|Mass protest rally in Copenhagen |
February 16, 2015 [Image Source]
This Ongoing War..
17 February '15..
As parents of a child murdered in a terrorist outrage, we have received a great many letters and cards (and their electronic equivalents) expressing sympathy and support. Coming from places and people not always known to us personally, they provided comfort especially in the earliest part of our experience of loss. We learned to appreciate the bonds of humanity and shared decency that sometimes get overlooked in ordinary life.
Dealing with grief's multi-layered impact on our lives, we have also grown familiar with expressions of Solidarity (with a capital S) directed at us by politicians and government officials... and the disappointment they can bring on.
Everyone knows, of course, that people in public positions tend to express themselves in formulaic ways. Most of us accept there are limits to how sincere and creative a busy person can be. But it's also because what they say sometimes reflects a superficial, even wrong, understanding of what it means to lose a loved one to violent hatred. But if you have no personal experience of it, how can you know? And it’s a hard subject about which to learn from books. Far too little has been written, or even said, about coping with the death of a child or partner at the hands of terrorists.
The most disturbing aspect however has been the chasm between the clichéd slogans offered to terror victims like us in the immediate aftermath of the attack and the little/nothing that is done later. No public figure wants to sound indecisive on something as headline-grabbing as terror. Our experience is it’s rare for them to back up those supportive statements with policy decisions and actions later. And later, in public life, is when it really counts.