Not Nice…

It is so sad that terror hounds are choosing days, which have long stood as symbol of public liberty and freedom to target and kill innocent citizens. The game is more dangerous than it appears….it goes beyond killing for a self-entertained and self-prophesied cause; it is actually muddling the public memory of an important day, with a day one wouldn’t like to remember.


On June 12th 2016 a shooter enters a LGBT Night Club and after rounding the people up just shoots them, leaving 50 dead and 53 injured. The Club named “Pulse” saw the ebbing of life of people who had come to live it their own way and ‘pulse’ of the unsuspecting victims coming to a dead pause. The attacker, Omar Mateen, a 29-year old man from St. Lucie Florida, was born to Afghan parents in the States. SWAT Teams took three hours to storm the building and shoot him dead.


CNN describes the scene inside the Night Club: Pulse describes itself as “the hottest gay bar” in the heart of Orlando. Hours before the shooting, the club urged party-goers to attend its “Latin flavor” event Saturday night. The club is a vast, open space that was hosting more than 300 patrons late Saturday and into Sunday morning.

People inside the cavernous nightclub described a scene of panic made more confusing by the loud music and darkness.

Orlando image

“At first it sounded like it was part of the show because there was an event going on and we were all having a good time,” clubgoer Andy Moss said. “But once people started screaming and shots just keep ringing out, you know that it’s not a show anymore.”

Christopher Hansen said he was getting a drink at the bar about 2 a.m. when he “just saw bodies going down.” He heard gunshots, “just one after another after another.”

The gunshots went on for so long that the shooting “could have lasted a whole song,” he said.

When the shots erupted, Hansen hit the ground, crawling on his elbows and knees, before he spotted a man who had been shot.

“I took my bandana off and shoved it in the hole in his back,” Hansen said, adding that he saw another woman who appeared to be shot in the arm.” (Source- CNN, in italics)

Stop the Hate

“We know enough to say this was an act of terror and act of hate,” President Obama said in an address to the nation from the White House.


On July 14th 2016 a large truck driven by a French-Tunisian tore into the crowds on Promenade des Anglais, the main street in Nice, mowing down people who had gathered to watch fireworks. It left 84 dead and 308 injured. What increased the number of people killed was the manner in which Lahouaiej-Bouhlel the driver, drove the truck in a zig-zag fashion to mow down as many people as possible. It was the celebration of the Bastille Day, when a crowd of almost 30,000 had poured out to watch the fireworks and the aerial display by fighter planes of the French Air Force celebrating the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution.


2016_Nice_attack Route

The Telegraph News has captured some of the eyewitness accounts; “The manager of Le Voilier Plage restaurant in Nice described the panic as revelers learnt what was happening. He said: “Just as the fireworks finished we saw a lorry drive on to the pavement. There was a massive panic – there must have been somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 people on the Promenade des Anglais. There was an awful panic, people were running everywhere. We provided a refuge for some people, mothers, children. There were people lying on the ground who were injured or worse.

Nice Victims

“There were children in tears.”

A man identified as Manon told Nice Matin newspaper: “The driver had made up his mind, he was going to crash. The van drove on to the pavement. It passed two metres away from us. I saw people lying down  I saw a small child on the ground.”

Joel Fenster, a 23-year-old law student from north London who is in Nice for a language course, told The Telegraph how he and a friend ran for cover after hearing gunshots.

“We went to watch the fireworks on the beach and then after we knew there was meant to be a concert so we were walking round to the promenade. It was a perfectly normal night,” he said, speaking from his apartment in Nice.

“Suddenly everyone started running in the opposite direction to us, and ducking down. It seemed like there was someone coming – there was a strong sense that we needed to get away. So we started running away from the beach, inland towards the old town.  We heard the gunshots – initially one, then later two more.”

British holidaymaker Esther Serwah, 59, was staying in a hotel a short walk from the scene, Peter Allen, in Paris, reported.

She said she had been on her way to the Promenade des Anglais for dinner with her daughters when people started screaming at her.

Mrs Serwah, from Surrey, said: “I was just walking to the Promenade and then I saw everybody running and I just didn’t know what was going on. People were screaming at me in French but I didn’t understand.


“Some people were lying on the streets dead and people were running over the bodies. Everybody was saying it’s a terrorist attack. It’s just horrible, horrible, horrible. I’m in shock. I’m still shaking.” (Source-The Telegraph, in italics)


On Saturday July 23rd 2016 a teenage attacker with German-Iranian citizenship, opened fire and killed 9 school-children at the MacDonald’s restaurant outside the Olympia Shopping Centre. The motive was unclear and the attacker shot himself too.


The Guardian says- The UK’s Foreign Office issued an alert warning British citizens in Munich to follow the instructions of the authorities. Speaking at the UN in New York, Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, said: “Everybody is shocked and saddened by what has taken place. Our thoughts are very much with the victims, their families, with the people of Munich.”

