What Happens When a Terror Attack Occurs in the Country You’re Visiting
By Manuela Domingos
I received the text message at 11:41 p.m. on the fourteenth of July while watching fireworks in an unknown street in Paris, France.
After practically circulating the entire city in search for a parking space with no luck, we stumbled into a street corner that was filled with groups of people overlooking the Eiffel Tower, where fireworks were in display. It was almost like a light at the end of the tunnel. A slight blessing, in a weird way. After hours of searching for a spot to park our car to no avail, we randomly stumbled into the view. It was beautiful far away, one could only imagine how breathtaking it must have been close by. Breathtaking of course, since three years ago I had enjoyed the same view.
My stomach churned at the message. It had been sent from a friend in the U.S, whom I hadn't talked to in a while. I suspected it had something to do with some breaking news of some sort, since the eerie words on my screen echoed a concern. I quickly replied that I was okay, and asked him why he asked. Awaiting his reply, I hastily googled "Paris news" on my smart phone. Immediately, I learned about the devastating attack that had occurred in Nice, France.
"Heard about what happened in Paris, just checking in."
I thanked him for his concern and mentioned that the attacks had occurred in Nice, not Paris, to diminish some of his alarm. I received similar messages from friends and family thereafter, most of them mistakenly referring to the attack as happening in Paris. I told them I was okay, that the attack had occurred hours away from Paris, and not to worry.
Eventually it didn't matter where the attack occurred. The whole nation was under alarm about the recent news, and everyone stood in solidarity.
Just seven months ago, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks occurred in Paris, France. The possibility of something similar occurring again was not unlikely, and the proximity of the incident in Nice proved so.
I got back into the car and filled my cousin in on the recent news. She received a few phone calls of her own from concerned friends who had decided to stay in for the night instead of taking a trip to the city.
I kept up with updates on the attack on the way back home. By the time we reached the house, the number of victims killed by the calculated truck rampage that veered into a crowd of people had accumulated to an alarming seventy.
Françoise Hollande, the nation's president extended the country's state of emergency for an additional three months, it was originally due to end on July 26th.
My heart ached that night. I thought about the heartbreaking reality of innocent people who simply wanted to enjoy an evening out, their plans terminated by a senseless cowardly act.
My heart goes out to those who lost their lives due to this tragic incident. May they rest in peace.
May the hearts of an alert nation be consoled through acts of love and peace as we stand in solidarity.
Keep up with Manuela on Instagram, @_manuelaad!