London Is Not Madrid

Today, London came under attack from terrorists when bomb explosions shook the British capital, killing many innocent people. Just like the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States and March 11, 2004 in Madrid these attacks were directed against innocent civilians, and against our way of life.

We all knew that it was bound to happen. Terrorists had warned that they would make Britain pay a heavy price for standing with America in the war in Iraq. Whatever one may think about this war, however, there is a difference between the American and British troops there, who try to limit the number of civilian casualties and so-called “collateral damage,” and the terrorists of al-Qaeda. The attacks in London, like the previous ones in America and Spain, were perpetrated with the express desire to hurt as many civilians as possible and to cause as much “collateral” carnage as possible.

Unlike the Spanish, who painted their hands white as a token of surrender after the Madrid blasts, the English are not likely to surrender. Their historical record provides ample proof of this. “What kind of a people do they think we are?” Winston Churchill said of the nazis 65 years ago. “Is it possible that they do not realize that we shall never cease to persevere against them until they have been taught a lesson which they and the world will never forget?”

Those who attack Britain should bear this in mind. They have made a mistake. Of all the major West European nations the English have the strongest attachment to the idea of the nation-state and to national sovereignty. Where people have a strong sense of national identity they stand stronger in adversity. This is the spirit that should inspire all of us now. Let London be our capital today.

London: our capital

Let London be our capital today.

We knew they would come. Our chief policemen told us it was inevitable, but we didn't need to be told that. We know they will come again - stronger, fiercer and more deadly. We will have to relearn the old lessons the IRA taught us: be vigilant, be aware. We will have to trust our security and emergency services, and meanwhile just get on with our lives.

Sadly there are and will be too many who will not be able to do that.

Bob Doney