“If, as seems very likely, this is another terrorist incident, then I think it proves once again that we have a global phenomenon now and a global sickness that we have to tackle both at source – in the areas where the cancer is being incubated in the Middle East – and also of course around the world.”

The French president, François Hollande said the Munich shooting was a “disgusting terrorist attack” aimed at stirring up fear across Europe. “The terrorist attack that struck Munich killing many people is a disgusting act that aims to foment fear in Germany after other European countries,” Hollande said.

“Germany will resist, it can count on France’s friendship and cooperation,” he said, adding that he would speak to Merkel on Saturday morning. (Source- The Guardian, in italics)


On July 25th 2016 morning, a gunman opened fire at Club Blu, a Fort Myers Night Club in Florida , which was hosting a “Swimsuit Glow” theme party for teenagers. The firing left two teens dead in the parking lot.

Club Blu

(All images from the Internet)

What all these attacks display is that:

  • The world is increasingly becoming unsafe
  • Anything can happen to anyone at anytime
  • Attackers owe allegiance to mainly one religion
  • One terror organization is serving as the ideology to terrorists
  • Gullible youth are taking it upon themselves to launch terror attacks
  • Refugees in first generation, terrorists in the second
  • Mainly citizens of developing countries are being targeted
  • Repeated attacks are being undertaken in the same countries
  • Some Religious Speakers in different countries are spreading hatred and intolerance

It is time for all peace loving people, organisations to stand up and unite in the fight against terrorism. Governments definitely have a huge responsibility, but the best peacemakers are individual citizens themselves. The media too cannot escape responsibility for 24 X 7 coverage of negative news, while there is no mention of positive news.

Many good things are also happening in the world and many good people are setting examples by their bravery and sense of responsibility. Some focus is required on the goodness of life to create human goodwill!

All nations have to unite for peace! Each individual has to feel peace in heart and has to work for peace, if we want peace in our beautiful world!


Night of Disquiet in Istanbul…eventually it is ‘Peace’ !

It was the September of 2011 when I last visited Istanbul, Turkey, for a Conference. I loved the freedom in the air, the liberal attitude of Muslim families and the warm outgoing character of Turks.

The city is beautiful and the people so different. They did not wear their religion on their sleeve and I saw only 5% of the women wearing Burkhas. The rest were as fair and as modern in outlook as their European counterparts. The Turks were proud of their history and appealed to me as a friendly people. The family of my Turkish friend invited me home, took me out to dinner, and her brother even offered to look for a Turkish life partner for me. We became brothers as he felt so much for me. I even thought for a moment I could settle down in Rumi’s land.

In fact I still carry the photograph of the sunrise over Bosphorus as the mast head of my Facebook account.

The Haiga Sophia, Church for a thousand years, mosque for the following five hundred, is now a national memorial—a truly secular building. What impressed me most was that both the mosaic of Mother Mary with Infant Jesus and the Mihrab & Minbar exist together in the main prayer hall, despite the change in rulers and ideologies. No one community in power had even thought of destroying the images and holy relics of the other religion. They just built around it. This is a real tribute to the Turkish spirit of brotherhood, tolerance and acceptance.

Haiga Sophia

(Image from the Internet)

Similarly, in the museum at Top Kapi, I saw personal belongings of Prophet Mohammad and the Staff of Moses, reverently and proudly displayed. I learned that Mozart had composed the “Abduction from the Seraglio (Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Serail)” based on the romantic story of captivity, attempted escape and later release of Constanze and Belmonte, by the then Pasha Selim.

Why I am mentioning this is because I want to quote two sentences of Pasha Selim, which reveal the Turkish character— Pasha Selim to Belmonte: “Take your freedom and take Constanze. Sail to your homeland and tell your father that you were in my power, but I granted you freedom so that you could say to him that it was far greater pleasure to requite a suffered injustice with good deed than to repay vice with vice,” and later to Osmin “…those you cannot win by kindness and good deed one must do without.” (Mozart’s the Abduction from the Seraglio by Burton D. Fisher).

The failed coup in Turkey, was a coup when the might of the rebel military was defeated by the sheer spirit of the Turkish people. Images of the “Tank Man”, a Turk standing bare chest before a tank, forcing it to stop its advance, and then lying down before its wheels is a picture of exemplary nationalism, courage of conviction in peace!

Tank Man

The dark night of Friday the 25th July 2016 will long be remembered for being the night of the people. It demonstrated that there is no power stronger than the power of a people who believe in freedom and peace.

People of Istanbul


Might of the People

(Images of the coup night from Internet)

Did the people of Istanbul hear their Sufi poet Rumi call out to them?

“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep!”

(Quote courtesy:

The people of Turkey have stood up in support of their President Recep Erdogan. We hope that the Turkish Government under him shall ensure a peaceful Turkey for the life-loving, peace cherishing people of Turkey!

A travelogue written by me on Istanbul…The Golden Horn in INDIA OUTBOUND Magazine June-August 2012 issue, pages 41-46, can be read on link: