Day of remembrance - TennisForum.com
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 2002, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
gmt
Senior Member
 
gmt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: France
Posts: 2,361
                     
Day of remembrance

As I was standing on the threshold of a colleague's office, we heard a strong, weird noise, as though a cupboard had collapsed - only longer, deeper. Within a second or two, one would have sweared that a bomb had just exploded behind the classroom's door facing us. I opened the door, expecting some fearful scene behind, but nothing - the room was empty. Through the windows, nothing seemed to have even shivered.

The alarm tone resounded throughout the building and hundreds of people went out, swiftly but calmly. And there we were outside, looking at each other in disbelief. Some of us spotted a young woman in a state of shock. We were told that she had been like that before and that her crisis might be life-threatening if nothing was done. The nurse could not help, so I took her and a colleague in my car and out we went, heading to the nearest hospital, still not knowing what had happened. Somehow we knew that waiting for an ambulance would do no good.

The streets were a bit crowded, but nothing beyond a normal mid-morning. The hospital is on top of a hill. As we climbed the winding road, we noticed that dozens of cars were driving down, very slowly. I won't forget the sight of the hospital when we first saw it. All glasses were shattered to pieces, doctors, nurses, patients were running all over the place. So, it was not just one isolated explosion down there. There was no way I could park, so my colleague and the ailing lady stepped down in front of the emergency service. Later, I was told that she had recovered and was fine.

The hospital is within a mile from my office, but it took me 1 hour and 15 minutes to return. By then, I had heard on the news that there had been a big accident in a factory three miles away, and that glasses had been blown up throughout the city. Because of the depression following the shock, glasses seemed to have exploded from inside shops, stores, retaurants, and everybody downtown had thought of a series of criminal bombings. At some point on my way down the hill, I saw people with handkerchiefs on their noses. I seized one in front of me. It strongly smelt like ammoniac. I put it away. It was better to inhale ammoniac in the air after all.

That evening, students told me that they had seen a huge reddish cloud coming from the west, where the factory lied. I did not see it - I probably was "in" it with my car.

To this day, the reasons for this accident are not crystal clear, but it seems likely that it was, indeed, an accident. It might have been done purposedly, though. In that case, the guy who perpetrated the misdeed probably had no idea of the effect it would have.

30 people died that day or in the following weeks.

At the end of that week, together with students, we went to an estate housing area near the factory, so as to help if we could. The sight was unbelievable. Nothing had been spared inside the buildings. Bicycles were hanging across windows and baconies. Not one wall, not one door, not one cupboard was intact. A man of African ascent told us that he had been slightly wounded with glass, but did not go to the hospital, thinking that others needed it more urgently. I do hope that he went to a doctor's since then. Tens of thousands of people lost their homes.

Maybe the most terrible part of the story is the following. When you lose a dear one, the grief can be unbearable. You may never get over it. But there is a time for mourning, and then, perhaps, life can go on. 30 people died that day, as I said. 2,300 others were injured. Many of them lost their sight, their hearing. Arms, legs, fingers. Were left with devastated faces. Many of them were eldrely people, others young, teenagers, children. So yes, they survived. But their scars will follow them for many years to come.

Today at 10:17 local time, life stopped for three minutes, and we remembered how Toulouse, where life used to be so sweet, was blown up within seconds. It was on September 21, 2001. Ten days before, the world had been shaken by one of the most atrocious crimes ever. Thus, hardly anybody noticed what happened to the "rose city", as it is called in France. The sun is shining this afternoon, trees as enchanting as ever on the banks of the river, and people are as warm and welcoming as ever. But they don't smile quite as much as they would any other day. For dozens of years to come, there will be pain and scars in the flesh, in the eyes, in the souls. Life has resumed. This is a day to remember.

Pronouncing tennis players' names
and of course
Emoticons for the WTAworld web board

Nathalie Dechy
Gold Coast Champion 2003

Australian Open SF 2005
Australian Open Doubles Champion with Vera Zvonareva 2006

Rien ne me parlait plus que ton silence
Rien ne me parle plus que ton silence
gmt is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 2002, 01:58 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Haifa
Posts: 3,421
                     
that's awful gmt. I'm sorry.

It's too soon to aim for peace. Aim for better conflict management.

Lindsay is my girl
i-girl is offline  
post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 2002, 02:01 PM Thread Starter
gmt
Senior Member
 
gmt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: France
Posts: 2,361
                     
Toda i-girl

Pronouncing tennis players' names
and of course
Emoticons for the WTAworld web board

Nathalie Dechy
Gold Coast Champion 2003

Australian Open SF 2005
Australian Open Doubles Champion with Vera Zvonareva 2006

Rien ne me parlait plus que ton silence
Rien ne me parle plus que ton silence
gmt is offline  
post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 2002, 02:05 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Haifa
Posts: 3,421
                     
En Be'ad Ma . I'm pretty ashamed to say I didn't hear about the incident at all... I guess between sep.11th and our own terror attacks, we didn't pay enough attention to other people's tragedies... that's not right, so it's good you started this thread .

It's too soon to aim for peace. Aim for better conflict management.

