Over There (in the UK)

July 8, 2005 at 10 AM

A Study in Contrast

Guardian Newspapers, July 7 and 8, 2005 The covers of The Guardian, from July 7 and July 8, 2005.

How is one supposed to make sense of that?

Over the coming weeks and months, there will be questions asked. What does it mean? What do they want? How can we stop it from happening again?

I think people will ultimately come to realize that the answers to the above questions are, for all intents and purposes, “nothing”, “nothing”, and “nothing”. How can anyone derive any meaning from such a senseless destruction of life? Terrorism of this kind is meant to provoke panic, and the best advice we can follow in this situation is, Don’t panic, a task at which Londoners already excel, by all accounts.

Don’t think there is anything that any government could do to prevent attacks of this kind. ID cards and tighter security will never be able to totally prevent small bombs being used in crowded places. Given the opportunity for destruction in such a large, busy city though, it is a testament to London’s preparedness that the death toll was not a lot higher. By far, the vast majority of people at risk in the explosions survived. There is already a palpable feeling in the media and on the Web of defiance: Is that the best you could do? Grief over those killed in this tragedy will be gradually overcome by a feeling that this terrorist attack achieved very little for the terrorists. Londoners are returning to work, and the tube is already running again. If the aim was to get the British out of Iraq, no such movement appears likely. If the aim was to instil terror, then as many have already said, they picked the wrong target. An attack like this will unite rather than divide a people.

It’s impossible to try and imagine what would make someone perform a act of such callous viciousness. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look at what’s wrong with the world and try to improve it, but there are no simple solutions to prevent people from turning to terrorism. The best is simply to prove that it doesn’t work, firstly by making it difficult to instigate, but secondly and more importantly, by refusing to be terrorized. We owe that much to the victims of this event.



Previously: The London Bombings

Subsequently: Here It Comes To Save The Day

July 2005
the Archives

In Earshot

In Frame