It was Nimr’s sister, who escaped Syria a year and a half ago, that told us about the London Bridge attack. She had just read about it on BBC Arabic and called us in the middle of the night from her new home in Sweden, to check we were OK.
Reading us the facts down the phone – a white van driving onto the pavement, mowing down passers by – Alaa cursed the attackers, her voice darkening with rage as Nimr told her he’d been with friends near the area an hour or so before it had happened.
“We’re used to calling friends in the area when we hear news like this,” she said, remembering the years in Syria when word of another bomb falling would have them reaching for their mobile phones.
“And now we’re scattered across the world, we read the news and call London!”
Out of everyone I know, it is friends from Syria who know how those shattered by what happened on London Bridge last night must be feeling right now.
Praying that refugees like them don’t become further victims of this madness.