France: Violent Bus Ride - The Victim Speaks

GalliaWatch - 13 April 2009

After the tremendous outpouring of comments and furious reactions relevant to the attack in the night bus (known as the "Noctilien"), readers will find the following testimony by the victim himself to be either politically correct to a shocking degree, or a refreshingly honest statement from a 19-year-old student who does not want to make a mountain out of a molehill. At any rate, those were the two main reactions of Le Figaro's readers.

My own reaction is one of amazement at the level of indoctrination manifest in the remarks of the young man who took the bus that night, who was clearly beaten up by thugs, and who, without quite going so far as to say he is grateful to his attackers for what they did, comes so close that he might as well testify for the defense should the case ever go to court. Having skillfully mastered "official thought", he talks as if he would gladly testify for the prosecution in the case against the police officer who released the video.

Here is the interview he granted Le Figaro. You be the judge: - What really happened in the Noctilien bus that night?

- I had spent the evening with friends and was returning home to the 17th arrondissement. I was alone when I got on the Noctilien bus at the Gare de l'Est. I turned by back on four young men. While one of them asked me for a cigarette, the other went through my pockets. When I turned around I saw one of them had my wallet. Instinctively, I tried to get it back. That's when the confrontation began...

- The beating they gave you, very violent, must have seemed interminable...

- From a spatial and temporal point of view, I cannot evaluate what I experienced. Looking at the video allowed me to anchor the attack in reality. I just remember that they pushed me to the back of the bus, and that I was knocked to the ground. In a second phase, I went back to the bus driver before being kicked and punched. As the video shows, other passengers were also molested, in particular a young man who tried to help me.

- And the driver who remained seated?

- I feel no anger towards him. It was very difficult for him to react. He did what he could, obeying the rules: he stopped the bus immediately and phoned for the police. They came very quickly and arrested two persons; then a few days later two alleged accomplices were arrested.

- Some Internet sites affirm that racial insults were hurled at you...

- Personally, I heard nothing of the sort. These remarks, if they were made, were the consequence of my attackers being drugged or drunk. Moreover, they were not all immigrants. The video of my attack appears to be stereotypical, in view of the fact that that night I was wearing "bourgeois" clothing, and I was face to face with four young people who were making lots of noise. In no event do I want to be regarded as the symbol of a certain social image who was attacked by foreigners. I did not take it like that. Furthermore, one of the assailants in an overcoat, shaven, had very white skin...

- What injuries did you suffer?

- Except for a hematoma to the eye and some bruises, no injuries were found. Two days after the attack, I consulted a psychiatrist at the Hôtel-Dieu in Paris who told me that I appeared to have taken the whole thing well. Since then I've gone back to public transportation, even the Noctilien bus...

- This story came back to you like a boomerang via the Internet...

- Yes. On April 6, a friend told me that a video had been put online at Facebook. When I saw it, I was going to ask the person who had posted it to withdraw it. I didn't realize it would be broadcast on such a scale...

- This broadcasting of the video seems to have upset you as much as the attack.

- It's true that the situation is very difficult, very delicate. Many friends were shocked by the widespread circulation, which hurts me. To spread images on the Internet is very serious because it jeopardizes part of our legal principles. There was a serious amalgamation between the reality of the scene and its representation. This video was circulated at extremist sites and has been exploited by politicians. Now, I do not wish to be exploited. The subject is apt to generate radical ideas and I have no desire to encourage that. I had to get out of this reductive caricature. To be brutally at the center of a polemic of this magnitude is never pleasant. This hurts me greatly, since I had managed to overcome the event itself. I'm leaving Paris without hatred, in order to find some peace with my family.

Note: The young man's statements are worthy of closer analysis. The school he is enrolled in in Paris - the famous and very "progressive" School of Political Science is also an issue, as is the possible influence of the school's president on the manner in which the young man answered the questions. Le Figaro's readers touch on these topics in their responses (there are already 689 of them). I will try to deal with these questions in later posts.

The question is: was he told what to say, did he instinctively know what to say, or does he really believe what he said? Also, if he is now under some kind of police protection, can he really talk against the government?

The circumstances of his departure from Paris aren't clear.

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Categories: FranceIntegration