BENGALURU: More terror attacks. From Peshawar to Paris to god knows where next. I wish the world had ended in December 2012. The cause for this pessimism is not just the recent attack, but the one that devastated me personally in 2013. For those who haven’t been in the loop, militants attacked this plush mall, Westgate, in the heart of Nairobi with bombs, grenades and subsequent firing. The cause? As illogical and inane as that of any other terrorist attack. To avenge the Kenyan troops that invaded Somalia in 2011! Apparently, the extremists were also tweeting while the attack was happening with one of them saying, “The attack at #WestgateMall is just a very tiny fraction of what we in Somalia experience at the hands of Kenyan invaders.”
This elicited a personal reaction from me because someone dear passed away in that attack...and she left behind a mourning family comprising her husband and children aged 10 and 14 and an extended family of many. With teary eyes, I recall how I had met my aunt — the cousin with whom my mother grew up — for the first time three years ago in Nairobi. Her family took us out for dinner at the best restaurant in town and she further displayed her affection with a gift of love. Still reeling under the shock, I’m thinking of her loved ones and how they are coping with the loss. She was a great mother who deftly managed work and home, simultaneously undertaking competitive exams, always keen on updating her knowledge because she loved to study and do new things. Despite being so remotely connected to her, I feel the tremors of her loss, I cannot even start to imagine what kind of a life her family lives now. And more importantly, she did not deserve an end like this. Nobody does.
This is why I wish the whole world had been wiped out in one apocalyptic moment in 2012. At least that way we would’ve had the time to meet our dear ones with foreknowledge, be in the same space as them and fully express our love knowing this is the last chance we had. We now live in fear of a bomb going off everywhere we go — a mall, a crowded local train, a desolate taxi even, a subway, our offices, a popular eatery. Danger lurks everywhere and no place in the world is deemed safe. I fear dying in a bomb blast. Without knowing it’s coming, without seeing the faces of my family and friends, without taking that last deep breath, and without saying ‘I love you’ to those I love.
Who can stop terrorism? No one. How can it be stopped? No one knows. If nothing, it has increased over the years with terrorists becoming stronger by the day. More tech-savvy, better equipped, trained and cleverly blended with the rest of us. It is no longer possible to typecast them for they may be one of us. We all shrug with no answer to this. Fearing a sudden demise, we can spend all the time that we have in the company of those who matter to us and make the most of every human interaction. But is that all we can do?