Quatorze Juillet

We watched idly from our car. All traffic had been stopped. Groups of people in suits and cocktail dresses hurried across the street. They joined a long queue on our right. In the distance we could see white, pointed party tents.

We joked about not having been invited. We wondered about the long queue and pretty dresses. Then it dawned: it was the 14th of July! So it must be a big French party  for their Quatorze Juilllet or Bastille Day!

We wondered if the wine would be good. But hey: we were on our way to our own party. Ours would undoubtedly be better!

Traffic control directed cars of party animals to the right and others including us to hurry up and disappear around the corner. Of course, we forgot all about the French party.

Till this morning.

Then it became clear all French parties must have ended in tears. It was zapping from tv station to tv station, after a news broadcast on the radio made clear something had happened.

No, not Paris, nor Brussels – Nice this time. Then it was a grab for the phone and starting to go through lists of various nationalities and trying to figure out who might have been celebrating in Nice.

Much later, there was the article of Le Monde. An interview with a boy who had lost his mother a few hours earlier. She was one of the first victims. She had been in Nice with husband, children, other relatives, to celebrate and watch the fireworks. While others went to collect the car, she remained behind.

Like all the other innocent victims, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Her son said she was a good and religious mother; she followed Islam, but not the Islam terrorists preach.

Le Monde: attentat de Nice


About Kate

Multilingual arts & culture journalist, blogger, columnist, writer and translator. Contributor to international (news) media. 2014 winning columnist Gentse Schrijversdagen, Gand, Belgium.
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