There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen. there are times when you get all you desire. and there are times you don’t. These days in Galway, there exists an extra sense of satisfaction, to which we are unaccustomed. Perched here on the edge of Europe, we have often felt away from the centre of things, but still a part of the big picture.
But the past few months have given us a sense of what it is to be a European city. Our rugby heroes were feted through the streets, the likes of which you see in cities like Batrcelona and Munich at this time of the year. Our hopes of being recognised across the continent for the richness of our culture were exceeded when we won the bid to be the Capital of Culture.
And our football, hurling, camogie, and soccer teams are all doing us proud when they cross that line on matchdays.
There is a lot to be content with. If we look at ourselves in the mirror collectively, and commit the sin of pride, then so be it, we are entitled to it. It is a good time to be in Galway.
To be of Galway.
There is a hole in our hearts at what is going on in the world. Our minds have been inflitrated by images and thoughts of the most horrific kind.
Every single day seems to bring a new atrocity. Every single day brings an attempt to create the sort of mayhem and anarchy that was more at home in pre-biblical times. It is as if reason has gone out the window, and that no abhorrent act is too abhorrent. In the last few weeks, we have seen children mown down in Nice, gunned down in Munich, policemen and priests having their throats slashed in France. We are seeing schools shut down and teachers imprisoned in countries that aspire to be EU colleagues of ours. We are seeing politicians in our neighbouring country acting irresponsibly and recklessly in these turbulent times, for selfish reasons. We see politicians in the US spreading fear and hate for personal gain. And sadly we are seeing people in their millions believe these lies and implement that hate and prejudice into their own lives.
We know not when the next act of barbarity will occur, but it will occur and it is very hard to prevent. This new form of terrorism does not require guerilla training or foreign occupation. It does not even require a fastidiousness of purpose anymore. It is as we can download our own right to be mad with the world, and take the right to exact whatever revenge upon it that we feel is justified. More and more as people seek a meaning to their lives, we find that those who see little hope in creating one, instead choose a path in which there is a retroactive meaning to their deaths. Locally and internationally.
Every day, we do not know when this terror will come to our own doors. And yet it is selfish to think like that. We have to appreciate the fact that people feel terror all over the world in the face of evil. There are terrified children at this moment across the globe, screaming, hungry and fearful. It is as if two thousand years of civilisation has stood for nought when vast swathes of humanity live in such conditions. And are driven to such barbarity.
We have to hope that right prevails, that goodness shines through. Maybe the vast shift that has seen decades of stability disappear in just weeks, will be reversed. Maybe the state of flux we live in can be stabilised. Maybe we can convince the world again, like we thought we had, that acts of terror create a temporary fear, but leave a lasting legacy only in the death and injuries they bestow.
In this new century, the concept of globalisation of commodities and products means that even fear can be sold as a franchise. And sadly, it seems there are plenty of franchisees just too eager to take up the gavel.