I was sitting in front of my open windows. Traffic roared past or stopped, depending on the changing traffic lights. In front of the house and next-door, builders were busy drilling away, churning stuff to fill holes and cracks, while others were sanding or filling woodwork and mixing paints.
At the back of the row of houses, various sorts of saws were whining and chomping through wood and metal. There was hammering and knocking indoors and outside.
Breaks screeched. Someone started yelling. Horns honked, as the heat made drivers impatient. Various radio stations drifted in and out of my life, as cars with open windows stopped, waited, drove away again.
Suddenly, I looked up. This noise was hardly able to make itself heard above the buzz. The busy life droning on, nearly muffled it completely.
It was a church bell, tolling steadily in a solemn rhythm.
This morning, as I was getting up, a voice from my bedroom radio had bleated: “Today is a day of national mourning. At regular moments throughout the day, church bells will toll.”
It continued with a sketch of how the national mourning was going to be expressed. Flags would hang at half-mast in front of all government buildings. At the airport where the recovered bodies would be flown to, the King, Queen, Prime Minister and other dignitaries – not to forget who ought to have been mentioned first: the relatives and friends of the victims – would observe a few minutes silence and the proper protocol would be followed.
Then the voice warned drivers, parts of motorways would be closed down that afternoon. The convoy of cars with the first group – or all – of the recovered bodies, would drive from the airport to the place where identification would start. I killed the radio.
The bodies which had been found, recovered, released at last – after a most disgusting wrangling – would not be handed over to their family, relatives, friends. These would have to wait.
For the recovered remains would need to be identified and also be searched for evidence, to try to establish what had happened during the last minutes before death.
And it was not even clear if all bodies had been recovered and released. Plenty particles, much of what had not yet been stolen of personal belongings, most of the wreckage, remained behind – for anybody to interfere and tamper with.
Life had come to a stand-still for the victims’ families and friends.
The church bell had stopped tolling.
Around me, traffic noise and building work had not stopped for one moment.
A day of mourning?
For a few, yes.
Not for the power-mad idiots who were involved in downing the plane and were now focussing on “damage control”.
Nor for the money and profit orientated majority in the rest of the world.