Code Amber

Last night as I was visiting my neighbour, her Canadian friend commented on the alert that was issued yesterday. Apparently Europe is a target for terrorist attacks and all Canadians (and I imagine other world-citizens not directly plotting  these attacks) are reminded to remain vigilant on their travels.

What I find mildly amusing  is that the US issued the warning not for anywhere specifically but you know Europe. In General. Thanks US intelligence! (Also the fact that Osama B himself might be behind the planned attacks… Really do we care whether he or his second-cousin-once- removed bears a grudge? If anything, if you know what plans he makes, could you expand your feelers a little further and see if you can locate the man? )

Still the friend admitted to being a little worried about these recent developments, especially living in a city like London.   Me and my neighbour were more relaxed about it: she moved from New York to London so she didn’t choose to actively decrease her terrorist attack risks.  I in turn remember having to pick up my boyfriend at the time from the airport when they were being patrolled by tanks (Yes that happened 2002/2003.) and I once was waiting for the train at Kingston train station when we were literally held back from the platform by two men and red tape. There had been a bomb-alarm  and I couldn’t help but think that these two men and 6ft of plastic tape weren’t going to soften the blow…  Or the time that I arrived at home at one of the smallest airports you can imagine and they all escorted us out… but let us wait  meters from the building for about 30min before leading us elsewhere: the building next door.  Health and safety, kids!

Point being that if such a thing as an attack should happen, it comes pretty unexpected and you will just have to deal with things as they come.  I like my mother’s attitude to terrorist attacks: when I called her from the Kingston station to explain my predicament, she could only suggest that I would find a fat person to hide behind. (Oh shut up you PC police!)  When I visited Israel by myself years ago, she was perfectly fine with it as the political situation was relatively stabel. Liberal mother? Absolutely, but see when I expressed the wish to visit Rio de Janeiro, she was worried: mostly about me being kidnapped or shot.  When I pointed out that a few months earlier I had an increased risk of being in a bombing, she sighed and said: ” Yes I know, but that would have been so much less personal.”

There’s it is: there is no need to chase death. Fact is that death kind of automatically happens at the end of life: whether you stay in your bomb shelter in the middle of nowhere, with which I mean Wales, or whether you just go out and live life as you know it.  Having said that, deciding to fly out to Afghanistan to prance around dressed in nothing but the American flag is probably riskier than taking the London tube in the morning.

In my personal humble opinion: unless Osama B has some serious personal beef with you, generally you should be ok. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time happens, but you can try to keep yourself safe: use common sense, be alert and stay away from American presidents.

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