Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dealing with threat

I was in London as the street car bombing terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow were foiled. I must say I was pretty chastened at the thought of Baghdad tactics arriving in the U.K. I was also in New York on September 11 and watched from my Hudson Street office as two planes flew directly in front of me on their way to destroying the World Trade Center. The incident with a bomb being discovered outside London’s Tiger Tiger club turned my stomach at the horror man is prepared to inflict on fellow man.

I left London to spend the weekend at my house in St. Tropez. You would think that was about as far away from terrorism as you could get. However, at 1:30am that evening, I was woken up by a panicky neighbor, yelling at me to get out of the house because of a fire. Having lived through countless false alarms in hotels, I’m afraid I didn’t take it too seriously. I picked up my passport, credit cards, and briefcase and leisurely made my way through the front door. “What fire?" I asked. Phillipe Jacques pointed to the whole hill behind the house, ablaze with orange flames 20 feet high and spreading like crazy as the mistral blew it through the area I live in. “That one,” he said.

Two neighbors’ houses were directly in the path and we were all rushed down to a security point. Twenty-five fire engines (yes, twenty-five) were on the scene within minutes, followed by a dozen police cars. Two hours later, the fire had been controlled and extinguished by incredibly competent and brave firefighters. The police had also caught two perpetrators; two arsonists had a grudge against the estate on which I live, and had taken it out by setting a random fire, which could have destroyed property and human lives. Many of the people involved were shocked and panicked by this incident and the inhumanity of the arsonists. We need to find a solution to all this somehow.