* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Monday, July 18, 2016

Nissa la Bella

Nissa La Bella 1Once again, my adopted country is in a state of mourning because some individual thought he was more in charge than anybody else of the personal destinies of as many people as he could touch.

While there have been recent similar tragedies in both my home and my adopted countries, now both my home state and my current region have been specifically targeted.

Yesterday, we took a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice to pay our own homage to the fallen along with many other locals.  I thought I would share the photographic impressions we brought back home with us.

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Grandma Fatima

The carnage started right near our church, which is where we also started our stroll.  Right away we came across the area where the apparent first victim fell, a devout Muslim woman just slightly younger than I am who had seven children and seven grandchildren. 

Two others of her family also perished, and another one is in a coma.

This seems like a poor way to start an action against the Infidel, I think.

As we went along, it was sad to come across posters of still missing loved ones. 

While we were reading these two, a film crew started setting up for a report.

We also noticed a number of Berkeley University T-shirts all over.  We didn't understand what that was all about.  Unfortunately, we learned this morning that while we were observing this story, one of the missing was being identified as not surviving.  As the film crew was Italian, and as the one was an Italian-descent student at Berkeley, we understood that we probably were witnessing a story for Italy on this unfortunate kid, who apparently made the third American victim.

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This fireworks show was a family event, so there were many children. 

So far, at least ten of them have perished, and five more are still just hanging on by a thread.  It even took several days to identify a young boy.  His mother has been found in serious condition, his father is still one of the unknown.

It was fairly obvious which of the memorials were dedicated to them.

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As we walked along, it was so heartbreaking to see memorials in the various spots where it was known people must have perished. 

However, some of them particularly struck us as beautiful tributes. 

Some were simple, some were more elaborate, some were for individuals, some were for small groups.

All were very moving.

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Along the boardwalk

The Prom has a really large sidewalk type of boardwalk, which normally makes a very pleasant and roomy area for pedestrians. 

The truck driver mostly drove up on the sidewalk, which may have had the maximum number of people viewing the fireworks out over the water.

I did not notice at the time that even the American flag has been put down at half-mast.

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In the street vehicle-free zone

However, when he got to the covered pavilions put there for shady comfort, he swerved back into the road, claiming more victims in the street. 

As everything was supposed to be a vehicle-free zone, nobody was expecting any traffic coming their way.

Many were able to push friends and loved ones out of the way, often perishing themselves, others maybe never even saw what hit them.

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End of the route for the truck, the driver, and too many innocents

Near the end of the route before the driver met his own fate, in front of a very posh hotel and casino, a whole collection of people apparently had nowhere to run and thus lost their lives. 

There was a huge memorial in their honor.

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No beauty

After seeing so many beautiful displays of various flower tributes, we were rather perplexed when we came across a rather plain and ugly spot.  We wondered why the person represented didn't merit candles or flowers. 

Then we realized that this marked the spot where the police finally managed to stop the driver.  Unfortunately, a police chief also died in the crossfire.

Rather than beautiful natural color, people collected the ugliest, dirtiest rocks they could find.  What a contrast!  A passerby spit on the collection while we were there.

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Several areas were apparently allowing group tributes away from where the victims were. 

One is the famous Negresco, another was the whole terrace in front of a restaurant.

A temporary official memorial was established at the center of the pedestrian area, where the fireworks were held.  The outpouring of love and sympathy was in full force.

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While many people brought flowers to express their sympathy, others sat in front of various memorials to contemplate and pour out their feelings of grief and loss.

I have no idea if or how many may have been there in person that night, but I would imagine it was too soon for most of those who lost somebody near and dear.

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Many others took the time to stop and write a personal note of condolence.

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It was not unusual to see a number of people bring candles and light them even in the middle of the day.

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A guy even went walking around leaving tea lights for those who hadn't brought a candle and wanted to light one.  A number of TV crews from other countries allowed people too far away to participate in the understanding of the situation.

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Near the central memorial, the city left the national motto on the electronic information street sign.

The area is very proud of its Niçois heritage and language.  They have their own anthem and refer to themselves by its title. 

Thus, there were numerous signs referring to being Nissa La Bella as well as statements in Niçois expressing solidarity with everybody else.

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Multiple faiths expressed their condolences:

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Faith in God will always be the best remedy for anxiety
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Muslim homage to the terror attack victims

Even street art containing several word plays was represented:

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A probable tourist's chagrin
And finally, I came across a few poignant notes I wanted to share:

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For whom will be the next flowers?

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Left on a railing

To you the man who cried, "TRUCK TRUCK!!!" I want to say THANK YOU!

To you the mother who has lost everything, I want to share your pain with you.

To you the tourist who is wounded to your depths, I want to say that we are here.

To you the pedestrian who saw everything, I want to say that life is beautiful.

To you who confuses extremism with religion, I want to say that YOU HAVE UNDERSTOOD NOTHING!!!

To you who lives with your lunacy and convictions, I want to say that we will continue to live and assemble.

It's up to all of us to continue living without forgetting.


  1. As I read this beautiful post I wept. I wept for your friends and neighbors, for the Cal Berkeley students, for the other tourists, for our world.
    Since Septemeber 11th, the terrorism and destruction, the tributes and shrines are too many. Each one added to the last becomes a burden of grief.

  2. Thank you for posting. Poignant, beautifully written. Illustrative.
    In appreciation,
    Praying in Texas.

  3. I, too, wept as I read this and looked at your, as always, excellent photos. We find all of this so unbelievable and, as we struggle here, with these horrible shootings of innocent police officers, our flags are at half mast everywhere. You did such a wonderful job of reporting on this and, again, we are so grateful you stayed home.

  4. I especially like the printed message - so true and so hopeful! We must cling to hope and faith as we are tested by hate.
    Thanks for sharing, Barbara.

  5. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing for those of us who cannot go in person. I was intrigued that there was a marker for the attacker as well, giving people a chance to vent their anger as well as sorrow for those lost.


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