I’ll never forget the moment it happened, as I’m sure no one else can.
I was typing some homework on an electric typewriter that we had acquired somehow. I can’t remember where we got it. I only remember that you could type so many characters and then had to push enter for the line to be printed on the paper. I remember how frustrated I used to get when I made a mistake.
I remember the night being shattered by a noise so loud that my curtains shook and all the car alarms in the neighbourhood were set off. I jumped but can’t remember much else about the moment. It was so sudden, as if it didn’t even happen. Such a surreal moment, where I looked out of my window, staring blankly, not really knowing what to say or do, if there really was anything that could be said or done. That was until I heard one of the neighbours, “Sounded like a bomb…”
“But they’ve been quiet for so long”, I thought.
Realization sunk in like a harsh sobering pill, as a never-ending flood of emergency vehicles made it’s way past my viewpoint of East India Dock Road, London, towards South Quay. The IRA did it again… A friend from school lost his Dad that night…
It’s a strange thought to know you’re a 15 mins walk away from an act of terrorism, aimed at causing mass disruption, with the loss of innocent life worthy collateral for promotion of a cause those lives know nothing about, by a person who knows nothing about the lives he is bringing to a sudden, cold close. It just so happens that this time the collateral wasn’t as bad as it could have been. But this is loss of life. What’s a scale…?
You can find further information about the attack HERE
In the years I’ve spent travelling since then, there is one thing that has stood out to me. Terrorism just isn’t terrorism unless you are deemed to be Muslim or from the Middle East, specifically. Pretty sad, really.
When I have conversations with people I meet now, about the unrest caused, all-round, over the politics of Northern Ireland, I’m met with gasps of shock and horror and “I never knew that!” Then you break the news that terrorism has impacted all continents throughout history, by individuals claiming to be from all slices of the religious pie. The way people respond, as though ‘terrorism’ was added to the world’s vocabulary and dictionaries just yesterday, based on acts of atrocity by men and women from a single geographical place, is just beyond me.
Terrorism is a world problem and it’s going to take nothing less than the world’s people to put an end to it.