Lindsay is my girl
i-girl is offline  
post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 2002, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
gmt
Senior Member
 
gmt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: France
Posts: 2,361
                     
It is quite natural, unfortunately.
Accidents or bombings killing 30 are, sadly, not so unfrequent. And even people living in other French cities find it hard to realize how deeply struck Toulouse was.
So don't be ashamed and thank you for sharing

Pronouncing tennis players' names
and of course
Emoticons for the WTAworld web board

Nathalie Dechy
Gold Coast Champion 2003

Australian Open SF 2005
Australian Open Doubles Champion with Vera Zvonareva 2006

Rien ne me parlait plus que ton silence
Rien ne me parle plus que ton silence
gmt is offline  
post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 2002, 02:25 PM
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Belgium
Posts: 3,639
                     

...
turt is offline  
post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 2002, 02:29 PM
Team WTAworld
Administrator
aka Nibbler
 
Josh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Atlantis
Posts: 5,919
 
It received big coverage over here.

I was amazed that an explosion in a factory could do so much damage to the city...it was truly an awful sight.
Josh is offline  
post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 2002, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
gmt
Senior Member
 
gmt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: France
Posts: 2,361
                     
You know, an odd side of the story is that I lived it, as told above, but did not see it happen. I do not have a TV set at home, and never watched extensive reports about the explosion and the first hours after it. What I saw - and still see - is what remains of the factory area. A vast zone haunted by skeletons of metal, and the sole remaining chimney, red and white, with the fateful letters "AZF" (the name of the company) painted in black on it. It is terrible to think that even though the factory will not reopen, its former workers had to come back every day in the weeks following the explosion to "clean" the site, knowing that colleagues of theirs had lost their lives there. Some of the survivors were close-by at the time of the explosion, actually. They were more lucky than others, but the memories must be so heavy to bear.

Pronouncing tennis players' names
and of course
Emoticons for the WTAworld web board

Nathalie Dechy
Gold Coast Champion 2003

Australian Open SF 2005
Australian Open Doubles Champion with Vera Zvonareva 2006

Rien ne me parlait plus que ton silence
Rien ne me parle plus que ton silence
gmt is offline  
post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 2002, 06:05 PM
Keeper of Venus & Serena
 
VSFan1 aka Joshua L.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Posts: 27,414
                     
gmt.....you should be an author. Because as I was reading it, I figured you had "copied and pasted' a passage from some book about nuclear war.

I'm so sorry for the grief the horrendous event caused and I can empathize with your emotons. On 9/11 last year, I was in a state of shock. To this day, when I hear voices of people from that day, tears well up in my eyes, so I can imagine it is the same for you to remember this hideous event in Tolouse.

Happy days to you


Loves of my life....
Venus Ebone Starr Williams
Serena Jamica Williams
a lifelong and devoted fan since 1996

Official Life Coach of the Royal Court
VSFan1 aka Joshua L. is offline  
post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 2002, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
gmt
Senior Member
 
gmt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: France
Posts: 2,361
                     
Thank you
I also feel for all those who suffered from September 11 attacks, firemen and others. A close friend of mine was in the second tower. Fortunately she survived and could reach her husband within hours - he was at his parents' in France at the time. But so many were not as lucky as she was...

Pronouncing tennis players' names
and of course
Emoticons for the WTAworld web board

Nathalie Dechy
Gold Coast Champion 2003

Australian Open SF 2005
Australian Open Doubles Champion with Vera Zvonareva 2006

Rien ne me parlait plus que ton silence
Rien ne me parle plus que ton silence
gmt is offline  
post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 2002, 06:33 PM
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
veryborednow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: here
Posts: 10,772
                     
This had quite a large bit of coverage here too, of course everyone got freaked out terrorism again.

The pics were awful, very scary

and where they produce desolation, they call it peace
veryborednow is offline  
post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 2002, 08:36 PM
California Dreamer
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Heights of Indignation
Posts: 557
                     
gmt, I am ashamed to say that I never heard or read about this terrible happening. I don't watch TV news anymore, but I do read the Los Angeles Times which is a fairly good paper, and does have a World Section, but I never saw anything about it. As you say, it is somethiing that will remain in the memories of all those who experienced it. I hope everyone will be able to find some way of coping with the awful memories.

John Dunne said it so well, No man is an island...each man's death diminishes me... I haven't quoted it correctly but you know what I mean.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love!
tia clara is offline  
post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 22nd, 2002, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
gmt
Senior Member
 
gmt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: France
Posts: 2,361
                     
Oh yes, I do, Tia Clara...
Unfortunately some do not, or pretend that they don't until they can't hide from reality any more - and then it is too late.

On a lighter note, here's a little fellow who misses his auntie:

Pronouncing tennis players' names
and of course
Emoticons for the WTAworld web board

Nathalie Dechy
Gold Coast Champion 2003

Australian Open SF 2005
Australian Open Doubles Champion with Vera Zvonareva 2006

Rien ne me parlait plus que ton silence
Rien ne me parle plus que ton silence
gmt is offline  
post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 22nd, 2002, 12:26 PM
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Saint-Denis, Réunion
Posts: 1,792
                     
Hard to believe it has been a year already. It was a tragic event. I wish all the survivors strength.

Thinking of Toulouse, and you gmt.
Double Fault is offline  
post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old Sep 22nd, 2002, 12:34 PM
Senior Member
 
gentenaire's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: land of the incompetent
Posts: 34,743
                     
gmt, like Joshua here, when I first started reading your post, I thought you'd copied it and pasted it in here.

I remember this tragic event, but not as vividly as I should because of 9/11.

Everything you do continues long after you've gone
gentenaire is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the TennisForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome