“What I would like to say here is that I am on a tightrope (…) Sometimes the tightrope is tight, and even if it is difficult to walk on a tightrope, I manage, because it is held at each end by two giants who are my strength and my joy”, said the frail but so strong Neima, survivor of the Bataclan, on May 18.
“Sometimes the loose thread, I have nothing left, and I sink, I fall from above, without seeing the bottom,” she continued.
His testimony, almost whispered, punctuated like a long poem, exuded an impressive force.
“Brilliant and carefree”, Neïma was 16 on November 13, 2015 when she went to the Bataclan “with her lover”, recalls her lawyer, Me Laurence Tartour, on Friday.
From this concert, she remembers only the horror.
“She saw this nightmare in its entirety, the sounds of the detonations then of the explosion, the screams. She saw people die, people suffer, blood, a lot of blood”, says her lawyer.
– “Boomerang effect” –
And when a suicide bomber activates his explosive belt, “she receives body parts on her, sees a black cloud of smoke and confetti” of flesh, she explains.
“How to resume the normal course of one’s life when, at 16, one is one with death?” Asks Me Tartour. “How can we forget such an atrocity? How can we forget this anguish of imminent death, these scenes of horror, the blood, the dismembered bodies, the sound of detonations, the rales, the smells? How can we forget having received the human remains of a body ?”.
Neima is one of the last people to leave the Bataclan pit. She comes out “covered in blood”.
Neïma’s journey after the attacks was “difficult and tormented”, sums up the lawyer modestly. His client suffered a lot and, since her testimony, “suffers” again.
As recalled by the more than 400 survivors or relatives of the victims who have succeeded each other at the helm of the special assize court in Paris over the past nine months, the wounds of November 13 are still gaping and painful.
After her testimony, Neima hit rock bottom again.
“If after making the way to the Assize Court to file, she had the impression of getting better, there was a boomerang effect afterwards. Her relief was short-lived because a few days after her hearing ( …) Neïma was again confronted with strong anxieties, those which paralyze those which no longer allow us to move forward”, describes Me Tartour.
– “Do not sink” –
The young woman nevertheless had the strength to return to the huge courtroom on Friday, supported by her mother and her older brother.
It is no longer to the court that Me Tartour speaks but directly to his client to say to her in essence: “please don’t sink”.
“It’s normal Neima to fall back, to have the impression of a void, to be confronted with anxieties,” insists the lawyer.
Then she encourages him. “You are bright, sunny, radiant and, even if you sometimes stumble, you have the tools, the resources and the strength that will allow you to pick yourself up and move forward, to build the life you have chosen with the immense talent that you show but also courage”.
His words are addressed to all the great invisible wounded of 13-November.
In the silent courtroom, we then remember the words of Neïma during her testimony.
“I am aware of being alive, and of the chance that this represents, of the weight that it carries in me, and of the lightness that it brings to me sometimes, often more than sometimes, and I feel it, with my two giants who hold my thread, and I go towards gentleness, reflection, and I work every day, to stand serenely, on this thread, for life, with those I love, in reverence to this November 13, 2015” .