Beach bums, bomb blasts

Erin Roof

It was supposed to be idyllic.

I was lying in the sun in a little beach town near Nice, France, with Walter, a very attractive Dutch social economist/surfer. I was soaking up the scenery, and enjoying Walter’s semi-nudity, when I sat up and looked across the Mediterranean Sea.

Between sun bathing and swimming, I had practically lived by the shore for the last two days. The crisp, aqua blue waves were images I would dream about regularly during bleak Ohio winters, and summers, and springs . . . and falls. I loved being back in their company once again.

But this time the waves looked different. I couldn’t help but think about the horrors taking place on the other side of the Mediterranean. While I was relaxing on the peaceful beach, bombs were blowing babies apart in Lebanon. Houses were being destroyed, and lives were being ruined. I felt so guilty that I was working on my tan in the French Riviera while people just like me were living through war just an arm’s length across the water. It didn’t seem fair.

I often don’t realize how lucky I am. Living in a cushy little college town like Kent, disasters such as those in Lebanon can feel numbly distant. It’s not my home town. It’s not my family.

But the reality is coming closer to home.

I spent most of the summer working in London. The city itself has a long history of violence with World War II, IRA bombings and last summer’s terrorist attack. I even worked with a woman who was on one of the tube trains that was bombed in July 2005, but this didn’t seem to affect me. It didn’t happen to me. I wasn’t there.

My flight back home left me in one piece. My luggage was another story — but at least I was OK. The next day I read in the newspaper about a plane from London’s Heathrow Airport being delayed because a passenger was registered on the “no fly” list.

“I’m sure this happens all the time,” I thought. I even laughed to myself thinking that I should have been afraid when I flew because of all the terrorist paranoia running rampant in the States, but I wasn’t.

A few days later, news broke about a terrorist plot to hijack planes flying out of London. Suddenly perfume and nail polish became scary tools of terrorism, and I wasn’t laughing anymore. I spent the rest of the week walking around in a daze. That could have been my plane. That could have been me.

We are living in a volatile era. It seems like there are more power- hungry creeps building nuclear bombs than I could shake a stick at. And the biggest power-hungry creep of them all, the United States, has more weapons than anybody. The worst part is no one likes to talk diplomacy. I mean, why should they when they have already spent so much money on their fancy killing machines? It makes sense.

Cultural differences are being settled with bang-bangs instead of conversation. Only, caught in the middle are people like you and me and those babies in Lebanon.

Erin Roof is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].