When You’re Young and the Bombs Go Off
Yesterday, I read that Cypress is close to reuniting after 43 years of division. It’s not a done deal, but the final negotiations are in process.
I suspect that headline was meaningless to most Americans, but in 1991, I was in Athens, Greece, when a bomb went off two buildings to the west of us.
We were young, foolish college students on vacation from our semester in Germany. It was surreal to face terrorism so close by. The bomb was an attempt on the life of the Turkish ambassador. The Greeks and the Turks have fought over Cypress for so long, but we were completely unaware of the divisions that had plagued this tiny nation.
Our friendly desk clerk at our hotel filled us in on the history of the conflict. We listened intently with hearts thumping. It really felt like we had come close to dying for this cause when the boom went off.
Despite the initial fear for our safety, we recovered our calm too quickly and ventured out of the hotel. In fact, we were fairly dismissive of the whole terrorist attack — which may well have killed other people, we never read about it afterward to find out.
We left our hotel and headed to the Acropolis. The air in Athens was thick with a pollution that made us cover our mouths and noses with a hand in a futile attempt to block out the particles. In fact, there was a general smell of fuel oil.
Note: This was written with a timer set to go off after 15 minutes. It is not a complete essay. This note was written after the timer went off.