No amount of flow­ers can fill the hole in the lives of rel­a­tives and friends of at­tack vic­tims

New Straits Times - - News -

AS bou­quet af­ter bou­quet were laid down on a pave­ment on West­min­ster Bridge, the scents of freshly-cut flow­ers from early sum­mer blooms brought not just a ris­ing lump to the throat, but the re­al­i­sa­tion that I have been stand­ing in front of flo­ral trib­utes one too many times and it was not a good thing.

The small mound of flow­ers was build­ing up fast not too far from where pedes­tri­ans were mowed down by a lone at­tacker in what was clas­si­fied as a ter­ror­ist act. Four peo­ple had since died from in­juries.

Fur­ther up, near the gates lead­ing to the Palace of West­min­ster, the at­tacker found an­other vic­tim, a po­lice­man, whom he stabbed to death with the two knives he was car­ry­ing.

There were flow­ers sway­ing in the wind along the bridge and on lamp posts.

The back­drop of Par­lia­ment — the seat of democ­racy with Big Ben tow­er­ing above — pro­vided a grim re­minder of the is­sues the law­mak­ers have on their hands now.

I stood there read­ing heart­felt trib­utes — hastily hand­writ­ten ones on pa­pers torn from notepads, beau­ti­fully crafted words of sym­pa­thy on cards — and it was as if I was read­ing the same words on flow­ers at King’s Cross in the af­ter­math of the July 2005 bomb at­tacks; at Kens­ing­ton Gar­dens out­side the gates of the late Princess Diana; and, at the con­course of Am­s­ter­dam Air­port Schiphol af­ter the shoot­ing down of Malaysia Air­lines Flight MH17.

All these were in mem­ory of vic­tims of acts by evil-minded peo­ple with their own agenda.

With what had hap­pened in Ger­many, France and Brus­sels, it was as if it was a mat­ter of time that Lon­don would be next, and it had been placed on high alert for some time.

In the 1970s, it was the Ir­ish Repub­li­can Army (IRA), but they had a dif­fer­ent ap­proach in in­still­ing fear into peo­ple and caus­ing chaos and de­struc­tion.

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