The fear of terror has been a part of daily life in the UK and the US for more than a decade now. Threat levels, security alerts and armed police units have long become a staple of our language and landscape. It's difficult to describe how liberating it has been to live in a country which until just a few days ago felt a world away from this reality.
Despite our EU integration Bulgaria, in many respects, is still a very isolated place. The country is a beautiful little corner of escapism at the Eastern edge of Europe. We're consumed with a Christmas list of domestic problems ranging from a low standard of living to corruption - rarely popping our heads above the sand to concern ourselves with the worries of the wider world.
All this changed two days ago when the chill of terrorist warfare hit our most peaceful and scenic coastal airports leading to a horrible human tragedy. In one instance, the suicide bomber in Burgas shattered both innocent lives and all notions of a nation isolated from world events.
Immediately afterwards came a saddening failure - the failure to unite as a nation and give our unequivocal support to the victims of the disaster. Such situations call upon this most basic human reaction of compassion with the subsequent need to discover the facts and deal with the consequences.
Instead, the aftermath of the event turned into an exercise in blame and self-pity. Where compassion was shown to the Israeli tourists, Bulgarian driver and all others affected by the event it was marred by the caveat of apportioning blame to whomever might be there to take it: the government, the media or even the nation as a whole. The result is that when the true facts are known they'll be so marred by sensation and politics that no real accountability will take place, leaving the suffering of the victims' families as the only lasting outcome.
It is disappointing to see that while as a country we're far from isolated, as a people we've not yet realised that some events are bigger than us; bigger than our pettiness. The only way to overcome them is to stand united as a nation so we can preserve the freedom we don't even realise we have.
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