Salines.

The book concludes with letters from Amimour to Lola and from Salines to Samy. “Our life here on earth was very important, because it was the only life we ​​had. I am sorry that you did not know this, I apologize, and I am sorry that you did so much evil in the pursuit of deception, “Salines writes, while Amimour tells Lola:” Your life has been stolen by murderous thoughts … Am I failing in my fatherly career? I thought I was teaching my son the best… I am so, sorry Lola… We have to fight to make sure this never happens again. ”

Agnès Poirier’s most recent book by Notre Dame: The Soul of Paris (Oneworld, £ 16.99)

• We Still Have Words by Georges Salines and Azdyne Amimour, translated by Jonathan Hensher, published by Scribner (£ 12.99). To order your copy go to guardianbookshop.com. Shipping costs may be used

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