Saturday, July 09, 2005

Britons Never Ever Ever etc.

I was about a hundred and fifty miles away from London when the explosions happened, so I don't have any personal experience. For this I recommend James' account of his journey to work. Also, the BBC website has been recalling some very powerful accounts from people directly effected by events. For a disability perspective, Imfunnytoo wrote a great blog entry on how disabled people need to be included in emergency plans.

Hearing about the London bombings seemed very strange. I think everybody has been expecting something like this for the last three or four years. We are kind of used to the idea of terrorist attacks, especially in London as you can see here. But since September 11th 2001 and subsequent Al Queda attacks we have been aware that next time it might happen on a much larger scale. The IRA were/ are wankers of the highest order, but they were at least under the illusion of having a political argument – they were invested in keeping a reasonably low body-count so that they wouldn't be seen as monsters. Al Queda (and similar) appear totally unreserved. They're wankers without pretentions, they don't need to be cunning or evil or even especially zealous; any arse can blow themselves up and take a random group of innocent people with them, but as such they are capable of doing infinite amounts of damage.

But perhaps it's not useful to say that when the news came on in the Handicap Friendly pub, I imagined hundreds or thousands of deaths and I do believe that we're very lucky that it wasn't much much worse. And then there's the heroism. The Tube is notorious for being about the most cold and unsociable environment in the country; people really rarely talk or make eye contact, until one day the train explodes and everyone starts risking life and limb for one another.

On our way home on Thursday most of the newspapers on the garage forecourts were of full-page Union Jacks - still with this morning's news of our successful Olympic Bid. I thought such pages were perhaps more apt by Thursday evening.

One of the accounts on the BBC described the tube trip home on Friday evening, where the driver came over the PA and announced, "
Believe me ladies and gentlemen, when I woke up this morning I thought I'd be driving an empty train through empty stations. Now I've seen how many of you are travelling today, it's made me proud to be a Londoner. God bless you all"

Amen to that. Love to everyone in or around London and especially for those who were or had loved ones directly involved in these outrages.

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