“We have the words left”: dialogue between the fathers of a killer and a victim of Bataclan

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Azdyne Amimour and Georges Salines both lost a child on November 13, 2015 in Paris; one is the father of a killer, the other the victim. They nevertheless wanted to dialogue and today publish the fruit of their discussions: “We have the words left”.

“I wanted to share this grief with him, tell him that we are not a family of terrorists, and that I condemn with the utmost firmness all that has happened,” said Samy Amimour’s father, AFP one of the members of the Bataclan commando.

In winter 2017, Azdyne Amimour wrote to Georges Salines to meet him.

The father of Lola Salines, then president of the association of victims “13onze15: Fraternité et Vérité” is “perplexed” but also “curious” to hear it. His editor daughter, who was at Bataclan with a friend, was 28 years old, like Samy Amimour.

More than a year after their meeting, the two fathers embark on a book project. Then begins an exchange between two men who tell their lives: their youth in Sète (Hérault) and Annaba (Algeria), their travels, the films watched with family, the books that marked them …

In Drancy (Seine-Saint-Denis) with the Amimour family, Samy, the younger brother, is an easily influenced and quiet teenager. His parents often worry about him.

In the family, Islam is not central, the father defines himself as “believing but not practicing”. For him, Samy “derailed”; he wanted to go to Afghanistan and Yemen, to end up joining the Islamic State group in Syria in September 2013.

Among the Saltworks, we sailed according to the positions of the father, a public health doctor, who passed through Martinique and Egypt. Lola is the youngest of a very “accomplice” trio. Her father praises her sense of humor, describes her as warm.

– Regrets and questions –

The fathers pour out on their regrets: if Lola had accepted a post in Quebec … If Samy had returned with his father when the latter had gone to look for him in Syria …

In their book which paints a portrait of two French families, the two fathers want to find common points: their affection for Egypt, or communist sympathies.

A “therapeutic” approach, for Azdyne Amimour.

For Georges Salines, this book published last week is a continuation of his book published in 2016, “L’indicible de A à Z”, and in its action to prevent radicalization that began after the attacks.

The question of forgiveness inevitably arises.

When Samy’s father asks “forgiveness for his son”, Lola’s father sweeps the question: Mr. Amimour “has no forgiveness to ask, he is guilty of nothing, and I cannot grant sorry because there is no one left to ask me. “

“You were a far cry from intolerance, bigotry and violence, (…) you are not responsible for the misdeeds of your son (…) Determinism has its limits,” replied Lola’s father.

Their conversations leave questions unanswered.

Georges Salines wrote a letter to Samy Amimour at the end of the book: “It revolves around the word why, a question that I have had since November 13,” he explains to the AFP.

Azdyne Amimour constantly questions the impact of her frequent absences from work between the ages of 10 and 18 years old.

The two men also talk about their very different experiences of grief.

The Amimour family only had access to Samy’s body after “more than a month of trouble with the administration” and buried this son while “it was pitch dark”.

Georges Salines underlines the importance of the support received despite certain shortcomings by the public authorities and reports his emotion during the national tribute to the victims.

The book gives rise to philosophical discussions about the existence of God or destiny, and to disagreements. Georges Salines acknowledges the suffering of the families of jihadists, but judges that “it is difficult for the relatives of victims to hear” this suffering.

“Would I ever have the right to claim that Samy, in a sense, is a victim who has made others?” Wonders Azdyne Amimour.


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