Two very good posts about the London attacks

I’ve been accused of acting superior to Americans for posting about my pride in Britain’s handling of the recent bombings in London. My post had nothing to do with my thoughts about America, but apparently I’m not the only one who is annoyed that some Americans have been acting like this was ‘the British September 11th’. It wasn’t. The deaths are tragic, but there is no paradigm shift here, we’re not surprised, we’re not changing, and we’re not even really scared. I was on the phone last night arranging to visit a friend in a couple of weeks, travelling through central London, and the ‘danger’ didn’t even cross my mind.

Gia’s two posts sum up the British feelings to all this nicely:

Her first post on initial reactions to the bombings…

… and her second post in response to the way some Americans have been acting. It’s entitled ‘Terror Alert Level: More Beer!’ and the title alone speaks volumes about our feelings: it was a waste of life, but we are not going to change because of it. Our strength is in being British. Ask us for help and we’ll give it. Kill us and we’ll tell you to piss off.

Before I get more complaints: I am fortunate enough to know many lovely Americans and to know that the occasional weird response to these events isn’t happening to everyone over there.

Thanks to Sean from for passing these links on to me.

4 thoughts on “Two very good posts about the London attacks”

  1. Thanks for the link.

    I, too, have been getting angry comments and emails from Americans about my apparently callous posts. One of the commenters called me a ‘British bitch’ and said he hoped that the UK was hit with a massive attack killing 3000+ people so that we’d know what it’s like… seriously.

    Thing is… I’m American.

    I live in London. Up until last week my morning journey to work took me through some of the stations hit. I and many people I know were a potential victim of these attacks… The Americans who have been most angry at me have all been from The South. Texas. Tennessee. South Carolina. Virginia. They were never even potential victims during 9.11 let alone in the future (what, exactly, would there be to bomb in Virginia?)… But they’ve taken on 9.11 so that they can wallow in that curious American pastime of “Victimhood”.

    They are from a country where 60 year old women describe themselves, still, as
    “child abuse survivors”, where people can sue for millions upon millions for “pain and suffering” after spilling some coffee on themselves, where it’s looked upon admirably to go on TV and spill your guts and sob your heart out about your experience with abuse/rape/drugs/illness… there seems to be this constant ‘I’m more of a victim than you are’ competition between people there.

    The American TV coverage of the bombs in London, according to my relatives, has been typically over-the-top and fear-mongering. I can completely understand why when they visit some ‘foreigners’ blog to hear ‘Bombs? Bah. Let’s go to the pub.’ it just does not compute. Surely we should be fighting to get on TV to cry in front of the world, surely we should be demanding that all “Moslums” are killed, surely we should at least be *praying*… but that’s just not the way it is over here… and therefore they are taking our attitude as a personal attack on their ability to cope…

    See? They are *still* the victim.

  2. I had to turn the TV news off on Thursday night because it turned into this dreadful, soul-searching sensation about how terrorism affects people… the final straw was when they managed to find some Brit who actually did break down and blubber on TV about awfulness of it all. I had to wonder how hard the US news crews had to work to find someone who wasn’t typical of the British reaction.

    All my American friends here have been very supportive about the bombings but they do find my attitude hard to comprehend. You have to grow with it (terrorism) to understand, I guess.

    Gia, interesting that most of the (bad) reaction you’ve gotten has come from the South… I hadn’t considered that but it does make sense since that’s where the most reactionary people live over here, politically and socially.

  3. I think you’re right Gia when you say that the contrasting reactions are based on a lack of British understanding of the US desire for victimhood. This said, I’m glad it’s an American who wrote that.

    Sean, I’ve not seen a single Brit on TV over here who was at all dramatically upset by the events, including people who walked off the tube trains and were clearly in shock. I think you’re right that it must have been quite tricky to find someone who was in a suitably US-media friendly state of distress.

    Perhaps it’s just the victimhood thing coming out again, but I’ve found that as a country America doesn’t take criticism very well. If you say to a Brit ‘your sportsmen are rubbish, your food tastes like offal, and your imperialism is offensive’ then we are quite likely to say ‘fair enough’. We know what we’re good at (which these days, like hobbits, is mainly beer and smoking, with occasional more profitable forrays into literature) but we’re happy to admit that most of us are rubbish at lots of things.

    Maybe it’s the ‘American dream’ which holds the US back. We’re not all going to be the best at everything we do, and often it doesn’t matter in the slightest. Many British, if really pushed, don’t really care about goals and achievement as long as at the end of the day they get to be with the one they love and drink a few pints. Yes, we put a high priority on drinking in the UK, but it’s certainly less destructive than world-domination.

  4. While Michael Moore does indulge in a far bit of manipulation himself, despite criticising others for it, he does have some good points to make about the effect of the ‘American Dream’. I believe the chapter of which I’m thinking is in ‘Dude, Where’s My Country’, and goes by the name of ‘Horatio Alger Must Die’.

    As for the commenter in gia’s blog who said that “he hoped that the UK was hit with a massive attack killing 3000+ people so that we’d know what it’s like”, he himself can’t have any idea of “what it’s like”. It can’t have affected him in the way that it ‘should’, otherwise he’d not be wishing something like that on anybody.

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