I’ve got nothing more to say, not that I had much worth contributing in the first place, being a safe 300 miles away. And anyway, as others have put it, this is not a time to dwell, or “indulge in an orgy of introspection”. There will be no pornography of grief, there or here.
But I would like to record here some of the voices of the last few days that stood out for me, that stood out as speaking for the city, for the character of London’s people.
The first is from the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who surprised many by giving a rousing speech that truly struck a chord and at the right time gave the people of London just what they needed. It’s been seeded endlessly throughout the blogosphere, and it should be read in its entirety, but still I want to quote from it here, for my own edification:
> I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. 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.
> In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.
> They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don’t want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.
That echoes everyone’s sentiments, I’m sure. But the best one for me, which made me grin with pride, was the reaction of the London News Review in the form of a letter to the terrorists:
>[W]e’ve got news for you. We don’t much like our government ourselves, or what they do in our name. But, listen very clearly. We’ll deal with that ourselves. We’re London, and we’ve got our own way of doing things, and it doesn’t involve tossing bombs around where innocent people are going about their lives.
> And that’s because we’re better than you. Everyone is better than you. Our city works. We rather like it. And we’re going to go about our lives. We’re going to take care of the lives you ruined. And then we’re going to work. And we’re going down the pub.
> So you can pack up your bombs, put them in your arseholes, and get the fuck out of our city.
You’ve gotta love that stiff upper lip.