There’s a mysterious song by John Prine that always raises the hairs on the back of my neck. In it he sings about Lake Marie, where, ‘standing by peaceful waters’, he would camp with his girl, catch a few fish and grill sausages on the barbecue. A place of simple happiness. But then, in the last verse, everything changes: watching the TV news he sees that the naked bodies of two girls, their faces horribly disfigured, have been found on the shore of Lake Marie, and suddenly:

All the love we shared between her and me was slammed,
Slammed up against the banks of Old Lake Marie!

That’s just how I feel this morning, hearing the terrible news from Nice, a beautiful city by the sea where the two of us have spent several joyful vacations – a love passed on to our daughter who goes there most summers, and will be there again in a few weeks.

A lifetime ago, in the late seventies, returning from a camping holiday somewhere in the Dordogne, the Tarn or the Auvergne, those beautiful, unspoilt regions of la France Profonde, we would stop in some small town or village on the 14th of July and watch as the fireworks lit up the night sky and the locals celebrated their national holiday.

That past seems like another country now. This morning I grieve for Nice, for France, and for humanity. Ordinary people living their ordinary lives have always been casualties of war, but since the start of the twentieth century wars have placed civilians more than soldiers in the gun sights. Whether it be by the technology of total war or the tactics of the suicide bomber.

See also

Nice: posts on this blog

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5 thoughts on “This morning I grieve for Nice

  1. You know and I and all of us are paying a lot of money for the UN. We should be pushing them like crazy to do something about the craziness that is going on. Especially in the US we have this picture of fat cats lolling around Geneva doing @#$% all. They’re supposed to be working for us, we pay them. Meanwhile the Italian navy is plucking all these people out of the sea.

  2. Gerry, I couldn’t find a general comment/contact box so putting this here.
    I have noticed that you have grown silent after a flurry of lengthy posts, and was wondering if you are alright? This mornings news (24/5/17- GMT+12) Ieaves a hole in the heart but you know it is remote from me, although I can relate a little as I was in Christchurch when it fell (I realise it’s not the same – we accept natural disasters more easily). Anyway, I hope you are not directly affected and will find the strength to put together one of your reasoned and rational posts that are a worthy counter to the sensationalised, narrow focus that comes from the mainstream media.
    Kia kaha!
    Kia manawanui!

    Kind regards
    Graeme

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