Much as I hate to be serious for a moment and generally piss and moan in the manner of some kind of supercilious Daily Mail Editorial, it would be remiss of me to ignore the most serious act of terrorism ever carried out on British soil. Heck, this section is about opinion, and, after all, most people have one of those when it comes to lunatics blowing themselves to smithereens on public transport...
The piece below was written directly after the events of the 7/7 and clearly much has transpired since then - the failed bombings a couple of weeks later, and the dreadful shooting at Stockwell tube soon after that to name just two - Perhaps, as a nation, we are slightly more jittery now. But still - stiff upper lip and all that...
The British reaction to the terrorist attacks in central London yesterday was typically stoical. We digested the horrible news as it unfolded on our well-informed rolling news networks. Our leaders put aside political differences and stood side by side in their condemnation. Though our communications network was bruised, it rebounded, allowing us to quickly get in touch with loved ones. Those directly affected put themselves in the hands of our estimable emergency services. Our transport system was paralysed for a day. One day. But we were resourceful enough to relocate to our cheerful local hostelries to gather our thoughts and drown our sorrows. This morning, we were back on the tube system. Without fear. Without rancour. We’re a pragmatic bunch, us Brits.
To those responsible for these atrocities: you will never have any of that: None of the solidarity; none of the love or concern; none of the compassion. So you cannot win. You. Cannot. Win.
You will not beat us. You can bomb us, maim us, kill our people indiscriminately, but you cannot break us. Because we have something that you will never have. This is not a war, as the buffoons in Washington would have you believe. Their defiant, preening patriotism and fervour for revenge gives you a credence you do not deserve. A war requires two adversaries, ideologically opposed with honour and conviction on both sides. But you have neither of these things. You creep, you hide in the shadows, you flee when confronted with the consequences of your actions. You are pathetic, cowardly and utterly without redemption. I hope they lock you up with a few of our own murderous villains where you will suffer the most fearsome and final beatings of your dismal little lives.
Because you have achieved nothing. Nothing. We will grieve, bury our dead and move on. But you can never move on and you will never have the freedom you crave. Nor will you be martyrs, for the huge majority of your fellow Muslims revile you more than we do. Because, no doubt, you killed a few of them too. In the name of their own god, you brutally murdered them too.
And the innocent victims of Iraq and Afghanistan – would they be proud of you? Is this a fitting way to avenge them? You can’t get to Bush and Blair and the rest - Too much security; Too many goons with guns. So, like the spineless bullies you are, you pick on the faceless masses, wait until our back is turned, stick the knife in and run for the hills. How brave. You are truly warriors. Can you not see the futility of your actions? Can you not see the hypocrisy? All you are doing is perpetuating a mindless cycle of violence. And from that I’m fairly confident in asserting that not only are you callous, cold-blooded killers, you must be really, really stupid to boot.
So why don’t you just give it up? Nobody likes you. Everybody despises you. If you have even a fragment of respect for your fellow man, now is the time to show it. Put down your arms; unstrap the sinister semtex-filled rucksacks from your trembling, misinformed youths; silence the hate-filled rants of the evil preachers who spew their venomous bile at the weak and the easily led; broaden your horizons – embrace diversity and multiculturalism – do not fear them.
And maybe one day we will all just get along.
July 8th 2005