London bombings

by Suw on July 7, 2005

My heart goes out to all those caught up in the bombs in London. I can only imagine how terrifying and awful it must have been, and must still be for some. My condolences to all those affected, to those who have lost family or friends, to those injured. I wish all those wounded a speedy recovery, especially those whose wounds are not physical.
I remember when the IRA were bombing London, in the mid-90s. At work we had our windows rattled by a couple of explosions, although the IRA never managed to pull off anything like this. The atmosphere in London at that time was a sort of resigned vigilance. Bomb scares became an accepted fact of life and everyone's mental map of the transport system included alternative ways to get home when stations were closed (as they invariably were). We all kept an eye out – half an eye, perhaps, but still – for suspicious packages, vehicles and people, but we usually didn't spot anything. When we did, it usually turned out to be nothing. But no one really let it affect their lives. You couldn't sit around worrying that the IRA might bomb you, because the chances were still dramatically higher than you'd be taken out by a bicycle courier or taxi before the terrorists got anywhere near you.
Then the IRA stopped bombing London and we all got used to stations being closed because of signal failures instead of bomb scares.
The bombings in London today are dreadful acts of cowardice and evil. But we must not let the terrorists change us, or change the way we live. As soon as we start living in fear, they have won. Instead we must hold our heads up high, and stick up a finger in their general direction. Be vigilant, but don't be fearful. Be aware, but don't let them cramp our style.
Above all, we must resist the threats to our civil liberties and freedoms that have been coming ever since 9/11. These most recent terrorist acts must not be used by our government to push through ill-concieved 'security' plans, and we must not let anyone use them as an excuse to erode our rights.
The terrorists will lose. They will lose because we – you and I – will make sure that they lose. We will be the ones who stand up to the terrorists and say 'You don't scare me, and you're not going to stop me living my life in freedom'; we will be the ones who stand up to the government and say 'You don't scare me, and you're not going to take away my civil liberties in the name of “security”'. We will be the ones who fight for what is good and right and proper, and we will be the ones who defend our country and compatriots against the scourge of any and all extremism by always being honourable, fair and true. We will win, because we will live every day by the principles these barbarians want us to sacrifice through fear.
My deepest compassion and sympathy remains with the victims of these, and all atrocities, and my thanks and admiration to the men and women of the emergency services who have worked so hard to help rescue and treat everyone. I may be in San Francisco right now, but I'm very aware that it is only luck that has me here at this time. It could so easily have been me on that bus or on the Underground.

Anonymous July 7, 2005 at 3:19 pm

“The terrorists will lose.”
They have already lost.

Anonymous July 7, 2005 at 4:03 pm

My first reaction this morning was “Where's… oh, she's in SF. Thank God.” On with my day.

Anonymous July 7, 2005 at 4:18 pm

Well said, Suw.

Anonymous July 7, 2005 at 4:32 pm

how come that u brits are talking about a ?Terrorist atack? when al Qaida
are ?fighting? for ?freedom? in Afghanistan and Iraq
and if busses in israel are beeing blown up u call it guerilla actions by
pallestinians struggling 4 freedom but never will the bbc or sky talk about terror atacks in israel,?..
ps condolances 2 all fam.s of the fatalities
and a quick recovvering 4 the wounded

Anonymous July 8, 2005 at 12:32 am

uhm… no.
Above all we must defeat them.
They will lose. but not because we “hold our heads high”. They will lose because we will kill them.

Anonymous July 8, 2005 at 5:10 am

Thank you for posting this heartfelt and uplifting message. We stand tall beause of your words and the brave people who have the courage to fight and stand up for our freedoms.

Anonymous July 8, 2005 at 5:52 am

Anonymous, and MWF: Revenge is not the answer. It will never work. You may want to hunt them down and kill them, but you can't. Hunt them down, give them a fair trial, and a custodial sentence appropriate to their crime. Just because someone else acts like an animal does not give us free leave to behave as animals ourselves.
Maybe you are happy sacrificing your civilised behaviours, but if you become uncivilised you become nothing, you become one of them. If you succumb to the desire for revenge, you become irrational and unreasonable, and you become one of them. If you allow your blood-lust to take you over, you become a creature of evil, just like them.
No, the British way is the right way. We will survive. We will continue. We will live our lives and hold our heads up high, and we will hold ourselves true to those standards we expect of other people, standards of decency, humanity and civilisation.
You can become barbarians if you want, but don't you dare do it in my name.

