Oh to be in England

There have been times during my travels when I've come near terrorist activity (Israel '74 springs to mind, as do several trips to England). The events of Sept. 11th are still fresh in my mind, as is the knowledge that I could have lost someone very close to me. It's taken a few days to process what happened in London and to have the dispassion to be able to write about it.

Yet, once again, others have said things far better than I could. Colby Cosh, for example, wrote
The world is rightly impressed by the stoic resolve of Londoners in the face of yesterday's transport bombings. So it should be. But let's remember that Londoners spent 25 years living with the threat of terrorism sponsored by Americans . This might, I suppose, be borne in mind by those who are now looking for ritual acts of apology from the worldwide "Muslim community". Surely old Paddy who used to pass the hat 'round the South Boston pub is first in line?

I'll be honest: I take attacks on London personally in a way I cannot when New York and Madrid are targeted. It's one thing for them to kill innocent people, and another thing--not necessarily worse, but distinct--when they set off bus bombs next to the facade of Charles Dickens' house. (Or blow up the old Baltic Exchange.) London is the second home of everyone who thinks in English--and this emphatically includes Americans; the Boston Tea Party was the most characteristically English act in human history. It certainly includes the Irish, whether they care to admit it or not. Unless we are much misled about the facts, the sound we heard yesterday was Mecca--that capital of ignorance and superstition that forbids the tread of the infidel--sending an impotent message to its free, expansive, ever-living opposite.

And then there's Tom Watson's take on London Calling. Read it. You won't be sorry.

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