Saturday, July 09, 2005

"This Is London"

With those words Edward R. Murrow began his historic broadcasts from London during the darkest days of the Blitz in 1940. What the Blitz showed the world was that Londoners were resolute and resilient in their defense of the city and defiance toward the enemy. They took refuge in the Underground tunnels and emerged to live their lives as normally as possible during the day.

Those same tunnels that sheltered the people of London in 1940 gained changed meaning this past week with the devastating terror attacks meted out by those who would again test the resolve of Britain. If history is any guide, the perpetrators of this destruction will meet with cold, hard British steel.

Seeing as this is a developing story, I cannot say much in the way of cogent analysis. Will that come? Sure, in the days and weeks ahead I will comment in such a manner. Now, however, is the time for reflection on the human aspect and the broader context.

This brings together the cliches concerning conservatives and liberals on the matter of international security. Liberals remind us that suffering is everywhere and conservatives remind us that the world is a dangerous place. They are, naturally, both right and wrong in their own way.

The people of London have been dealing with the threat of terror for thirty-five years now. The constant threat of IRA bombings left Londoners sadder but wiser when it comes to security and safety. It is flippant to say that they will shake this off easily, but they have gained a sort of weary acceptance of this sort of horrific violence.

Was it Al Qaeda? Maybe, looks like their work. Will we ever be sure? Maybe so maybe not.

Suffering is the order of the day for millions that live with fear and violence, from Darfur to Iraq to the Philippines to Colombia. Lest we forget that we are not special in the West with being vulnerable to violence and destruction.

Reasoned commentary to follow in the days and weeks ahead. Now is the time to come to terms with the situation. I know I need a few days.

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