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Tony Grist

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The Next Day [Jul. 8th, 2005|09:32 am]
Tony Grist
My greatest fear is that yesterday's atrocity will change us. That we'll become cowed, suspicious, fearful, chauvinistic, nasty. That, as a direct result, we'll be more ready to allow government to herd us and spy on us and take away our liberties. If these things happen it'll be a victory for the bombers.

The chortling comminique that went up on the net yesterday, purportedly from the bombers, proclaimed (in that curious Arabian Nights lingo these people use) "Behold Britain now, ablaze with fear and terror, horrified from its north to its south, from its east to its west." This isn't my perception of how the people of Britain have reacted. What I feel in myself is rather the opposite, not a quickening, but a slowing down of the pulse, a sadness and a heaviness, a weary resignation. "Oh, not again."

Before this lot there was the IRA and before the IRA there was the Luftwaffe and before the Luftwaffe there were the Anarchist and Bolshevik and Fenian cells that put the wind up the Edwardians and late Victorians. We've been living with bombers for almost as long as there've been modern cities. Read Conrad's Secret Agent, published in 1907 (which fictionalises a real life incident where an half-arsed attempt was made to blow up the Royal Observatory at Greenwich) and it's all there- right down to the loony with explosives strapped to his chest and a switch in his pocket. The ideology changes but the methods and the mindset remain the same.

Two days ago London was on a high because of the Olympics. Last weekend London's Hyde Park was the central venue for the international festival of good will and hard rocking that was Live 8. It looked like it was going to be a good year. And now, suddenly, we've been knocked sideways. Well, a period of mourning is appropriate, but after that we need to recover our groove, our vibe, our mojo. It's not right that a tiny gang of godbothering psychos should dictate the mood of the nation.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-08 04:38 am (UTC)
And once we've mourned the dead, we'll return to the party!
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[User Picture]From: jubal51394
2005-07-08 04:39 am (UTC)

I s'pose...

"My greatest fear is that yesterday's atrocity will change us. That we'll become cowed, suspicious, fearful, chauvinistic, nasty. That, as a direct result, we'll be more ready to allow government to herd us and spy on us and take away our liberties. If these things happen it'll be a victory for the bombers."

This is a rational fear, since it is indeed what happened to us. (IMHO not without some careful calculations by our power lusting leaders.)

In case it matters to you guys, this is not how we see you as a nation. We see you as pillars of strength and determination, Blitzkrieg survivors. We fully expect you to endure and continue, undaunted and unchanged.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-08 05:18 am (UTC)

Re: I s'pose...

Yes it does matter....

If the world sees us that way then it's an incentive for us to behave with courage and decency.

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From: sunfell
2005-07-08 06:07 am (UTC)
Good grief- let's hope not- I would hate to see the UK in the same sad way as the US. Let me tell you, I live in the middle of a cowed, suspicious, fearful, chauvinistic, nasty country with a particularly wicked leader, and it is no fun at all. And the 'godbotherers' are taking advantage of it to try to reverse our Constitution and turn our Republic into a theocracy.

Not good.

I saw one cheeky quip on LJ yesterday, an old timer who survived the Blitz who remarked at the Canary Wharf bombing that 'we've been bombed by professionals'- meaning the Germans.

Brits are the toughest, stoutest, and most resiliant people in Europe. Period. People forget that you all had to put up with lots of invaders and bombers- from the Romans to the IRA. And you've picked up the pieces, dusted off the teapot, rolled up your sleeves, and carried on. Now you have these cowardly 'godbotherers' (I love that word!) messing with your Tubes and buses, and I expect that the authorities will find whoever did it.

You'll soldier through. I pray that you do not take our path. Look what has happened to us because of it. Don't go there. Show us how it's done- maybe we'll be able to put our chin up and emulate you all.

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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2005-07-08 06:52 am (UTC)
Good grief- let's hope not- I would hate to see the UK in the same sad way as the US. Let me tell you, I live in the middle of a cowed, suspicious, fearful, chauvinistic, nasty country with a particularly wicked leader, and it is no fun at all. And the 'godbotherers' are taking advantage of it to try to reverse our Constitution and turn our Republic into a theocracy.

Gosh, what country do you live in? I live in the United States.

With respect, I think you've been listening to the screeching folks of both extremes.
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[User Picture]From: four_thorns
2005-07-08 08:00 am (UTC)
i was watching the news yesterday and thinking that the thing that would make me the saddest is if this your country started to do what we are doing-- fingerprinting and photographing every foreign visitor, holding prisoners extralegally at guantanamo, the patriot act, soldiers with machine guns in grand central, etc.

then i thought about how there are already soldiers with guns at heathrow, and there's CCTV in london. it seems to me that as the first world becomes more fearful and divided from the third world, the entire world is gradually becoming a police state. the wealthy nations seek security by spying on and limiting the rights of their own people and by sending their armies to subdue the people of poor nations.

but i have faith that you won't go down our path-- britain is better than that.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-08 09:22 am (UTC)
Blair wants us all to carry ID cards. He was up against a lot of opposition but may find it easier to push ahead with the legislation now.

The instinct of Government (any Government) is always to be more controlling, more protective. I'm hoping at this critical moment in our history we (the people) will resist.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-07-08 10:17 am (UTC)
An American student was on his last day as an intern when the explosions happened. He was telling the Today Show audience this morning how very impressed he was with the demeanor of the people caught up in this horror. He said they were calm (as much as possible) and didn't panic, and that those who came onto the scene to help were very effective.

Yes, it does feel like mourning. But you are not alone. We are mourning with you. This is, after all, a smaller and smaller world, and we are friends.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-08 11:50 am (UTC)
I've been very touched by the outpouring of love and support from our friends in the USA.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-08 12:07 pm (UTC)
I worry about this, but I trust we'll keep our nerve.
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[User Picture]From: besideserato
2005-07-10 05:17 am (UTC)
I have been away, but I just wanted to know that I am glad you are OK. My thoughts were with you and Ailz and all those I care about in your part of the world. You are right, we cannot let this knock the world over. We will rise back stronger--we have to.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-10 07:17 am (UTC)
Thanks.

I have a sense already of things beginning to return to normal.
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[User Picture]From: kaysho
2005-07-20 10:57 am (UTC)
You have a better shot at it than we do. Americans like to see themselves as living in the shining City on the Hill ... so the idea that someone would hate us enough to try to kill us comes as a sincere shock. A former imperial nation is more likely to understand the idea that some people are not going to like you, and that the proper course isn't overreaction.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-07-20 11:40 am (UTC)
Well, yes, we had the IRA gunning for us for about 25 years. None of their bombs caused as much slaughter as these tube bombs, but they hit small towns as well as the capital and you never knew where the next one was going to go off. Their campaign got the whole country used to living with terror.
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