What has the world become?
The world I knew as a young boy is completely unrecognisable to the world I find myself living in today and that’s a bold statement considering I grew up on the outskirts of Belfast during The Troubles. Yes, as a child I seen bombs going of, I experienced the fear of being threatened by the Irish Republican Army as did my whole family. At times we couldn’t leave our home due to the ongoing riots and the British Army patrolled our streets to protect us.
But back then I grew up with it… I was used to it as a daily way of life. In fact I didn’t realise how the rest of the United Kingdom lived without the threat of shootings or bombings until I moved out of Northern Ireland to Scotland and found myself in a much more relaxed atmosphere. A story that still sticks with me to this day… I was 17 years old, my brother had just came back from serving in Bosnia and we decided to go for a few drinks down the local pub. Walking home 2 men attacked us… men I may add… mid 30’s. I was a 17 year old kid staggering home blazing drunk. They came at us asking what religion we were. We refused to answer and they attacked. Needless to say I was a big kid. I left one with a broken nose and 2 black eyes and my brother despite getting a hefty shiner sent his assailant packing too. But just to highlight how violent my home was they returned 15 minutes later with a hatchet and came at us. Being full of alcohol, and revelling in my ‘Rocky’ moment I went for the one with the hatchet…. I found myself doing a cartoon run… legs moving but I was going nowhere as my brother had a firm grip of my collar. ”Split up and run” he shouted. Needless to say we lost our pursuers and burst in on my father who was sat at his table drinking a cup of tea. We closed the door, turned out the lights and peeked out the curtains. Stalking the street were our 2 attackers. My father being old school picked up a metal bar and made for the door. Needless to say we didn’t let him leave the house even though he wanted to go out and protect his ‘kids’. Soon after the couple of men left having failed to track us down. We had a giggle about it and went of to bed. As an addendum we were in the pub the following night and who should walk in but the 2 men. My guts churned and I thought here we go again. The one I took on turned and looked at me through 2 heavily swollen bruised eyes, tapped his mate on the shoulder and promptly left. I was expecting them to return with a gang but no, they were gone. My father always told me when I was a child ‘When your old enough son, get the hell out of this country’. I did and found myself enjoying a peaceful existence without the threat of violence constantly simmering. I was 17 years old when that happened and that is the last fight I was involved in. I’m 37 years old now and haven’t been in a fist fight for over 20 years. I think leaving Northern Ireland played a big part in that. But now I can feel society slowly slipping back towards the chasm but on a whole different scale.
Today and the threat created by those terrorists committing atrocities in the name of Islam scare the shit out of me. What kind of world are we going to have in a the next 10-20 years when my daughter will be a young adult and starting to think about her future and making a family of her own. When you cant go to a museum in a foreign country or a coffee shop without being a potential target. Every waking moment now that ‘wariness’ of your surroundings, and the people around you will serve you well. An attack could happen at any time now and the wars of the future are not confined to battlefields but our own doorsteps.
Since the start of 2015 there have been 53 recorded terrorist attacks across the globe. The countries affected by terrorism so far this year…
Nigeria, Cameroon, Philippines, Tunisia, Mali, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, USA, Yemen, France, Lebanon, China, Ukraine, Libya, Denmark, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Sweden.
Over 3000 people have died as a consequence of these attacks. In 2 and a half months. To put that in perspective 3’600 people were killed in Northern Ireland over 30 years of The Troubles. Its a whole new ball game and now your attacker could be anyone. The man behind you in the shopping line, the lady on the bus in front of you with a rucksack or even the child running down the street.
Is it our fault?
I don’t know if this violence would have been borne without our Governments intervention in foreign conflicts and its not for me to say but hindsight is a wonderful tool and I certainly do wish we had of stayed out of Iraq, Afghanistan and various other power plays across the globe. Its too late now to become isolationist. maybe America had it right at the start of the 20th Century before being dragged into world conflict.
One thing I do know is.. its going to get a whole lot worse before it will get better.
Stay safe out there guys.