One Woman's Vivid Tale Of Survival In The Paris Attacks

When the first reports came from the terrorist attacks on Paris Friday night, it was devastatingly easy to imagine the scene. The victims were at a rock concert, out to dinner with friends, seeing a soccer match — starting the weekend the way we love to do. A Facebook post from one of the survivors of the shooting at the Bataclan concert hall has made it clear our imaginations can barely touch the surface of what really went down.

"You never think it will happen to you," wrote Isobel Bowdery, a South African woman living in Paris. "It was just a Friday night at a rock show. The atmosphere was so happy and everyone was dancing and smiling. And then when the men came through the front entrance and began the shooting, we naively believed it was all part of the show. It wasn't just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre."

Bowdry describes how she pretended to be dead for an hour as the shooters aimed at the crowd in the standing area where she'd been watching the show. "Pools of blood filled the floor. Cries of grown men who held their girlfriends' dead bodies pierced the small music venue."

As of this writing, the post has more than 2 million likes (including one from Mark Zuckerberg) and has been shared more than 600,000 times. The compelling image of Bowdery's bloody shirt is one reason it's gone viral. The other might be the way she assures the families of victims that the terrorists didn't conquer their final thoughts: "I feel privileged to be there for their last breaths. And truly believing that I would join them, I promise that their last thoughts were not on the animals who caused all this. It was thinking of the people they loved. As I lay down in the blood of strangers and waiting for my bullet to end my mere 22 years, I envisioned every face that I have ever loved and whispered I love you. Over and over again. Reflecting on the highlights of my life. Wishing that those I love knew just how much, wishing that they knew that no matter what happened to me, to keep believing in the good in people. To not let those men win."
Find out more about the victims who didn't make it out of the Bataclan and the other locations of the attacks.

For full coverage of the attacks on Paris, click here.

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