I was in my mid-teens, when I had my first experience with terrorism. On 27th July 1990 Trinidad was taken by surprise when members of the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen, led by Yasin Abu Bakr, staged an attempted coup. I was at home as events unfolded. In the aftermath, there was a state of emergency. The country was under curfew. Still in true to the spirit of Trinidad, there were curfew fetes (parties) and good cable TV. These are the memories of a child with dreams of travel, study and an amazing life ahead of her. Many years later, I arrived in Heathrow airport 9th September 2001, two days later there was terrorist attack in America. Then, I really knew a new type of terror. London was on high alert. There was a strong possibility an attack would be made there. My first trip to London from Cambridge was marred by and evacuation of the Victoria Bus Station. I was in the loo when the message came over the speaker! It was one of the scariest most vulnerable experiences I’d ever had known. Now, as an expat mum rising my children, the concern and fear creeps into my core. As an expat acts of terrorism can be all the more alarming, especially when children are concerned. Where to you turn for help? As the nation was coming to terms with the Manchester terror attack, the country reels from yet another attack. London was attacked. There were two incidents last night one at London Bridge and the other at Borough Market. The NSPCC’s advice for any child or young person upset and anxious in light of this news is for them to talk to a trusted adult, be it a parent, teacher or Childline.
As a young adult I had my journals to process my fears and the changes to life in UK. Its a bit tricky with little ones. If you are a parent or carer to a child or young person and you want to talk to them about terrorism the NSPCC advises:
- Listen carefully to a child’s fears and worries
- Offer reassurance and comfort and avoid complicated and worrying explanations that could leave them more frightened and confused.
- Help them find advice and support to understand distressing events and feelings.
- Children can always contact Childline free and confidentially 24/7 on 0800 1111.
Expat or not, these are scary times we live in. There are atrocities happening all over the world. We must be vigilant, careful and live life. There is further advice as well as video for parents on how to support children who are worried about terrorism is available via the NSPCC’s website.