After the event

Published July 8, 2005

It’s rare that I write about the big things on my blog. It’s not very often that I have anything worthwhile to say about something important. Ask me who my favourite pop star is or whether I like cheese and you’ll get a ten-page essay, but ask me what I think about the horrors of yesterday, and I don’t know what to say.

Last night, I just sat and thought about what was going on. I couldn’t get my head around it. What kind of a world do we live in where planting bombs is the way to get things done?

This morning it took me fifty minutes to get to work (it usually takes ten). I work somewhat near an airport and a company stationed there usually has a security guard on the gate, who raises the barrier and waves people through. Today they were checking every single car and causing massive tailbacks. I know they need to be extra vigilant, but I just don’t understand why the effort comes all of a sudden now, when the terrorists are least likely to strike. Surely one of the most important ingredients of a terror attack is the element of surprise, which they wouldn’t get the day after an attack like London’s. These people should be alert all the time if they want to shrink the chances of something like this happens, not only after the event when it’s too late.

A lot of blogs I’ve been reading have been expressing their sadness and prayers, especially Americans who are no doubt reliving their own nightmares from September 11th. I am so proud of the British people in this time. We don’t need or want sympathy, we just want to get back to normal. On Radio 1 this morning, Scott Mills was reading out text messages from several people in London who wanted the show to be uplifting and positive, to show that no matter what happened, the terrorists won’t win. Today the transport system is back up and running, except for a few deviations from the norm, and people are not afraid to use it.

A colleague spent the best part of the afternoon yesterday trying to contact his father who was working in London. The chances of him being hurt were small, and eventually he found out that all was well. His father was stuck at work, unable to get out but perfectly safe. It was hard being near that kind of fear and worry. Every time his phone rang my stomach would sink, until we heard he was alright. I can’t imagine the number of people who were experiencing similar fears. London is a big place with a huge population, so for every single person who could have been on the tube that day, they would all have friends and family worrying about them.

The emergency services in London were brilliant. In fact, everyone involved handled it fantastically. Less than ten hours later, Jeremy Paxman hosted a BBC News special and he didn’t have anything to say. Everything had been sorted. Casualties had been shipped to nearby hospitals where doctors were on standby (even off-duty doctors which is an amazing show of dedication). All the wreckage and debris and crime scenes had been cordoned off to allow a full forensic investigation. The transport system was beginning to start again. There was nothing left to say.

It happened. We handled it.

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