Terror attack prevention ‘must examine motivations’

Christina Lamb speaks out ahead of her Lismore Immrama Festival of Travel Writing address

 British journalist Christina Lamb is to speak at next week’s Lismore Immrama Festival of Travel Writing. File photograph: Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

British journalist Christina Lamb is to speak at next week’s Lismore Immrama Festival of Travel Writing. File photograph: Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

 

Efforts to prevent terror attacks such as the recent assaults in London and Manchester must involve an examination of the motivations of those responsible for them, according to an award-winning foreign correspondent.

Christina Lamb, who is due to give a keynote address at next week’s Lismore Immrama Festival of Travel Writing, which has the theme Emigration, Exile and Slavery, said the attacks in London and Manchester highlighted the difficulties facing Western society in combating those with extremist views.

Ms Lamb, who has reported from some of the world’s most troubled regions in her work as chief foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times, said the attacks reinforced yet again the vulnerability of citizens in the UK and elsewhere.

“The awful attack on London Bridge was right next to The Sunday Times office, so it couldn’t have been closer, and the week before that I was in Manchester, which is not somewhere that usually falls within my remit, so it is very strange and very sad to see these things happening here.

“Nowhere is safe now and these attacks can happen anywhere, with people turning trucks and kitchen knives into weapons, and that’s really difficult to stop, but you have to start looking at why people are feeling this way and are being convinced this is something they want to do.”

Refugee crisis

Ms Lamb, who was speaking on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One, said she will be speaking at Immrama about her most recent book, which tells the story of a young Syrian refugee who fled her country and has carved out a new life for herself in Germany.

“At the festival, I will be speaking about my most recent book, Nujeen - One Girl’s Incredible Journey from War-Torn Syria in a Wheelchair - I met Nujeen when she was 16-years-old, she’s now 17, she is the most remarkable girl,” said Ms Lamb.

“She has cerebral palsy, which means she cannot walk. From Aleppo, she made it to Germany with her sister and they ended up near Cologne and she is now going to school for the first time - she has already picked up German and she has a brace on her teeth which she is very happy about.

“The situation has changed, however, as when they first arrived there, the refugees were very much welcomed; people were coming out and applauding them, but there have been a series of attacks in Germany and that has turned a lot of people against the refugees and made it difficult for them.”

Ms Lamb, who has previously won an Amnesty International award for her reporting from inside Libyan detention centres, is due to give the address on June 17th as part of the 15th edition of the Co Waterford festival.

Among the other authors due to speak at the festival, which runs from June 14th to June 18th, are Terry Waite and Colm Tóibín.

For further details on Lismore Immrama, please visit the festival’s website.