|The Next Day
||[Jul. 8th, 2005|09:32 am]
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.
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.
I have a sense already of things beginning to return to normal.
I don't know whether you read Europhobia
but Nosemonkey is great. He has been writing about the bombings. He moves back and forth between defiance and humor that I found worth sharing: "I tell you what, if this is an "Islamic" terrorist attack, they're doing a piss-poor job. The pubs are all packed out, people sipping their pints happily, all a tad pissed off, but basically fine with it. Nice one, Al Quaeda - you profess to be from a teetotal religion, and you've given the pub trade a massive mid-week boost." entry here...
Ugh, sorry about that, I don't know WHAT my problem is this morning. Guess I need more coffee!
This is new to me.
But I like his style.
I am glad, then, that I pointed you in his direction! I hope you enjoy it. I rather like the way that blog chanels British strength. It reminds me of my grandfather when we were still in Peru. Shining Path was at its peak and he would always say, "we will NOT be terrorized!" and take us to the park. Strong man. Yours is a strong country too. You will not be terrorized!!!
Terrorist bombs are just another hazard of modern living. The statistical likelihood of being killed by one is pretty low. At the same time there's not much you can do to keep out of their way. And so you shrug and keep your fingers crossed.
My parents' good friend Alfredo--who refused to stay home, even after city curfew--always said, "the good man stayed home terrified and had a long life. The reckless man refused to be boxed in and died at Utopia*, but man, what a jolly good time he was having--and he never had to pay the bill."
* Utopia was one of the most happening clubs in Lima at the time. It's actually no longer in existence due to a fire that broke out after a bartender's pyrotechnics went awry. It was a great place, though, they had Bengal tigers and other fauna pretty much roaming around and everyone who was anyone was always there. Sir Thomas More would have died all over again if he'd ever been, ha ha ha. Leave it to South Americans to find the irony amusing.
Who was it said "I owe God a death"? Maybe it was Thomas More.
That's a great one. I should use that today. =)
Ach- I should have known- it's Shakespeare- or, more precisely, a character called Feeble in Henry IV part II
"A man can die but once. We owe God a death."