Today I woke up to the news that there has been another terrorist attack, in Nice. 84 people were killed during Bastille Day celebrations when a lorry drove through the crowds, knocking anyone down in the process, and shooting out of his window. Many of those injured were children, or members of families out celebrating Bastille Day.
Bastille Day is a national holiday in France. It marks the day when prisoners in France broke out of the Bastille (prison) during the French revolution. It is a day of celebration, of unity, and of hope. Families come together to celebrate in towns across France, watch fireworks, and there is a huge sense of a shared community. Two years ago I was in Paris on Bastille Day and it is still possible to see how important this day is for them in terms of their national identity.
Yet someone chose this day of celebration, of unity and hope to exploit the French people, to terrorise them. It is impossible for me to understand why and how anyone could do such a thing. I was shocked and grieved to hear the news this morning. To me it seems like at the moment there is an endless stream of attacks across the world. Indeed, I show it earlier with the word ‘another.’ This is another attack. And it shouldn’t be. This extremist and brutal behaviour should not start to be normal.
It is so easy to think that events such as these do not directly affect you, and so you can ignore them. But it does directly affect each one of us. We are all humans. We are all brothers and sisters in faith. Every attack is not just an attack on that city or on that country. It is an attack on humanity.
No matter what faith we are, we must use the strength of our belief to bring us together. After such tragic events such as this, I am always struck by how much I see God in the aftermath. In the grief and shock, there is a binding force of unity. A binding force of love. In the flame of a candle lit in memory. In the bud of a flower just blooming which was left in memory.
This is my message to the French and to anyone else as angry and upset as I am this morning: Don’t give up hope. Use the hope and unity from Bastille Day to come together and be strong against terrorism. We cannot give into it, and this cannot become the norm. So keep fighting and keep praying.
Here are my prayers today:
Je prie pour les citoyens qui habitent à Nice. Je prie pour ceux qui ont perdu une personne adorée et que vous avez le temps de faire son deuil. Je prie que vous puissiez utiliser votre foi de s’unir, et de partager l’amour. Je prie pour les morts, qu’ils peuvent trouver une place de paix à paradis. Nous ne vous oublions jamais. Et finalement, je prie pour l’homme qui a fait l’attentat terrorisme que vous comprenez la peine que vous avez apporté à Nice mais que un jour, avec l’aide du Dieu, nous pouvons trouver le possibilité de vous pardonner.
I pray for the citizens who live in Nice. I pray for those who have lost a loved one and that you have the time to grieve. I pray that you might use your faith to unite and to share love. I pray for those who have died, that they might find a peaceful place in heaven. We will never forget you. And finally, I pray for the man who carried out the terrorist attack that you understand the pain you have brought to Nice, but that one day, with the help of God, we might find the ability to forgive you.