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In retreat

I really don’t do well with timezones and it takes me a while to recover. I was up early yesterday morning and nearly asleep by noon so the first few hours of the day are a bit of a blur. Something odd happened. I scrolled through my news update early that morning as I was having my morning constitutional (coffee) and read with some horror of the suicide bomb in Kabul, Afghanistan. I registered 60 dead and 350 injured with both the French and German embassies damaged in the blast.

Fast forward 18 hours and I was scrolling through Facebook because I couldn’t sleep. I must have scrolled through a dozen pages before it hit me. There was no mention at all of Kabul. Not in personal posts. Not in sponsored posts. Not in sites I subscribe to. So I thought to myself that I must have imaged what I’d read that morning. Perhaps I was more spaced out than I thought?

The site of a huge explosion in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, on Wednesday. Credit Shah Marai/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

So I checked. And yes.

In one moment, more than 80 lives ended, hundreds of people were wounded and many more were traumatized, in the heart of a city defined by constant checkpoints and the densest concentration of Afghan and international forces.

CNN  reported it. The Guardian had it, too.  Myriad news outlets from around the world carried the story and yet there’s no mention at all by anyone on my feed in Facebook. No standing in solidarity. No denouncements. Have we reached the stage where we are so inured to terrorism that we don’t feel anything unless it’s within radius? Or have we come to expect this from Afghanistan, so therefore it’s simply business as usual, just another day in a country that has seen 40 years of violence. But I took heart because I woke this morning to a FB post… asking Where is the minute’s silence.

This week’s latest terror attacks remind us that most of Isis’s victims in fact belong to the religion it claims to represent. It is important to note that the vast majority of Muslims not only condemn Isis but bear the brunt of its brutality. There is a sad irony in how the group which has the largest number of victims of terrorism are often blamed for it.

And then yesterday, arguably one of the world’s most powerful men told us how ‘loaded’ America is – more oil than Saudi Arabia, and more gas and coal than Russia. That he represents Pittsburgh, not Paris. The message I heard was ‘we’re alright mate – we don’t need the world’. The mind boggles at his logic, at his pulling out of the Paris Agreement, at his denial of climate change. And were he but one man, I’d say – whatever. Each to his own. But seriously?

I’m cranky. I’m hot. And I’m still jetlagged. So today, I’m going back to the village where life is uncomplicated, the air is pure, and hopefully the painter has been making progress. Thank God, I have that option.