Friday 20 September 2019

The atrocity in Nice has achieved its objective to instil fear

By Justine O'Mahony

A week home from holidays and the suitcases are still in the hall, half emptied. I gave up after dumping the tenth load into the washing machine. I told them they can wear whatever they want for the rest of the holidays because I'm not spending the next six weeks washing and ironing.

The Youngest has been wearing a pair of denim shorts for the past five days that are covered in dodgy brown stains. 'Chocolate?' Himself inquired. I shrugged. 'Possibly. Possibly not.'

It doesn't really matter what the Teenager wears because he never comes out of his bedroom! I shout through the door to open a window and make his bed but I'm not sure that ever happens. Sometimes he appears for meals, other times not. I'm not worried though. He has a stash of Pringles in there that will keep him going.

I may have a case of the post holiday blues. Not sure. But the news of the atrocities in Nice just days after we returned home has knocked me for six. I keep looking at our half emptied suitcases thinking of the people who will never get a chance to empty theirs.

I keep seeing images of those buggies turned over on the promenade emptied of their precious cargo, those heartbroken loved ones who sat beside the deceased, refusing to leave them overnight.

What makes it even harder to comprehend is Nice is such a beautiful, beautiful place where you could never imagine something like this happening. One deranged man targeting innocent vulnerable people celebrating a national holiday. Killing over 80, ten of them children. They were the ones who couldn't run to get out of the way-the elderly and the young. Islamic State have claimed responsibility. Part of me thinks if it wasn't the work of IS, it is even more frightening in some respects because then who do we blame?

I read over the weekend that the primary purpose of terrorism is to instil fear. Well whoever is responsible, they've certainly achieved that. I am fearful. Fearful of travelling anywhere now, fearful of where and when the next terrorist attack will be. Fearful of trying to give my children a balanced explanation of what terrorism is and who is at fault.

We visited Paris shortly after the Bataclan attack. The city was subdued but not defeated. But every time we got on the Metro I felt anxious, edgy, slightly sick, watching other people who I felt were suspicious looking. Nobody wants to live their life like that. I don't want my children to grow up in a world where they are suspicious of everyone. I don't want them to be fearful.

Right now all we can do is think of the families who have been devastated by this horrific atrocity. Prayers seem inappropriate. Maybe all we can do is hope that they find some answers.

Wexford People