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22 Jul 2005: Unnecessary Evil

A picture

Trafalgar Square Vigil

On the Thursday following the first attack, a two-minute silence was held in London. I stood outside with many others, the traffic arrested, all of London showing solidarity in the face of adversity. That evening, I felt compelled to attend the vigil at Trafalgar Square. Something had happened and it needed to be acknowledged.

I used the Central Line to get to the vigil; a crowded, hot and intensely claustrophobic tube train. My everyday DLR commute is such a contrast: the crowds are not so bad and, being above ground, natural light streams through the windows. The threat suddenly felt so tangible. I was trapped in a densely-packed metal box deep underground. I found myself counting the number of stations to my destination.

Aki and I met up at Trafalgar Square and listened to several of the speakers that evening.

The media, ever hungry for labels, categorisations and boxes to put every fact into, has tried to name the attack 7/7. When the second terrorist attempt occurred two weeks later on 21 July, the papers then spoke of 21/7. This attempt to trademark tragedy strikes me as wrong somehow.

The BBC even had an article on how Israelis live with the threat of suicide bombers everyday. Had we really lost so much in one day? Were we now at the whim of hordes of terrorists ready to strike at any moment? I did not recall such comparisons when the IRA were active. But then again, those were different days. We were not in a War Aganst Terror. No catchy logo had been designed for those tragedies. It was what it was.