Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bombings 2.0

Jesus these guys are going to get a hammering when they're caught.

Yes, two weeks on, if you haven't yet heard (which I doubt) ... and London has been bombed again. I use the term 'bombed' loosely at the moment because it's all rather unclear exactly what did happen. Lots of speculation that another big attack was planned - 3 tube trains, 1 bus again - Sir Ian Blair (head of the Metropolitan Police) says it was clear they wanted to kill but it looks as if small explosions like detonators occurred, not full big explosive bombs.

I was literally shaking when I switched on the TV news around 1:20 when I heard. Smoke was reportedly coming out of tube stations, 3 tube incidents had occurred ... then suddenly a bus explosion. Way too familiar.

Information is slow today ... 4 events but how many explosions? One report says that the incident on the Hammersmith and City line at Shepherd's Bush didn't meet with an explosion.There are talks of unexploded bombs. Talks of confused terrorist who, after realising he wasn't dead, ran for it. Weird reports, probably random conjecture or chinese whispers right now.

Then there were the two other incidents ... one at University College Hospital and the other that panned out live on TV in Whitehall at the bottom of Downing Street. An Asian man with a backpack on was subdued by police live on air before the TV cams were asked to switch off. All very conveniently timed ... but Sir Ian later said these two events were not connected.

Thankfully my taxi has arrived and I can now go home ... maybe write later.

Basically though ... my shaking and fear is gone and I am not just pretty angry about it all. Confused but now really pretty damn angry. They'll throw the book at them ... and possibly find out some extremely useful intelligence in so doing. But what do I know, I'm just another Londoner.


Katie said...

Hi Damon, Glad to know that you are safe, I was literally shocked at the events of today and worried about you totally what with the BBC being near to one of the stations evacuated- that being Shepherds Bush of course.
Don't be worried about it, we all have to get on with our lives and try not to let the terrorists believe that they are scaring us. You're a brave man, Damon!

Susanne said...

Hi Damon,

interesting... my reaction to today's attempted terrorist attacks was very similar to yours, even though I'm not a Londoner, not even close... For some reason this hit me much harder than the attacks two weeks ago. Then, it was a freak incident (okay, perhaps not quite "freak", but still something very unusual, isolated, shocking in its unfamiliarity), but when it happened again today, I think in my mind the effects of two weeks ago and these newest attacks just sort of culminated into the ralization that this was here to stay, no longer foreign, but much more real, imbedded in everyday life, and almost casual--let's detonate a few quick bombs on a Thursday morning--and thus much more scary. I literally had to sit down for a few minutes, even though until now I had always thought that the whole phrase about having to sit down when receiving bad news was just a manner of speech. And as happened to you, sometime in the afternoon all this turned into an intense anger. I certainly don't agree with many of the actions of the US/UK governments, but terrorism cannot be the answer, and besides, these bombs on subways have made things so much more personal. It's no longer a question of international conflicts but of individual people wanting to kill other individual people, and seeing as I'm part of the latter group, and seeing as I'm naturally attached to my own life, that pisses me off.

Apart from these emotional reactions, though, I must admit that rationally speaking, if I were a terrorist, this is exactly how I would go about my business: hit them often, and just as they get back comfortable, even if you can't every time pull off a big flashy effect. That is what is so unsettling about it... No one might have died today, but how are we ever going to comfortable on a subway, on a bus, in a public library, at a food court, etc., as long as bombs might go off anytime, anywhere? Damn.

Sorry for the rant. And oh, don't search your mind too hard for how and from where you might know me... you don't *smile*. I came across your blog through, which used to be one of my favorite websites. I'm really interested in reading other people's thoughts, so I've been following yours, among many others, for a while, and was just moved to respond today. Hope that's all right.


firecat said...

Glad you're safe, Damon. These attacks did hit me a bit harder than the ones two weeks ago, maybe because they happened so soon after. I'm very relieved that no one was killed.

Damon said...

Hi, just read my original post here. I was rushing hugely so it didn't make much sense, sorry all ;)

Thanks all for writing here. One thing I've been thinking about a lot in the last few days is that clearly London has got it very easy compared to the dreadful events in Iraq right now. Britain is one of the architects of the current situation out there. 150 people ddied at the weekend. 13 were killed the other day in a gun attack on a bus, if I recall correctly. Suicide bombers are killing what seems like at least a dozen civillians daily over there.

But of course, we consider our country to be 'civilisation' and can keep 'less civilised' countries in a little box at the back of our minds.

The British gov't are desperately trying to spin us the idea that our involvement in Iraq has nothing to do with London's recent terrorist attacks. Uh-huh. No one believes this. They say that extremist muslim terrorism of this nature started even before 9/11, 10 years ago Blair said yesterday. Yes but the terrorism has ratcheted up a few gears since then and now has Britain as a focus and we perhaps ought not to sit back and say it has nothing to do with us. That's ridiculous spin and sounds a lot like detached arrogance or lack of appreciation of others cultures. Or something.

Katie said...

How are you Damon?
What have you been up to this fine Saturday?

Susanne said...

Hm... yeah, it's pretty obviously true that this brand and intensity and direction of terrorism is connected to the US and UK's governments' involvement in Iraq. It can't be a coincidence that London is getting it, and just a little while, Madrid got it for the same reason. But personally I'm not sure just how tight the causal connection is. I mean, sure, the war is probably the precipitating event. We (as in "the West", with the US and Britain at the forefront) are making a lot of people mad, and is probably facilitating terrorist recruitment. But honestly, I think by now this whole terrorism thing has gone beyond such neat and direct causal structures. I think by now what we're seeing as a war of ideologies, i.e. the West against the Muslim world as represented by the terrorists. To them, we are an insult of the face of Allah, and this war is only another example of this. What I mean is that they don't hate us for Iraq, but for what underlies Iraq, i.e. our culture, our values, or pure existence. This, of course, makes things a bit more abstract. At this point I think that any Western city in any Western country is as much of a target as any other, because these organizations are loosely structured and very fractured, and they might now just hit on an individual basis wherever they are at. In other words, just because Canada, for example, didn't go to Iraq doesn't make it any less likely that something like what happened in London might happen here. Canada is probably perceived a bit less as a figurehead of the West than Britain is, but nevertheless this has gone way beyond Iraq.

I'm sorry if this post doesn't make much sense; I didn't set out with a well-organized point in my mind, but rather a jumble of thoughts. This is the result :-). What do you think?