I have so many words today that this could be a jumbled mess that I never remember the actual starting point for. On the plus side it won’t be as bad as it could be as it’s first thing in the morning and so there is no wine involved.
I was sat on my couch last night when a BBC News Alert binged my phone. Because of the regularity of famous people dying last year, The Boy always asks “who has died this time” when he hears it. This time no one – yet.
The first alert was just saying that a policeman had been stabbed in Westminster, and that shots had been fired. I use “just” consciously, because in the grand scheme of the news recently, that didn’t see too bad.
(It’s just struck me what a depressing sign of the times that sentence actually is.)
As the evening wore on, the news became bigger. When I woke this morning it was a much clearer image. A terrorist had assaulted the heart of London. 5 people were dead, including the bad man. A policeman had lost his life attempting to safeguard so many others. Approximately 40 people had been injured, some catastrophically.
To the family of the psychopath who killed and maimed yesterday, but mostly to his mother:
I am sorry you have lost your baby, your child, your teenager. I am however not sorry that the 40 year old person he turned into is dead. You are grieving and I want you to know that it’s very unlikely your fault, or that of your family. We just have to blame the evil in the world that your son somehow became entangled with. You are in my thoughts and prayers – for your loss, but also because I pray that you give the authorities everything you can in order to stop this happening again. It’s unlikely he acted on his own. Others had to know what he was doing. Had to have helped him plan. If it was you, then I damn you to hell which is exactly where you will be reunited with him. I know it’s unlikely though. It’s a symptom of where you live. So help to shut the extremism down. Take back your beautiful and peaceful faith, because whatever his motives were, there are people who will blame Islam. Show them that they are wrong.
To the family of the policeman who was murdered yesterday:
I am deeply sorry for your loss. Your husband/son/brother/father/uncle was an incredibly brave man to be a policeman in this day and age. He stepped up and showed even more bravery by tackling a crazy armed psycho in order to protect Londoners and tourists alike. I am sure that I speak for everyone when I say that we want to you to know how thankful we are to him, and his colleagues. Without them our lives would be much more dangerous. Without them, yesterday could have been so much worse. Thank you, and I am sorry. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
I don’t know who the other people were but I am so sad for their families too. Were they tourists bodding about London taking photos? Were they on their way to or from work? Were they just out for their evening jog? I don’t know yet. I don’t want to read the news. It makes for a depressing start to the day, and makes me sad.
What it doesn’t make me is afraid. I absolutely and categorically refuse to be afraid of these horrible people. If I am, if you are, they win. They don’t get to win. They aren’t worthy of the win. Good HAS to triumph over evil.
We Brits are children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren of those who lived through the Blitz. Their spirit runs through our blood, our souls and our consciousness. We did not bow down to the Nazis. We fought back. We did not bow down to the IRA. We fought back. We did not bow down to Al Qaeda. We fought back. We will not bow down to whichever group of evil fuckers this is either. So to those who wish to scare us and slow us down I have two words: Fuck. You.
My grandmother would be turning in her grave for my language, but I am completely sure that she would agree with the sentiments behind it.
I think we are entering a dangerous phase in the history of the world.
Emotions have been stirred by the election of Trump. Despite him not being our leader, he is one of the most powerful people in the world and has made very unpopular decisions in regards to immigration and visitation. I know that whether they were planning to go to the US or not, people have been feeling victimised by his travel bans. That’s understandable – to a point, but that’s a political opinion post for another day.
On top of that, we have now officially got to a point where Article 50 will be triggered at the end of March, and the UK will start negotiations to withdraw from the EU. This has destabilized the economy but also left a lot of people not knowing what is coming next. It will have profound effects on immigration and I think that is playing a part too.
On top of that, the US and the UK announced this week that anything larger than a mobile phone will no longer be allowed on flights originating from certain countries. They are all countries that are Islamic, or have a majority Muslim population. I wholeheartedly believe this is because they have received a credible threat. The following day, London was attacked. Was that a coincidence? I don’t know and I doubt we will ever know.
I have to admit that I went to bed last night convinced that this was actually related to the IRA – but I may have just finished Season 3 of Son’s of Anarchy just as the death of Martin McGuinness was announced. I won’t go off on a major tangent, surprisingly, but I firmly believe that he is hell now too. You can’t right the wrongs of taking innocent lives by becoming a politician. Yes, he helped pave the way for the Good Friday peace agreement, but he was a commander in a terrorist organisation first and his actions and decisions terrorised people and lead to the slaughter of men, women and children. Evil.
As a final point (not that I have had any particular ones, but I did at least warn you of a ramble) I have some thoughts on the airline iPad etc. ban.
I am 100% in support of it. I was before London’s horrible afternoon. I am more so now but I know you can’t have more than 100% so we will leave it there.
I remember when liquids were banned from flights. People were up in arms. Now it’s the norm. I think this will be too. It’s said to be in effect pretty much immediately and probably will only last until October of this year. I don’t believe that though. I think it’s the way forward. A threat doesn’t just disappear. Once someone has worked out that you can do something then it’s always going to be there. I think all airlines will follow suit, and eventually it won’t be about 2 countries banning them from a bunch of Middle Eastern and African nations. It will be global. I will be ok with that too.
I do feel a bit frustrated for parents who were able to put an iPad in front of their kid(s) and keep them entertained for hours on long haul flights. It is going to be way harder for you guys now. But, since this is my blog and I can say what I want, I also feel a little bit smug on behalf of parents who have not relied as heavily on iPads, but books, puzzles and imaginative play too and therefore aren’t as thrown with the idea of iPad free travel.
That said, I also would like to say that my autistic nephew has benefited hugely from an iPad so I can’t judge people too much because they can be wonderful tools for learning and development. I don’t think he would be able to get on a flight, but the idea of X hours of keeping him entertained without an iPad is a scary one, especially when you can’t reason or explain. But to those of you who don’t have that excuse, you should probably start weening the kids off the iPads asap. Get them used to books and toys again, or at least used to an iPhone so they can continue as normal but on a smaller screen.
(I am so going to get an absolute kicking for that paragraph but again, my blog and I will say what I want.)
Finally, for the second time so it may not actually be, if I could get on a flight tonight and go to London and stand on the streets outside a major monument, I actually would. I would get on my iPhone only flight (not that the UK leg from the UAE is yet, but it’s Emirates so they have the best entertainment on any carrier I’ve ever been on anyway), and head into the city when I landed. I would go and walk on the bridges. I would give chocolates or random flowers to the police officers I walked by. I would take in a box of doughnuts to the ER staff of major hospitals and one for the paramedics too.
I would go back and make sure that London knew it was supported. That fear knew it hadn’t won. I would go out of my way to thank the emergency services. To make sure that someone gave the doctors and nurses a bit of sugar to help them through their shift.
I am the crazy person who smiles at the heavily armed police at the airport and wishes them a good day. They look after us. So especially this weekend, I would make sure I could do the same but in the place that needs it most.
I am sorry I can’t be there London. You are loved and supported from afar though.
UPDATE: So it turns out that this guy wasn’t a born and raised Muslim, but a convert. His family have all come out against what he has done. So, I jumped to some major conclusions there, whilst condeming people for jumping to conclusions! Yay me! That was particularly skilled!!!
I am going to leave it there though. It will be applicable to someone at some point.