Thursday, July 07, 2005

Thoughts on the London Bombings

My wife woke me up this morning with the news of the London bombings and I rushed to the television to see what had happened. I have to admit that my first thought was of Hannah, a regular commenter on The JEP Report, who was visiting London today. Hannah lives in Belfast Northern Ireland, a traditional hotbed of sectarian violence where bombings were relatively commonplace. Recent peace accords have been largely successful though and Northern Ireland has been quiet of late. So quiet in fact, that Hannah had to travel all the way to London in order to get bombed. After watching a couple minutes of the news, I jumped on my computer to send her an e-mail and was relieved to find that she had sent me one first confirming that she was OK.

After finding out that the rest of my English friends were all right, I sat back down and let it all sink in. I was shocked and outraged, but unfortunately, not at all surprised. As I watched the news, I found that the British did not seem very surprised either. One of the reporters I watched said something to effect that the matter of London being the target of a terrorist attack was never a question of “if” but of “when”. Apparently, Tony Blair expressed a similar sentiment earlier in the day as well. Still, no matter how much you expect something like this to happen, there is no way to dull the effect it has on you when it really does – even if you are safely situated thousands of miles away from the scene of the carnage.

I really feel terrible for the people of London, and a little bit responsible. The bombings in London were carried out to punish the English for being there when the US needed them, for their unfailing friendship and for being the most dependable ally the United States has ever had. They were attacked because, despite our differences, our core values are the same. Like the US, Britain enjoys a stable democracy, values individual freedom and cherishes the pursuit of prosperity. The UK is among the world’s greatest of nations and, impotent in their cowardice and ignorance, the fundamentalist freak show that is al Qaeda needs to show needs something to show its twisted minions that they are capable of terrorizing a strong nation into submission as they did in Spain. My personal belief is that they will be sorely mistaken in this case.

The English are a resilient people. Behind their characteristic reserve and stereotypical veneer of propriety is a heart of iron that rises to any challenge and refuses to back down. When I was stationed overseas, I would periodically find myself in a mix of Australians and English. It always seemed that the Americans and Aussies would easily find themselves fast friends and at some point in the evening, at odds with the English. At first I figured that it was because English mannerisms seemed to broadcast arrogance and superiority that offended colonial sensibilities but later I realized that it was because the Aussies liked to pick a fight and were smart enough to not go after a pack of Brits on their own. Either way, those experiences taught me that it is much easier to try to subdue a herd of rampaging rhinocerii than step within striking distance of a drunken bulldog wielding a barstool.

This time, I think al Qaeda has crashed the wrong party. I expect this action will accomplish nothing but strengthen the resolve of the British government and unify the population in a way that will be very contrarian to the militancy’s expectations.

My sympathies, thoughts and prayers are with the people of London today. I wish you the speediest of recoveries and offer my most heartfelt thanks to you for being our friend through the most trying of times. I will never forget what that friendship has cost you today.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was quite a frightening experience, I will admit.

But I was not truly affected until I phoned my mum and heard the panic in her voice. Then I thought about all the people who would be phoning loved ones and would never get an answer.

Bring back cruel and unusal punishment for these crazy, brainwashed bastards who did it.

hannah

7:20 PM  
Blogger JEP said...

WELCOME BACK HANNAH!

Of course, back just in time for the orangemen parade (for those of you not familiar with North Irish demographics, its the Belfast equivalent of a KKK march).

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Belfast equivalent of a KKK march...

I am SO stealing that one!

hannah

10:04 AM  

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