The young Australian woman who survived the Paris terror attacks has a strong message for the people of France and Australia -- she is not going to hate.
Emma Parkinson, 19, will tell her story to 60 Minutes this Sunday. She was inside the Bataclan Theatre last Friday November 13 in the mosh pit as terrorists began shooting.
In a desperate panic, she climbed a barrier to try and escape. 60 Minutes reporter Ross Coulthart told The Huffington Post Australia that when Parkinson got herself stuck on the barrier, it saved her life.
“Can you imagine how terrifying it was to be in the mosh pit and suddenly machine guns appear?” Coulthart said.
“When she was fleeing, she had to climb over a barrier in the mosh pit area of the Bataclan, which is the area you see in those confronting photos on social media. She was right in the middle of that.
"As she was climbing over the barrier in a mad panic to get over the wall, she got pushed up and over in a V-shape. She couldn’t move as people were pressing against her.
“The men were machine gunning people and because Emma’s bottom was her highest point, everyone else’s torsos was what the gunmen were aiming at. So she copped it in the bottom.
"She said she felt a terribly painful slap when the bullet hit her. She was taken to hospital where they cleaned the wound and now she’s left with a terrible bruise.
"She’s realises how lucky she is and that the mental wounds will take longer to heal than the physical wounds.”
Coulthard went to Paris to interview Parkinson before she traveled back to Tasmania. What he found in Paris was an extraordinarily resilient young woman.
“She is a very strong and principled young woman. She is wise beyond her years. She’s very composed and rather than letting herself being emotionally overwhelmed by the tragedy, she has very intelligently come to terms with it and decided she is not going to hate,” Coulthart said.
“While she knows that the emotional trauma of what she’s been through will take a long time to heal, she is already making jokes. She said, Ross, this is a pain in the butt -- literally'.
“She’s in Paris with her mother and her uncle by her side. She’s left the hospital and they’re staying in a small hotel.
"We took her out for a drink as she wanted to spend more time soaking up the French culture she loves so much. The emotional aspect of the tragedy is only just beginning to make an impact but, so far, she is doing amazingly well.”
He said Parkinson wanted to let people know that she was not making any money from telling her story. She decided to tell her story once, in a personal setting, and then get on with her recovery in private.
She will be making a donation to the International Federation of the Red Cross.
Emma’s interview will broadcast on 60 Minutes this Sunday, November 22 at 8.10pm (EST) on Channel Nine.