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HELL ON EARTH

TERESA DA SILVA
The month of July was riddled with brutal and barbaric attacks causing mass destruction and loss of innocent lives. These were the actions of terrorists who profess some kind of devotion to a god. As a result, the religion they have profaned is being severely ostracized as are its many devotees. Social media show that repercussions have extended to other religions namely by those who claim to be atheists.
Personally, I think they are deranged, blood thirsty creatures who will use any excuse to watch others suffer and it is under this assumption that I say that Portugal has been under a massive terrorist attack during this week.
According to an unknown source, around 50 thousand acres have been devastated by wild fires from the 6th to the 10th August 2016. Mass destruction, innocent lives taken and helpless victims – is this not terrorism? Different but no less lethal.
Looking up we can’t see the sky – only grey smoke clouds and an angry red-orange spot. Everything is covered in ashes. The air is thick and difficult to breathe in. Wildfires have been raging since Monday in a circumference of 20 to 30 kilometres from my hometown. Hundreds of fire-fighters are working nonstop to extinguish the flames and help those caught in this tragedy. 
If a religion is supposed to be responsible for the former attacks who or what is responsible for the latter? Religion, ambition, revenge? I reiterate mental disorder which brings me to the question: How are we going to spot this insanity?
I don’t have an answer. Of course, we can make stricter rules and stronger punishment but will it really help? I truly can’t say. What I do know is that we, the Portuguese, have to come together to end this. We MUST ensure our children’s heritage, all of it!
For starters, the government, appointed by the voters in general elections, could try: permanent institutionalisation for pyromaniacs, harsher punishment for all those involved in these crimes, intentionally or unintentionally, stricter rules for the forestry and lumber industries, steeper fines for lobbyists and their prey and much more.
Then, we, the people (the voters and non voters) MUST make the long-term commitment to love our country – its glorious nature, its magnificent cultural heritage, its captivating climate and its loveable people -, to admire our forefathers and follow in their footsteps, to condemn corruption and hold the culprits liable for their actions and to step forward when action is necessary instead of judgementally criticising everything and everyone.
Despite the troubled times, we still have one of the best countries in the world to live in. It’s not rich but it’s beautiful. It’s not big but it’s safe. It’s not fully equipped but it’s peaceful. What more could we want? Were it not for the fires and we’d almost have heaven on earth in this little piece of the globe.

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