Thursday, July 14, 2005

It's not often you see London come to a standstill. Taxis, lorries, shoppers, couriers, cyclists, office workers piling out onto the street and standing motionless, unspeaking.

A silent, two-minute "fuck you" to the terrorists and all their ilk. Good stuff. London rules.

11 Comments:

Blogger Lobster Blogster said...

Good to see that the new "American Free Zone" is holding out. Lots of people out on the streets today, but not a single American to be seen.

7/14/2005 12:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Eric S (Washington DC) said...

We don't all wear obnoxious Hawaiian shirts and shorts (regardless of weather), talk 10dB louder than everyone around us, and gape at the White Tower, saying "why, it must be at LEAST 100 years old!" Some of us are stealthier than that, you know. We walk among you, and you might never notice (so long as we keep our mouths shut).

There might even be an American near you right now! (although probably not an airman...sorry, cheap shot)

7/14/2005 12:46:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

These "Americans" sound scary... Wandering undetected in our very midst, ready to pounce at any moment and eat our babies, no doubt.

We need a good old-fashioned purge of this sinister organisation, that's what I reckon. Time to raise the militia.

7/14/2005 12:56:00 pm  
Anonymous Uponnothing said...

I thought a minutes (or 2 in this case) silence was designed for remembrance for those that died, not a 'fuck you' to those that killed them.

7/14/2005 01:20:00 pm  
Anonymous Eric S (Washington DC) said...

Alternately, it might be worth considering issuing ID cards to all Americans. This has several benefits:
1) Easier to separate us from our paler, friendlier cousins to the north, the Canadians
2) The ID card database can be used as a template for cracking down on other suspicious groups (Muslims, the IRA, people who drink Dogbolter, smokers, non-smokers...the list is limited only by the imagination of bureaucrats)
3) The ID cards can be used by American tourists to get discounts at authentic British eateries like McDonalds ("Honey, this Limey bastard is trying to give me CHIPS! What kind of a country are they running here? I want my FRIES!")

I'm sure there are even more benefits that I'm overlooking...

7/14/2005 01:26:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Uponnothing - it was both. For most commemorative silences we aren't specifically asked by the organisers to go out and observe them on the streets. It was a defiant, public two minutes of commemoration - and all the more powerful for that, both in terms of remembering those who were killed and have been injured and for showing the people who thought their terror tactics would achieve something that we are not afraid of them.

7/14/2005 01:34:00 pm  
Anonymous Uponnothing said...

I understand the reasoning behind the 2 minutes silence, and can understand the feeling that defiance wants to be shown. However, the 2 minutes silence, and general British reaction to the bombings makes me pretty ashamed to be British to be honest. I simply don't agree with this whole macho 'fuck 'em we survived the blitz' attitude that has been almost a kneejerk response to what happened.

I don't see how having such a reaction is going to help the situation that we face, nor do I feel it is entirely apporpriate. The suffering in London is - painful reading now - small in comparison to the misery that we have inflicted in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now the deaths in those countries we are very blase about, as our government beleive those innocent people as a price worth paying to spread 'democracy' or fight 'terrorism'. Well, surely we should be blase about the 50 dead in London then, as surely they are a price worth paying to spread democracy and fight the war on terror?

During the 2 minutes silence I thought about what really matters, the families in London who have suffered the senseless loss of loved ones, for they know now just how fragile and fleeting the human life is. However, in doing so I also thought of how for the thousands of deaths every year in which the UK government is directly responsible for, we never hold any period of silence or acknowledgement. Whether it is Iraq, or the numerous regimes of terror created and supported by the UK government in pursuit of traditional foreign interests, people die everyday in violence equally senseless to that in London - but on a far grander scale. However, who is going to be defiant for them in the face of our terror?

I was ashamed to think that we are so outraged by the deaths of fellow countrymen, but so unfeeling about the deaths of others; that we concentrate on defiance, instead of much-needed, fundemental reflection of what it means to be British.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?
Mahatma Gandhi

7/14/2005 02:04:00 pm  
Anonymous Eric S (Washington DC) said...

Uponnothing-
"The suffering in London is - painful reading now - small in comparison to the misery that we have inflicted in Iraq and Afghanistan."
This implies that there was no suffering in Iraq and Afghanistan before the Britons and Americans showed up.

Afghanistan was already well on its way to returning to the Dark Ages before we ever set foot on its soil. Is it worse now than it was in, say, 1999? Women are attending school again. Children are being vaccinated against polio and other common diseases. Kabul is undergoing a building boom the likes of which it has never seen. Is the country 'safe' by our standards? Of course not. But squaddies and soldiers have created hope where there was none. How can you focus only on the body counts in the conflict? How do you measure all of the lives SAVED as a result of our actions? An Aussie doctor saves a villager's life in Afghanistan. A soldier finds a boy in dire need of surgery for a medical condition, and a week later he's in the US getting treatment. My point is that by focusing exclusively on deaths "directly" caused by our policies, you completely write off and ignore everything else.

If the alternative is to wring our hands endlessly, and never ACT, then what is the point? If the USA and UK stay home and mind their own business, will the world's problems solve themselves? Will a child in the Hindu Kush get the polio vaccination that will give him a future?

You ask "...who is going to be defiant for them in the face of our terror?" I do not doubt that we have made mistakes, and at times have acted out of self-interest rather than ideals. But do you truly believe that we act out of a desire to cause terror? Say what you will of Blair and Bush, but it's quite a reach to think that they simply wish to terrorize Iraq and Afghanistan. If this was the case, why would we bother opening schools, building roads, vaccinating kids?

All I wish to say is that it's not as simple as saying something "our troops caused 10000 deaths". How many German children were killed by bombs dropped by Lancasters in WW2?

War is horrific, but it is also not so simple as that. If 10000 are killed, but the resulting peace means that 20000 children will live to adulthood instead of dying of preventable diseases, then doesn't the equation change somewhat? A bit of a twisted way to think of it, but still...

Many aspects of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan bother me. But it also bothered me greatly to see Saddam stifling his people, feeding dissidents into plastic shredders, draining the marshes (destroying critical wetlands and displacing half a million people), killing Shiites for being...Shiite, killing millions of his own people and Iranians in a pointless war. It bothered me greatly to see the Taliban find ways to make an already desperate country even worse, to treat women like cattle, to deface ancient, irreplaceable art that stood long before Islam even existed, to rule with the sword and maim or kill anyone who challenged them.

It's about now that someone should cue up "What a Wonderful World"...

7/14/2005 02:58:00 pm  
Blogger Churl said...

"We need a good old-fashioned purge of this sinister organisation, that's what I reckon. Time to raise the militia."

Can we wait until the morning? I'm a bit knackered at the mo'.

7/15/2005 12:12:00 am  
Anonymous Eric S (Washington DC) said...

If you raise the militia in the morning, you may want to check on the status of "Omarion".

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=769&e=2&u=/nm/20050707/music_nm/security_britain_singer_dc

"He wasn't hurt or anything, but just the fact that he was there and all that." Uh huh.

7/15/2005 02:10:00 am  
Blogger Churl said...

Eric, just how low can someone stoop? Using a terrorist atrocity for self-publicity is pretty vile.

What a shame I can't send the Hot Trod after him.

7/15/2005 10:21:00 am  

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