Tuesday, 17 November 2015

WE are NOT afraid...



For the first 25 years of my life I lived in New Zealand, a country that I consider to be one of the safest in the world. The French bombed the rainbow warrier in 1985 and as a result I joined Greenpeace and was anti anything French.

I moved from NZ to Australia where I felt as safe as I did living in NZ. Whilst living in Sydney I worked for Societe Generale and at the time of the interview felt that I was being interrogated to see if I was a good fit.  I passed the test and joined the family and  learnt a lot about the French from this experience. 

A year later I was living in Istanbul and having the time of my life . Whilst we were living there, the kurds started a series of attacks and for the first time in my life I felt scared. 

I become used to the idea of going through metal detectors when carrying out normal daily activities such as going to the local super market. The security at the office was more than you would see at a normal airport as I was working for Reuters and there is nothing a terrorist would like more than to carry out an attack on a news company.

After Turkey I transferred with the same company to London. London was like living a dream and I started to work on a large global project which required travelling to a variety of cities  outside of the UK on a regular basis.

One city that I spent a lot of time in was New York and the first time that I went I stayed in a hotel opposite the millennium towers and recall thinking to myself this really is a city that does not stop as the lights are on in the towers 24/7.   

The first day that I arrived for work in the Wall Street office, was like a dream. Kiwi girl working in wall street, it does no get much better than this I thought.

A few months later, I was back in New York but as fate would have it, I was working at the Long Island office on the day of the 9/11 attacks. The day in question was one of the most awful that I have ever experienced in my life and makes me cry just thinking about it.

The day after we drove into New York and had dinner, we were not going to let terrorists make us scared. As a consequence of the attacks Americans placed the American flag outside their houses and on their car mirrors. For me this is the most poignant memory I have and seeing cars with their  flags flying whilst in route to the airport made me sad and at the same time proud to see a nation joining together united in their grief.

A few years later, in 2003 we were living in the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai and were in the hotel, the day that terrorists placed a bomb in a car parked near the gateway to India. 

This time it happened on the doorstep and I had no idea that one bomb in the trunk of a car could cause so much damage.

That night, we walked along the causeway in defiance, we would not be scared by the day's events and would continue as we had done prior to the attacks.  We carry on with our life's after such a attack but life is not really the same and I would liken it to when we find out that Father Christmas in not real, something is taken away that will never be replaced.

By the time that the London attacks occurred in 2005,  I was only happy that I was not on a bus or on the tube when they occurred but developed a fear of the underground whenever the train stopped for longer than  a couple of minutes without prior warning.

The lesson that I have learnt, is that one cannot be afraid as this would mean that the terrorists are wining and we need to carry on with our daily lives, doing what we would normally do.

We have a trip to Paris, planned for early 2016 and we will not be changing our plans. I would urge those of you thinking about going to Paris to do the same as we cannot let the terrorists win.

Leeann x


4 comments:

  1. I would go there right now if I could. The Terrible Thing happened .. now is the time to stand by them and support them while they get back on their feet.
    God bless the French, God bless us all.

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  2. I agree. We cannot let them rule us with the fear they are trying to instill. We are planning a trip to Europe in spring 2016, not sure where yet but will not be deterred by the cowards of terrorism.

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  3. "He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo.
    Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic.
    Nothing is more sublime."

    - Victor Hugo

    Nothing will bring Paris and the French people down. Nothing. The only time Paris may be dark will be the day the Sun sets for the very last time.

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