Thursday, July 14, 2005

Waiting for the evidence


I went for a walk through London with a friend this afternoon. It was a beautiful day and we had a mind to take some pictures.

More by accident than design, we passed Tavistock Square, Kings Cross and Aldgate Station on our travels. It’s the first time I’ve been to these place since they were bombed..

Need I say how horrible it all was?

The sites are surrounded by plastic sheeting whilst the police continue with their forensic work. That’s not so bad. Next to each site, mounds of flowers are growing steadily as people leave tributes. That’s quite touching. The horrible part is the dozens of home-produced posters of victims still not confirmed dead by the authorities, pinned up on nearby lampposts and walls. From a distance they look like missing cat notices. Only there are dozens of them and up close you can see the peoples’ faces. Many of the faces are smiling. Family snapshots of never to be repeated, happy occasions. ‘Missing’, ‘Have you seen our daughter?’, ‘Please help’. These, more than anything else, have really rammed home the reality of what has happened. I could barely look at them. I certainly couldn’t bring myself to photograph them. But part of me tells me that I should. I’ll be round that way again in the weekend and maybe I will have sorted myself out by then.

We spent most of the afternoon wandering around the East End; Shoreditch, Brick Lane, Bethnal Green, Whitechapel. These are very Muslim areas. There was a much larger than usual visible police presence. Maybe I was feeling overly sensitive but every now and again I saw people looking suspiciously at the camera in my hand as if it were a weapon. Whatever, I took virtually no pictures of anything today.


I’ve reached a peculiar point for this blog. It’s a personal blog not a political one. Part of me wants to move away from the single issue I’ve been stuck on lately. However, I want to finish recording my thoughts about why last week’s bombings are not like 9/11 and why I know the nature of London and Londoners’ response to the bombings are misrepresented in the media. I’ll probably get round to that next.

One of the absolutely key differences between ‘77’ and 911 is that none us knew what to expect in the aftermath of 911. Not the way the story would be managed, nor the way our governments would behave. There was a lot more trust floating around. This time round a lot more people are suspicious, plus we are more literate when it comes to how the game is played. God willing, this will help us to identify the lies in real time this time rather than retrospectively, months or years after the event.

And, following on from my previous post, the case being woven around the suspected suicide bombers is starting to smell already. But I’m waiting for the official release of a couple of pieces of the ‘evidence’ before I say any more about that. I’m especially looking forward to the CCTV footage of the four guys at the Kings Cross we’ve been told about. I am looking for three things in particular but I’ll save that for a later post. In the meantime, this story seems to have some potential.

Think what it must feel like to be a decent, law abiding Muslim living in the West right now. The staring. The bricks through the windows. The thinly disguised hate in the newspapers and our politicians’ words - how insincere does that ‘it’s only a minority’ crap sound. We’re fighting a war to save Western Civilisation don’t you know?

Fuck Bush. Fuck Blair. Fuck the newspapers. Don’t let them demonise your neighbour. Take any opportunity you can to let that neighbour know you’re not part of the mob.

(category: political stuff)


Sparkling said...

Your description of the missing people posters stopped me in my track. You should deffinately take photos, but I guess it's not like taking a photograph of the missing cat posters in your own neighbourhood.

I was planning a trip to London this weekend, but think I might give it a miss for now.

Stef said...

I was chatting with a Flickr buddy, Andy, about this yesterday and he said something similiar ...

'I took a photo of one of 'missing' people on monday (sad to say she's just been confirmed killed). Can't bring myself to look at it, never mind 'think' of putting it up on Flickr, it would be too sick.'

I've never seen anything like this in London before and it's like something from Central America in the days of the death squads.

It's happened because the police are taking so long to identify the victims. In an era of DNA testing that's another aspect of this business that leaves me suspicious.

This weekend?

Personally, I'll be out and about in London both days and attending an Italian street festival on Sunday. I will not be glaring at any Muslims. I will be opposing any more fascism our government tries to heap on our lives in the name our safety, with every fibre of my being. However ineffective that being might be.

Northun Munki in Oxford Circus said...

The joys of Beeston, Keighley and Dewsbury.

I have visited the neighbourhoods the suspected bombers came from, I spent time in and have friends in those areas before I moved to London.

They're both sh*tholes. I remember going out with a girl in Beeston and being horrified that from her kitchen window, in the middle of the day, I could see a guy shooting up whilst sat on the communal wall outside then casually flicking the needle away, whilst 3 to 6 year olds were running around - some of them without shoes.

Dewsbury isn't much better, a dead mill town. Now decidedly Islamic (of Pakistani / Bangladeshi origin, with a threatening atmosphere. Even worse so if, like my friend T, your Sikh.

Listening to Tony Blair, I don't think he fully understands the culture, the lack of respect the young show to their elders or how much they segrigate and alienate themselves/their neighbours in those regions.

Stef said...

@NM: I hear you, really. But, let's be honest here, you can get a similiar, though not identical vibe in Tottenham, Stonebridge Park, Camberwell or Brixton. You don't have to travel more than a few miles from where the bombs exploded to see exclusion and resentment.

Like I said, I hear what you say but there's a world of difference between being excluded and resentful and killing yourself and blowing people up.

I've just cut this out of the BBC news site ...

"He was proud to be British," he said. "He had everything to live for. His parents were loving and supportive.

"He was a very kind and calm person. He was respected by everyone."

Neighbours described the graduate, who studied at Leeds Metropolitan University, as a "good Muslim". Others said he was a "nice lad" who could "get on with anyone".

One friend said they played sport together only last week. "He's the type of guy who would condemn things like that," the friend said.

"We all knew them but I wouldn't say I knew them well. They were just a very nice family"

"Yet, for all the tributes, it appears Shehzad Tanweer detonated a bomb on a Circle Line train between Aldgate and Liverpool Street stations which killed seven people, including himself, and injured over 100 more."

Does that make sense? Or how about a 30 year old man, married to a Hindhu with an eight month year old child and another on the way who works as a teacher for kids with special needs? Does he sound like the kind of bloke who would travel down to London to slaughter people, joking with his fellow murderers twenty minutes before the bombs went off?

I could scream.

What's makes this worse for me is that I was dead set against the levels of migration that have taken place over the last few years. Not for any racial reasons but because I didn't believe we could culturally assimiliate so many people, so quickly. Tony Blair was up for it though. Big time.

Now I find myself furious at the bile he, other policians and the entire media are coming out with. The same people who were lecturing the likes of me about being xenophobic and racist are preaching the most insanely paranoid crap and showing the cultural sensitivity and understanding of a bunch of Nazis.