Friday, July 07, 2006

Two-minute silence for 7-7 victims

7-7 Anniversary Edition

Silence fell on London today.

Workers stopped what they were doing and lowered their heads. The Prime Minister stood in tribute with emergency service workers. The Queen and other royals stood silently at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh. All over London, work stopped, as Londoners remembered those killed one year ago today.

At the bottom of my road, the local fire service all stood outside the station and local mechanics dropped tools to stand silently at the side of the road. Even in supermarkets the tills went quiet as shoppers were asked to observe the two minute silence.

The first of the series of organised commemorations was held at 8.50am, the time at which, a year ago today, suicide bombers detonated explosives on three London underground trains.

The London mayor, Ken Livingstone, and the culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, laid flowers at King's Cross, where 26 people died in a Piccadilly line train seconds after it left the station.

Mr Livingstone and Ms Jowell stood in silence in the small garden at the side of the station, where many Londoners today broke their journeys to work to pay their respects.

Tributes were also left at Edgware Road and Aldgate tube stations at 8.50, and piles of flowers were beginning to build at all three stations.

In Tavistock Square, where 13 people died in the suicide bombing of a number 30 bus at 9.47am, Mr Livingstone was joined by George Psaradakis, the 50-year-old who had been driving the bus when the bomb exploded.

There's something very moving about watching people going through with such a simple mark of respect.

I remember on the day that I buried my mother, as the hearse approached the crematorium a worker put down his spade, removed his cap and lowered his head as we passed.

I will never forget that someone took the time to make such a simple sign of respect to someone they never even knew.

Today, watching as the whole of London did it, was a unifying experience. London is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. The danger of the bombings was that people might have turned on the Muslim population.

Today they stood. People of all different colours, faiths and beliefs. Side by side as Londoners. Their message to al Qaeda could not have been clearer. We are united. And you will never, ever, divide us.

I love this city.


Anonymous said...

Practically everyone I know condemns the bombings in London. Everyone knows what those guys did was misguided and wrong. Why did they do it? Simple answer Great Britain's involvement in an illegal war. There wasn't a similar reaction during the first Gulf war, why was that? The war was legal. I myself gave blood for the troops should it be needed.

52 people died on the 7th July 2005 in London due to terrorist actions. The country stops and remembers. What if say Iraq stoppped and remembered every single victim of terrorist outrages. Thats how fucking precious we are!

Kel said...

Firstly, I agree that the war was illegal and I also agree that this was the reason that we were hit.

Nevertheless, I feel it is right that we acknowledge that a terrible thing happened here a year ago.

If you've come here from Mike's Blog Round up, if you had hit on the first of my articles that he's linked to you would have noticed that I said:

"In Baghdad, this would be considered a good day."

And there's the truth.

We will, rightly, hold our minutes silence today and reflect on our losses.

But we should never forget that in Iraq the events that we are commemorating are far too commonplace to ever be remembered with such ceremony.

So whilst we are remembering our dead, I am in no way forgetting the carnage we have unleashed in Iraq.