DomSez: Moving On

[This post is a syndication of my latest Ruberyvillage DomSez column]

It’s odd – I went away for a week after complaining that “nothing much was happening” news wise to write about. That week, the G8 summit hugely increased aid to Africa, London won the Olympic bid beating favourites Paris, and Britain was rocked by the first suicide bombings ever on its soil.

Now Nathan wrote a very good article in the immediate aftermath of the attacks and I’m not going to tread over old ground. But since then, we’ve learnt so much about what happened that I think it’s worth reflecting on how we’ve moved on since Thursday.

The investigation seems to be moving on very quickly – a tribute to the police and security services. Importantly we discovered that all of the bombers were British born. Mohammad Sidique Khan, Hasib Mir Hussain, Shehzad Tanweer and Lindsey Germaine are all thought to have carried out the atrocity. It’s interesting to read about their normal lives, and only adds to the horror of the event. These weren’t cartoon characters – they were real men with real lives and families that knew nothing of what they were capable of.

It’s frightening to think of how it must feel to be instantly thrown into the media spotlight because your son, or brother, or nephew has blown themselves up and murdered innocent people in the process. It’s always families who suffer in these situations, and find it the hardest the move on. Families of the victims, or families of the perpetrations. They both forever scared by the events of Thursday.

For the rest of us, thoughts turn on how we must stop this kind of thing happening again. According to the Guardian, by the 1990s the IRA has been comprehensively infiltrated by the security services. This needs to happen with today’s terror groups – and I wonder whether we’re directing our resources in the right place. The Government has admitted that ID cards wouldn’t have stopped the attack, and we know they will be an extremely expensive scheme. Anti-terror activities take time but they also need funds – are we spending ours wisely?

The Muslim community has been very vocal so far in condemning the attacks, which are effectively a slur on the name of Islam. I’m not suggesting that mainstream Islam is in any way at fault – they are victims too – but Muslims must take steps to stop their community being infiltrated not least to prevent ‘revenge’ attacks.

When I last wrote about a certain George Galloway in this column, it wasn’t well received. But I must write about his idea that “Londoners had paid the price for Tony Blair’s policy in Iraq and Afghanistan” (not my words). Whether you agree with the war in Iraq or not, let’s just examine this logically. If Iraq and Afghanistan were the reason that London was bombed – what about September 11th? Sure, this particular incident may have been motivated by Iraq, but fundamentalists hate the Western World for much deeper reasons. A hatred of democracy, of freedom itself, drives this ideology.

And what if it were true? If you believe the war in Iraq was the right thing to do, should the threat of attacks from criminals blackmail you into changing your mind? And I’m sure that those who didn’t support it were doing it for moral reasons, or because they knew it would turn into a vicious quagmire, not because they were scared of suicide bombers. They would have been wrong anyway. The French journalist who was held hostage for five months in Iraq shows that.

In 2012, the attacks in London for most will be a distant memory. The Olympics, however, will focus the world on modern Britain and all we can accomplish. Because people from any political background agree that whatever troubles we face, and however much we squabble about how to solve them – democracy should and will triumph against hate, terror and fear.

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