Terrorism is supposed to be the method of the oppressed to get their message to the world, but it seems that even that has got lost in some darkened twist on post-modernism. The removal of the meaning from the act seems to have created a global aesthetic where violence is a self-fulfilling action, justifying itself by the damage it causes and not by the fulfillment of ideological goals.
We’ve lived through decades of attacks from the IRA. I found the footage on television today eerily familiar to those times. Admittedly there’s not been an attack on mainland Britain for a while now, but those memories are still clear. When I was growing up it seemed like every day there was a new bomb somewhere. I think as a nation we have become accustomed to terrorism in a way that the US perhaps has not.
I thought Blair gave a good speech, but I’m actually most impressed with an interview given by a barrister who was on one of the tube trains when it exploded. He was clearly in shock, but gave a good description of events. When asked the blatant ‘let’s get a sound bite’ question of how he felt about the people who did the attacks his word was ‘pity’. I thought it was really admirable that a man who has just walked past the bodies of his countrymen could muster the strength to give such a wise answer. I think his word is going to be my lasting memory of this event.
We are not a nation for raging anger in response to threats, there will be those that do, but as a majority we hold controlled, civilised life as the most important approach to the world. We solidify, we protect the things that we believe in more earnestly, and one of the things that the British really believe in is not making a spectacle of things. We get on with it and try not to make a fuss. We might be angry inside, but we have lived and died in such times before, and will most likely continue to do so for the rest of our lives. No ‘war on terror’ will change that. It’s a sad fact of life that today some friends and families won’t see the people they care about ever again, and all over some dispute that they most likely don’t care about and almost certainly have never had any meaningful involvement with. We will, as always, try to create equality in the world to attempt to protect ourselves from the extremists’ accusations, but there will always be people who do not like who we are, and who we have been, as a nation.
We accept that we have enemies, our nation always has done and almost certainly will do for the rest of our lifetimes, but we also defend the things that make us who we are as a group, and one of those things is composure, clear-headedness, and the organised and responsible reaction to acts performed against us. Terrorism like this will not make us less British; it only demonstrates how singular as a nation we are in times of crisis. We are singular and we are diverse. This attack strikes at black, white, young, old, those who live here, and those who are visiting, Christian, Muslim, Jew, and all others alike. We are the British, and we do not change to the whim of aggressors.