the Disillusioned kid: The Day After the Morning Before
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Friday, July 08, 2005

The Day After the Morning Before

Having returned from Edinburgh, where I was involved in various anti-G8 protests, on Wednesday evening, I had planned to write up my experiences yesterday. Events, however, distracted me somewhat. I spent several hours sat in front of the TV watching the rolling news reports. As is always the case with such events there was actually very little to report, but the whole thing was grimly captivating.

The BBC is currently reporting that the death toll is more than 50, but that an unknown number of bodies remain undiscovered. While far lower than the death-toll of September 11th and a tiny fration of the numbers killed as a result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq (estimated to be around 100,000 by last year's lancet report) there is no question that the attack was indiscriminate, unjustifiable and contemptible. I've never been Ken Livingstone's greatest fan, but I think his statement released yesterday hits all the right notes. He remarked:
This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.

That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith - it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I'm proud to be the mayor of that city.
I can only hope that Livingstone's faith in Londoners is well placed. I have no reson to suspect that it won't be.

Attention is increasingly turning to the question of who carried out the attack. While it is too early to be sure of anything, it is clear that it bears all the hallmarks of Islamic extremism. The lack of a warning; the co-ordination of multiple bombs; the timing at the start of the day. Even if understandable suspicions are later proved to be incorrect we can expect that the attack will serve to further exacerbate pressures felt by Muslims living in the UK. Not only is this unfortunate in itself, but there is also a risk that it may drive the victims into the arms of extremists.

Again, without being sure of who carried out the attack, we should be wary of passing comment on its causes, but it is clear that the "War on Terror", now over three and a half years old has done little if anything to make us any safer. It may even have had the opposite effect, strengthening anti-Western and anti-British sentiments within the Islamic world.

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