‘Our thoughts are with the victims, the surviving relatives, the French people and its leaders.’ We have heard those words way to often from our Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the last 1 ½ years. Another French terror attack, this time in Nice, left the world in shock again. 84 people died, and we’re still counting, after a hit-and-run attack with a truck at the Promenade des Anglais of Nice, a place where normally many Dutchies celebrate their holidays. Let’s reconstruct the Dutch reactions, thoughts and consequences after this horrific tragedy.
Reconstruction of terror attack, via Nice Matin/Twitter
Reactions and thoughts
There are no dead Dutch victims yet reported after the attacks in Nice. Nevertheless, two Dutch kids got hurt in this incident, one girl of 14 years and one boy of 9 years. There are no announcements made about the injuries they have. The kids watched the fireworks with so many others at the boulevard at the end of the French holiday, 14 juillet. They were innocent victims, like so many others, at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The perpetrator of the attack was the 31 year old French Tunesian Mohammed Bouhlel, who seemed to be inspired by the realm of thoughts of Islamic State and their calls for action to wrench the western world. Dutch imams, alongside the Dutch protestant and catholic church, quickly condemned these so-called religiously driven attacks, trying to avoid the idea that the Islam in Holland identifies itself with the same kind of thoughts. The Council of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands (RMMN) therefore called the terror attack ‘the umpteenth disgusting attack in France’ and calls for unity among the Dutchies. Although Bouhlel seemed to be an Islamic extremist, he actually was a frequent user of alcohol, drugs, and pork meat, as his cousin told the Englisch newspaper the Daily Mail.
The moment the truck drives into the crowd
Dutch reactions from the Tour de France
The Dutch cyclists of the Tour de France had a confusing day after they found out about Nice. The day before they were stunned by a running yellow jersey on the Mont Ventoux and the next day they all seemed to be perplexed about something that was so much bigger than their little sport world. They all seemed to realize that, even though two Dutchies rode the time trial of their lives, only 300 kilometers to the northwest of Nice. Tom Dumoulin won the stage with more than one minute ahead of the number two, Chris Froome, and Bauke Mollema climbed to a unique 2nd place in GQ.
Dumoulin appeared to be really down after his terrific win and said he had ‘mixed feelings’, because of Nice. Therefore, the most important message he had to say to the world was: ‘We can’t let terrorists control our lives’ and ‘Sports doesn’t really matter right now’. These were true words, spoken by a man who is always very aware of the world outside his little bubble and showed us that he’s more than only a great cyclist.
Dutch terror threat
The Dutch national counterterrorism coordinator Dick Schoof said that there is no need to raise the national terror level and so it will maintain ‘substantial’. However, our counterterrorism organization and police will take a more thorough look at the measures that are taken, concerning big events. There were already more firm road blocks installed after the hit-and-run attack at Queensday in 2009, but they might have to take more similar measures.
Sea of flowers in Apeldoorn after hit-and-run attack, Queensday 2009.
Dutch terrorism expert Mari van Dorst actually thinks that taking more measures after a terrorist attack, won’t really help. She thinks that extreme security measures concerning big events, are undesirable for most Dutchies and that it’s an utopia to think you can ban any kind of risk. She says that preventive actions based on intelligence is the most important thing to do to prevent another attack instead of spreading fear thorough radical visible security measures.