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Reflections on the Nature of Terror PDF Printable Version E-mail

Reflections on the Nature of Terror

Barry Williamson
March 2017 

Santo Antonio das Areias

Drawing on his experiences of a childhood in Britain's second-most bombed city, Barry asks what has happened to a country that now panics and over-reacts to one lunatic with a knife. There is also comment on upcoming 'May Day' - Wednesday, 29 March.

I vividly remember the protracted bombing of Hull, weeks sleeping in an Anderson air raid shelter in the back garden, collecting shrapnel as a hobby on the way to school, being evacuated, dad Joe in Air Raid Warden uniform, the bombers and bombs approaching and receding, the siren (once a dangerously seductive woman) bringing only a warning and a threat, the now welcome siren sounding again to signal 'all clear', the sound of anti-aircraft guns, houses split open like a doll's house, a V1 missile hitting the ground nearby without exploding, our bath left full of water with a stirrup pump handy to deal with incendiary bombs, rationing, gas mask drill and air raid shelters at school, warnings about exploding toys being dropped (don't pick them up!), the radio full of nothing but news of battles, going to the pictures with mother Doris for the big attraction - the Battle of El Alamein, American tanks lined up in the street waiting to be shipped out after D-Day, the GI's throwing food to a little boy they had been told was starving, the celebrations on VE day, Uncles Charlie and Cyril returning shell-shocked (now called
post-traumatic stress disorder) from fighting on the front line in Europe and in Burma, etc, etc. 

But life went on.


And now all this fuss about one lunatic with a knife! And the prime minister making brave speeches about how Democracy will survive, etc, when she is our greatest threat to democracy! And what was the motive of the lunatic? Publicity. Well, he's succeeded beyond his wildest nightmares.

Here in Portugal the evening news on all the main channels was taken up with reports and pictures from Westminster, with many expressions of genuine sympathy and concern. But this was also mixed up with mentions of Brexit. Why leave a Europe where we belong, now at peace and showing clear solidarity with us against what is a foreign threat to the whole of the continent?

Interestingly, in the TV news about the incident, Westminster was sometimes in Ingleterra, other times in Gr-Bretanha. Who knows, these days? Over to you, Mrs May.

Next Wednesday, 29 March, should be called May Day after its perpetrator, or Mayday, the international distress call in a dire emergency. It's from the French m'aidez, or 'help me'. Or help us all!

Kathy and Rick from the USA, faced with their own problems with Trump, suggest that we are facing 'mayhem' (
a violent and needless disturbance).