Simona Bonanno’s work, ”Un Mémoire du 13”, documents the devastating strategy of jihadist terror in the heart of Europe. The project was born by chance because the evening of the attack in Paris she was where it all began: at the XI Arrondissement.
The next day, Simona decided to begin her project which in this way bears witness to the fatal effects of this strategy which has inevitably changed our lives as we tread the fine line between fear and the desire to continue living our lives as usual.
I was in Paris for a week, it should have been full of exciting events and important commitments. It was for an half, until the night of Friday the 13th. That night, everything has changed, the perception of the city has been modified, the smiles are vanished. We advanced as enmeshed in a limbo of anxiety and fear. The sounds weren’t no more familiar, the steps became fast, the gazes looked away. After the Paris terrorist attacks of November 13th 2015, French authorities have closed the top tourist sites in Paris. I was very impressed to see the huge Cour Napoléon empty of tourists in a warm sunny day; the Jardins de Tuileries were silent and static, with the chairs abandoned around the fountains. Nobody walked in the galleries of the Carrousel du Louvre,nobody took photos near the upside down pyramid. The bus 76, that I usually take to come back home, from the Louvre crossing the XI Arrondissement, went fast, unusually empty for a Saturday afternoon.
“Un mémoire du 13” is a diary of those days where commitments, enthusiasm, life, city, everything is stopped and frozen; Paris was empty, silent, motionless as we were, the “unaware survivors“. The XI Arrondissementwas cordoned off, access was restricted to residents. I was admitted to entry, but photographing was almost forbidden. I walked over to La Belle Équipe, the coffee that counted 20 people victims. I was there the night before the attacks. I should have been sitting at its tables in the terrasse, that Friday night. But I did not. By sheer coincidence. [Official Website]
Few days before the attacks.
Friday, November 13th, few hours before the attacks
A series of coordinated terrorist attacks occurred on Friday, 13 November 2015 in Paris. 130 people were killed. Three groups of men launched six distinct attacks. At approximately 21:36, two gunmen fired shots for several minutes at the outdoor terrace of the restaurant La Belle Équipe on the rue de Charonne in the 11th arrondissement where it intersects the rue Faidherbe, before returning to their car and driving away. 20 people died.
Two days after the attacks.