Anonymous July 8, 2005 at 7:41 am

um … YES!
I totally agree.
I am continually dissapointed how at times like this rational voices like your own are drowned out by irational hate mongery.
Too much “eye-for-an-eye” and not enough “love-thy-neighbour” is what helps to fuel this terrorism.
Reacting in kind is not an appropriate response.
Violence only begets more violence.
I felt proud about the way the British public and the emergency services responded to the attrocities. Proud to call myself British. One of the few occasions of national pride my cynical heart has felt in recent times.
But such a reaction should not be surprising. Most of those affected were in their 30's and grew up under the shadow of terrorism in the 1980s. We had been told how to respond.
Move calmly away from the incident to allow emergency services to do their job.
And this is how, when the horrors finally happened, we actually acted.
We will survive, we always have, and I hope that because of the freedoms we have already lost [national CCTV coverage] we will catch and bring to justice these people and not have to lose any more.

Anonymous July 8, 2005 at 10:52 am

Suw wrote:>”Maybe you are happy sacrificing your civilised behaviours, but if you become uncivilised you become nothing, you become one of them. If you succumb to the desire for revenge, you become irrational and unreasonable, and you become one of them. If you allow your blood-lust to take you over, you become a creature of evil, just like them. ”
If it is the desire of “the terrorists”, whoever they are, to cause us to stoop to their level, then the only way they could win would be to cause us to do such things in order to fight back. And they truly would have won.
But what if some of them have another agenda, such as wanting us and the rest of the world to refocus attention on any legitimate objections that might exist about our international policies? If in some ways we *are* acting internationally in a manner that needs to be rethought and uplifted, then wouldn't *we* by doing so be winning rather than losing?

Anonymous July 8, 2005 at 9:38 pm

I'm french and live in Paris. It could have been me too. And I was in London just some weeks ago.

Anonymous July 9, 2005 at 8:01 pm

Who are the terrorists that kill thousands of people in Irak in the name of WMD????
Think a lillte and you will find bushes and blarites and berlusconis in the list. The deadly 2B's

Anonymous July 12, 2005 at 11:02 am

If it comes to that, who are you… “Anonymous”?

Anonymous July 22, 2005 at 1:10 am

Don't people see what's going on here? These people are only trying to retaliate and the only way they can do it is by using whatever resources they have in hand. Suicide bombs are the only “Apaches” these people have to fight back with. The second obvious fact is who is beeing targeted and why. The United States, Britain, Spain, etc… What do they have in common? Iraq. It's a mess! Why invade in the first place. The United States and Britain has brought this onto themselves, that's how I see it. It's natural, someone hits me I hit them back. Innocent lives are caught in the middle and all for the cause of “weapons of mass destruction” or so I thought. I feel sorry for both sides, lives beeing taken in London and in Iraq as well, I don't think anyone has the right to take innocent lives. Innocent lives are caught between the two side's military and “retaliotionists” (I don't believe in the word terrorist, it's a new made word that is only going to fuel more problems, moreover it is the source of prejudice ie. Arabs are now labeled as terrorists).

Anonymous July 22, 2005 at 8:11 am

Just because I loathe the terrorists who bomb to spread fear and for revenge does not mean I supported the war, or the foreign policies of my own country, or the US. But being against the invasion of Iraq does not mean I was or am in favour of the regime of Saddam Hussein, nor does it mean I am unBritish, to appropriate a vile Americanism.
No excuse for taking innocent lives is valid. None. Not from western countries, not from eastern. To say that we 'brought it on ourselves' is as wrong and objectionable as to say the Iraqis brought death and distruction on themselves.
People need to stop seeing this in blanket for/against terms and start looking at it in the light of the complexities of the real world. It is possible to be against the invasion of Iraq and against the terrorists, you know.

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