Three years of my life as an EU student of English Literature at the University of East Anglia,England.
How to start this article? How to call this article? How to describe the horror I feel inside me?
Six months ago, I wrote about the 13th of November terrorist attack in Paris, saying I was scared for my country and sad to be far from it… And yesterday evening France was the target of another awful attack that killed 84 people (at the time I am writing this) and injured many more. This time, we don’t know if it’s a terrorist attack… However, this time the attack happened in Nice, during Bastille Day celebrations.
Bastille Day, le 14 juillet as we call it here, is an important day for France but for France people, this date rhymes with festivity. There are fireworks, music and bands playing everywhere, we dance, we sing. Families go out, it’s fun, it’s summer… Or at least that’s how it should be.
Nice is less than an hour from my hometown. It is less than an hour from the room in which I am sitting right now. I went there to university for two years. My grandmother and great-grandmother live there. My brother, my grandmother and I like going to the beach in Nice in summer, down the Promenade des Anglais. I like its Christmas market on the Place Masséna, I like walking up to la coline du chateau, I like getting socca in the Vieux-Nice…
I can’t believe something so shocking and horrible has happened in Nice, NICE! So close to me. I was constantly reading the news last night, and had trouble sleeping because it all feels surreal. I never thought I’d need to ask friends if they are “okay?” (alive), that they’d ask me the same thing, that I’d keep checking Facebook to see if the people I know are safe…
I’m just glad that none of the people I know were there. I’m glad my cousin and her two young children decided to see the fireworks in Cannes instead of Nice, and that they left our flat too late anyway. I’m glad my parents who are police officers don’t work in Nice because I fear that one day they’d have to go help and risk their lives to save others.
Evil will never stop but we can’t stop living. I will go back to Nice, but how long will it take until I can go there without thinking about scenes of terror and chaos? When will we be able to stop worrying about going to concerts, to the restaurant, in the street and now to fireworks?!
Today, I spent the day at a water park with my brother and they made us stop everything at 12. The minute of silence was turned into a moving minute of applause.
Today, although my heart is also broken for all these poor people, I’m not “praying for Nice”: I’m smiling because I am alive, smiling because I get to see the people I love again – smiling because once more, it hits me that being alive is a precious gift.