The terrorist attacks on London were a horrible way to start the day yesterday, with four seperate bombs killing around 40 people and injuring hundreds. Like many people, I sent off frantic emails to friends and colleagues in the area. The cell phone systems were quickly shut down for emergency service use only, which meant lots of hand wringing for those who could not reach loved ones. The critical role of communications after this kind of disaster was again highlighted by the attacks. I got one response this morning that eased my mind greatly.
An old work colleague sent me the following message on how the Londoners handled the bombings:
Current death toll is 37 but, sadly, will rise as many are critical in hospital. What will sink in after a while, though, is for a major terrorist attack how few people were killed, how wonderfully well the emergency services reacted and how everything seemed to be under control – they have practised this exercise in the face of a terrorist threat on many occasions.
Almost everything is now back to normal – including public transport. I can only hope that the feeble minded perpetrators of this outrage realise that London is not a good target because it is well prepared, the people do not panic, and everyone just gets on with everyday business after a short interval of pulling ourselves up. Even the stock market suffered only a minor wobble – in line with other short falls. All this has been amazing – the news is full of the indomitable spirit of Londoners, reminiscences of the Blitz, “London Can Take It”, recollections of how the IRA failed to cow the British people, the American Embassy band played “God Save the Queen” outside Buckingham Palace with a banner “Today We Are All British” etc.
Perhaps the most wonderful effect will be seen later today in the announcements on climate change and Africa from the G8 – although they will not be what everyone wants the effect of the bombs has been to bring a greater degree of solidarity and unity among the leaders than would have been possible without the outrage. The perpetrators have scored a massive own-goal.
As you know, I am not taken to jingoism, but today I feel really proud to be a Londoner!
Its wonderful reading how in the face of these terrible outrages, people can manage to keep it together and support one another.