I need not add to the many words which have already been spoken and written about the series of bombs which exploded in Blizsta last Thursday, other than to add my voice to the many others expressing their horror at what occurred and my sympathies to the victims - direct and indirect - of the attacks. I will, however, take this opportunity to jot down a few words about the aftermath.
For much of the morning and early afternoon, the capital was bathed in a heavy and unforgiving rain, of a sort more naturally associated with Autumn than the middle of summer. People sat inside their buildings, radios and television sets tuned to the news, wondering what exactly had happened and what was to happen next. Men and women passing each other in corridors and on shopfloors grimaced at each other briefly, in what is perhaps the greatest expression of shared pain and deep understanding available to such a habitually phlegmatic people as the Albians.
In the afternoon, however, the sun came out. The people of Blizsta gradually moved away from the television screens towards their windows. Official calls to stay inside began to be ignored as more and more spotted the opportunity to head off early to be with loved ones or, as the case may be, to make a bee-line for the nearest hostelry to analyse the day's horrible events over a pint. By four o'clock the capital's main streets - which had been eerily free of traffic after being closed off by the police - were filled with crocodiles of people heading homeward, chatting with each other about "X in accounts" or "Y in the canteen" as much as the attack. Youths carried luggage for the elderly, rather than merely carrying it off. Policemen and women greeted passersby in a friendly and helpful manner, before offering assistance or directions with a cheery smile and a friendly wave. The whole effect was, I confess, most peculiar and had it not been for reports in the following days of certain hotels allegedly raising their prices ten-fold to take advantage of the stranded, I might have begun to believe I had somehow woken in the wrong city.