Resilient response to Paris atrocities shows that good can overcome evil

It’s a nice enough Monday morning after a wild (weather-wise) weekend but l suppose it’s understandable that there is no other story dominating world headlines more than the terrible atrocity that took place in the French Capital, Paris, on last Friday night.

Over 130 people were coldly and callously murdered as they went about their ordinary everyday business, by Islamic state suicide terrorists, while another 352 were injured, with almost one hundred of them being in a critical condition.

Without being a medical genius, it’s safe to assume that there will be another good few fatalities from those injuries, so a night out at such diverse things as a soccer match, and a rock concert, or just having a meal or a drink, was to end for so many people in unimaginable tragedy.

As an ordinary Joe Soap who is no expert on international conflicts, and who doesn’t really understand who is to blame for allowing such a thing to happen, the huge fear is that it seems almost impossible to prevent such a random series of attacks from taking place.

Up to now there seems to have been some misguided reasoning behind their attacks like the one on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, but the terrifying thing about Friday night’s massacre was the fact that everyone and anyone was a target – men, women or children, it made no difference.

However the big thing for us all is to carry on doing all the normal things that people do and it does appear as if the population of Paris is resilient, courageous and determined not to let the terrorists bring down their city.

It’s another example of good defying evil, and hopefully good will come out on top. All we can do is remember the dead and injured in our prayers.

‘Drama in the hall’

Changing subjects entirely and many years ago when I was a young lad, before the arrival of televisions and all other modern entertainment gadgets, people came up with all kinds of ways to amuse themselves and we can all remember different acts coming regularly to the local national schools.

Punch and Judy shows were always popular, and there were magicians, clowns, jugglers and comedians (some not so magical or funny) calling every month or two, and as children we would always look forward to the visits of the travelling snow people.

Out in the world inhabited by the adults, local halls played a huge part in providing entertainment for the parishioners, and, in my time, I can recall boxing tournaments, badminton, indoor soccer, concerts, fashion shows, dances, discos (not in my time), and parties of every kind taking place in our local St. Mary’s Kilbegnet Hall. And of course there was the drama.

Over the years many many top class productions have been put on on the Kilbegnet stage, most of which raised badly-needed funds for several worthy causes, and all of which were staged in front of packed houses.

And so I am delighted to tell you that on this Friday night (20th) the Kilbegnet drama group are staging a three-act play by AJ Stanley in Kilbegnet Hall with doors opening at 8 pm.

It’s a poignant moment for the local drama group, as its their first production since they were devastated by the recent very sad deaths of two of their most prominent members, Theresa O’Rourke and Maria Maloney, and I ask you all to get there early and support a very worthwhile local effort. You will not be disappointed!

Remembering road accident victims

Back to tragedy, and yesterday was the World Day of Remembrance for road traffic victims, and there was a memorial service held in a Dublin Church, as family members of those who had died gathered to remember their loved ones by placing a leaf bearing their name on a tree of remembrance, and by placing a candle on the altar.

Each week some new families are left distraught and heartbroken by the tragic death of a family member in a road accident, and only last week we saw two young lady drivers, a male driver and a male cyclist, all killed in horrific crashes.

I don’t think any family, or indeed communities, ever forget or get over the effects of road traffic deaths, and one of the major factors in such accidents is excessive speed. I have many faults as a driver (or so I’m told), but speeding is not one of them, and, if anything, I am told that I go too slow.

And so this morning I conducted a little experiment on my way to work in Lynn Antiques in Athlone, and I was surprised at the results. I decided to stick rigidly to the 100 km speed limit and waited to see how many cars would pass me.

I eventually felt like the Pied Piper, with a long line of cars behind me, something I actually hate, and even though they had loads of chances to do so, believe it or not, only one driver sped by me.

And even that’s not fair, because having got past me, whoever it was didn’t put down the boot, but stayed just slightly ahead of me. Now it doesn’t prove anything, but at least this morning, motorists were obeying the speed limits, and let’s hope they continue to do so all the time, and especially, over the Christmas period.

From antiques to technological era…

The big news, before I finish up, is that today’s piece marks my first ever email, and so it’s a historic day for me (definitely worth a Christmas Party) and even more so for Serena, Martha and Martina and all the others who have had to try to decipher my scribbles over the last six years.

As I’m doing it on my new shop tablet, I have to thank Lynn Antiques for bringing me into the technological era. I don’t mean any of that last bit, but I don’t know how to clear this yoke yet, so I’m sure they’ll read this, but they can’t give out to me, as I’ve mentioned them twice.

* (This email breakthrough is truly a media milestone, a historic day – on behalf of all in the Roscommon People, thanks for making the move, Frank! – Editor).

And finally…

Finally for this week its hard to believe it, but on Saturday, 28th of November the launch of the 21st Barrie Harris Walk takes place in Mikeen Roarke’s in Creggs when the sponsorship cards will be given out.

Everyone who reads my piece will know how important the walk is for raising funds for very many charities so let you all come to Mikeen’s, get your cards, and raise as much money as you can. I will fill you in next week, so, from my first email…

‘Till next week,

Bye for now