Today we had to wait for the gas man. When he went we went to Asda. First we had dinner because everyone was so hungry. Then we went to the library. They have moved everything about in the library, so I didn’t know where I was looking. I got two more books out on top of the other five I’ve already got. We went shopping and met Mrs Rees my brothers old nursery teacher from my old school Park South. We came back and watched the news, more bad news.
I couldn’t remember what the bad news was so I had to investigate. I’m still not clear what particular story would have affected me on that day and prompted me to note this in my diary. However, there were several news stories in 1993 which changed the way I viewed the world.
The biggest news story of 1993, in my mind, was the murder of Jamie Bulger in February. Killers Jon Venables and Robert Thompson were only 5 months older than me. I can clearly remember trying to imagine boys in the class above me at school killing a child younger than my little sister and it really disturbed me. Adults doing bad things I could comprehend and I was well aware of ‘stranger danger’ but children killing each other plunged me into a new scary world.
I also remember talking about violence and racism with my parents following the murder of Stephen Lawrence in April 1993. Initial arrests were made in May but the CPS dropped the case in July and the killers went free. I couldn’t understand how anyone could kill someone just for being black and then the police let them get away with it. It took until 3 January 2012 for David Norris and Gary Dobson to be found guilty of his murder and some form of justice delivered. BBC story.
The IRA were very active in 1993, in March two bombs in Warrington, Cheshire killed two children and injured 56 other people and in April a bomb in London killed one person and injured more than 40. I felt quite safe in Swindon and very far away from the bombs but remember being upset about the Troubles. I think there was a programme on CBBC called ‘The Lowdown’, a kind of junior Panorama, which did a programme specifically about the situation in Northern Ireland.
On 25th July the BBC reported that the latest UN ceasefire in Bosnia had been broken with shelling from both sides in Sarajevo. This was two days before the peace conference due to take place in Geneva. Continued bombardment had caused talks to be postponed twice as Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovich refused to participate until there was a break in the fighting and Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said he would only attend if the president did. Ratko Mladic has featured in the news this year during his trial at the Hague for genocide and other crimes against humanity in the ‘ethnic cleansing’ which took place during the Bosnian Conflict. Guardian story.
In 1995 I would read Zlata’s Diary, a book written by a 10 year old living in Sarajevo from 1991-1993. I don’t think my diary from 1993 could have differed more.