Thursday, July 07, 2005


Anxious transcontinental calls have been made to confirm the safety of friends and relations.

The dust is settling. Fingers are starting to point.

Wall Street Journal chronicles the 7/7 aftermath in London. Londonist provides an almost minute-by-minute chronology. Newspapers get ahead of the media pack with newsblogs.

A flickr pool forms.

A leaf is inserted into the Wikipedia tome.

The same tome notes impassionately the occurrence of the September 11 attacks, the 2002 Bali bombing and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

When J F Kennedy was assassinated, it seemed to many people of our parent's generation that the world had changed suddenly and irrevocably. There were days and weeks of shock and mourning. Then life went on: everywhere, babies were born, grew up, lost their milk teeth, scrapped their knees, fell in love, some went to school, did a bit of work money, had a few kids perhaps, then passed on.

And so it will be with the September 11 attacks, the Bali bombing, the Boxing Day tsunami and the most recent 7/7 bombings in London. Has anything really changed then with these incursions into our comfortable complacent lives?

For an enlightening moment in time, we are jolted from our illusory stupor and unthinking assumption that life is safe, secure and certain; that we can plan with confidence the next minute, the next hour, the next day of our lives.

Life is actually terribly and suddenly uncertain (and very successfully so). There you could be, riding the bus or train to work or school, strategising your morning meeting or doing some last minute swotting for exams when without warning, there is a loud noise and various chunks of you are plastered on the walls.

Startled survivors and consumers of the latest news gasp indignantly,"It could have been me!" "Far too close for comfort!" complain others with a little shiver.

The meaninglessness of the deaths is another common talking point. Of course it's not usually termed as such. "Innocent bystanders" or "innocent victims" are the words used, meaning, these people weren't soldiers fighting for their country, they weren't in a war-torn country providing humanitarian aid, nor committing any crime, in fact, they hadn't even antagonised anyone by staring at them. They were just innocently minding their own business and going about their little lives when abruptly they were dead or maimed. (Of course it's just as meaningless as stepping off a kerb and being squished by a bus or death by choking on a pretzel, but that's not as newsworthy.)


Is anyone really innocent?

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