It's been exactly 33 days since I last posted this prayer. Then it was for the people in Orlando, today it's for the people in Nice. I could have posted it often inbetween; since then, at least 1606 people have lost their lives in terrorist attacks (788 in the second part of June and 818 in July until Nice). Some with the highest death counts:

14/06 Mass execution at Lake Chad, Cameroon: 52 dead
16/06 Suicide bombing and execution in Sirte, Libya: 22 dead
17/06 Shooting at a funeral in Kuda, Nigeria: 24+ dead
20/06 Suicide bombing on Canadian Embassy Guards in Kabul, Afganistan: 16 dead
22/06 Clash between security forces and ISIS in Sirte, Lybia: 55+ dead
24/06 ISIS attack on a civilians village in Kot, Afganistan: 20+ dead
25/06 Suicide car bombing and hostage-taking in Mogadishu, Somalia: 15+ dead
27/06 June 2016 Mukalla attacks in Al Mukalla, Yemen: 50 dead
28/06 Atatürk Airport attack in Istanbul, Turkey: 44 dead (239 injured)
30/06 30 June 2016 Afghanistan bombings, Wardak, Afghanistan: 40 dead (50 injured)

01/07 Shooting and hostage-taking in Dhaka, Bangladesh: 24 dead
03/07 2016 Karrada, Baghdad bombing in Baghdad, Iraq: 308 dead (246 injured)
05/07 Suicide bombing in Al-Hasakah, Syria: 25+ dead
05/07 Mass execution in Um al-Housh, Syria: 40 dead
06/07 Suicide bombing and raid in Aden, Yemen: 25+ dead
07/07 Ali al-Hadi Mausoleum attack, Balad, Iraq: 100+ dead (75+ injured)
09/07 Mortar attacks and other attacks in Aleppo, Syria: 36+ dead (143 injured)
11/07 Suicide bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia: 30+ dead

And now Nice, France. A truck drove through a crowd of people on the Promenade des Anglais who were celebrating the French National Day. At the time of writing the death toll is 84. It will undoubtedly climb even higher than that. Another senseless attack, more senseless death.

I debated myself on if I should write about the Nice attacks this morning. I sat at my desk and pondered. I didn't write about all the above: the news only covered those in 30 second clips, after all--if that. Nice is right around the corner for me. It shouldn't matter but it does.

I sat at my desk and realized that I could write about nothing else today. Because I was affected. Shocked. Pained. I'm no longer surprised--this is the reality of our world right now. It'll get better eventually but right now, this is our reality. But I sat on the couch last night, catching Pidgey's around my house in Pokemon Go, and suddenly a perfectly average day was no longer average. I went to bed last night and held my girl a little tighter because I realized how easily it can all be taken away.

These attacks are not about leaving as many dead as possible--that strategy is outdated. This war is fought not in death but in fear. 'We can get you anywhere. You are never safe.' It's a message that rang loud an clear yesterday. How do you stop a lunatic in a truck from doing what he did? You don't. And yet, before it happens, you think you can. That governments can, that politicians can, that police forces can. But they can't. That is the sad and scary reality of our lives.

'We will take it all'. 

But they won't. You know, pretty much the whole of Syria is a post-apocalyptic wasteland of destroyed buildings and militants roaming the street. And yet, children go to school. Shops are open. Life goes on. They mourn the newly dead and pray to their Gods that they won't be the next one mourned. They accept life and move forward. I have so much respect for these people; people living--truly living--in warzones.

We don't live in warzones here, in the West, let me make that abundantly clear. What we experience is a vague, distant glimpse of that horror. Our news headlights--unless something like the Nice attacks happens--are about Pokemon. We are insanely privileged in most Western countries. And yet there are dead to mourn and lessons to learn. And there are questions to get answers for, guilty parties to find, scapegoats to blame. Politicians will fall on their swords and a national holiday will never be the same again.

No, I couldn't write about anything else today. And every now and again--hopefully few and far between--something will happen that will have me write about terror again. Because it matters. Nice matters, Yemen matters, Iraq matters, Turkey matters, Somalia matters, Afghanistan matters. And remember, people: these are the countries our refugees come from. These are the countries so many people want to send them back to. Countries where attacks like in Nice yesterday happen every other day--if they are lucky. That's why I get so angry sometimes at these blatant displays of privilege: just because these killing are far away does not make them any less deadly.

I weep for those who died in Nice yesterday, for those who died in terrorist attacks in the time between the Orlando shooting and the Nice attack, and for those who have lost their lives since: at least three so far; marine soldiers in Manilop, the Philippines. We live in a dark world but I refuse to be silent and I refuse to live in fear. If anything happens, it happens. I won't let them win, not ever. So say your prayers, pour your libations, mourn loudly and remember, but live. Live. Don't give them the satisfaction of seeing you change anything, of being afraid. Live your life to it's absolute fullest. If it gets taken away, then at least it will have been well spent!

"May Hermes Psychopompos carry the souls of the dead safely cross the river Styx.
May Hades accept them favourably, and may the judges judge them fairly.
May Asklēpiós tend to the wounds of the injured.
May Ares instill in them the passion of life, and the strength of a thousand warriors.
May Hypnos sooth their weary minds, and cloud them in sleep.
May Dionysos calm their terror.
May They offer the same to emergency personnel and passers-by who were witnesses.
May Dikē who weeps at the injustice done upon all touched by this tragedy, clutch the strong thigh of Zeus the All-wise, and beg of Him the severest of punishments.
May All-Mighty Zeus send winged Nemesis to administer swift judgement.
May Her judgement take from the guilty parties an equal or greater price than their victims have had to pay.
May Hēlios the All-seeing whisper truth to law enforcement, and guide the investigation swiftly towards those who conceived of this terrible crime.
May wise Athena led Her aid to them.
May Zeus the All-mighty bless those who ran not from the area, but towards it, in an attempt to offer aid to those wounded or dead.
May He look favourably upon those who ran away as well, as the will to live is at the core of every mortal's life.
To all Theoi: a last plea. To protect those whom the media will persecute, but are innocent of the crime.
To protect the innocent scapegoat from the actions of a species in the grips of fear and revenge."