real life

Julian Cadman was a little boy who looked like love. Now he's dead.

Julian Cadman’s little body was found not far from two ice cream shops.

Last Thursday afternoon was hotter than expected in Barcelona and maybe Julian and his mum, Jumarie “Jom”, were on their way just before 5pm to buy an icy treat. Maybe his little legs were tired after a long day of sightseeing. Maybe they were on their way home.

All the maybes. And, in the end, one definite.

Julian Cadman is seven and he’s dead.

He was killed walking down the world famous Las Ramblas promenade in Barcelona after being struck by a terrorist driving a van at high speed. Thirteen people died with Julian on Thursday. 100 are injured, many critically. His mother, Jom, is in hospital recovering from serious injuries and it is reported she doesn’t yet know her only child has died.

"Julian Cadman is seven and he's dead. In 2017 when tragedies are common place, I hope we remember him." (Image: Twitter)

There's no more bike riding for Julian. No eating ice-creams or playing with friends or putting his little hand in his mum's when he walks down the street. There's no discovering he's good at maths or backstroke or has an innate ability to sneak extra chocolate chips into the chocolate chip cookie mixture. There's no finding out he's the kind of teen who thinks hanging up clothes is stuffing them in the cupboard or disappears every time the washing up has to be done.

There's no knowing Julian at eight or nine or as a man or maybe even a father. His life was stopped at seven. Before he read a book with no pictures, before his mouth grew crowded with big teeth, before he could cross the road by himself.


Julian is another terror tragedy. Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the senseless, brutal, heinous killings in Barcelona. We mourn for everyone killed. We are so sad for their loved ones, for lives cut short, for people just going about their day and not returning home. But there is something about a child's face staring back at you in the roll call of the dead. Something about their eyes, their innocence, their stolen futures that, if it's possible, hurts more.

Julian is another senseless, chilling terror killing to add to the list for 2017. Like the 22 killed in May in Manchester, many children, as they left an Ariana Grande concert. Or the London Bridge attack in June killing eight. Or the Stockholm attack in April killing four.

Each time we recoil in horror and fear, each time we become more bitter, and each time the news cycle moves relentlessly forward. Can we see the faces of the children killed in Manchester anymore? Is it bad for us, or is it good, to move on? Because we move on.

Now there are tributes to Julian too. As though this little boy is an 82-year-old politician and has lived a full, long life. Imagine. Just imagine having to sit in a room with police and departmental officials and think of a couple of adjectives to describe your son to the world.

LISTEN: Mamamia Out Loud discuss terrorism fatigue (post continues after audio...)


His father Andrew Cadman flew from Sydney to Barcelona arriving on Saturday. His family released a statement the next day.

"Julian was a much loved and adored member of our family," The statement read.

"As he was enjoying the sights of Barcelona with his mother, Julian was sadly taken from us. He was so energetic, funny and cheeky, always bringing a smile to our faces."

His Lalor Park school in Sydney released a statement too that read in part: “Julian was a delightful little boy - curious and energetic with a kind and generous heart.”

He will be remembered for being energetic, funny, cheeky, always making people smile. He will be remembered for being kind, delightful, curious with a generous heart.

Julian was in Year Two and now we can only remember him.

Will we do that though? Or will the next cycle of terror, the next hit, fade his cheeky, curious, kind face until we can't see him anymore?

I hope not. It seems so huge and dark now, so unbelievably sad that a little, beautiful boy was killed deliberately, violently and personally as he walked down the street with his mum.

I hope he doesn't fade. I hope we remember him because we are the kind of people who can love more than we can hate.

A little boy who looks like love.