London Calling

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I was taken aback by the events on July 7.  I heard about the bombings in London while riding to work in the front of our furniture crew’s moving truck.  The report came on the air on some country station that wasn’t playing Garth Brooks right then.

 “At least 33 dead, hundreds wounded…bombs detonated on subways and one double-decker bus over the course of an hour….during rush hour this morning in London…” 

Anyone who knows me would tell you I am not a morning person at all.  In fact, on Sept. 11, 2001, I heard a news broadcast on the radio on the way to school that morning, and was barely affected by the weight of those events.  I then arrived at school and saw one of my friends screaming and cussing in the hallway, yelling many expletives, followed by the word “terrorists.” Then I arrived at my first class and saw what was happening on the TV, and was finally hit by the weight of what was going on. 

Numbers never really caught my attention.  When a radio broadcast says, “thousands dead,” I might not even hear it.  When you actually look at a TV and see two towers collapsing, after you literally see people jumping out of windows to escape a worse death, the numbers begin to mean a bit more.  I didn’t take my eyes of a TV screen for the rest of the day. 

The same thing happened on July 7.  I heard the news in the morning, didn’t think anything of it at first, though I did find it odd, and went about moving furniture for the entire morning.  When we took our lunch break, I checked msn.com, and I realized what had actually happened.  I didn’t really see the same horrific images that I saw four years or so prior, but I will never forget the look on Tony Blair’s face.  The British prime minister appeared to be acting stoic, but I saw something different underneath.  I saw tears trying to escape.  I saw a man so incredibly broken by hate’s stab in his back that he wanted to crawl into a hole in die.  Don’t mistake that for weakness, though.  I didn’t see weakness in the man.  Just sadness. 

I didn’t exactly see the same thing on the face of our country’s leader.  At least, to Bush’s credit, he was going to be spending that day with Blair and the other six most powerful leaders in the world talking about aiding poverty and disease in Africa.  He was spending some time doing something that I highly respect, for once.  Bush pointed out the clear contrast between ideologies.  These hated world leaders were trying to save the poor, and their detractors attacked and killed their citizens in a highly sickening act of cowardice.  I don’t know what they consider brave or intelligent, but killing innocent civilians to prove a point you’re hardly making seems cowardly to me, not to mention stupid. 

I don’t know what message Al-Qaeda has been trying to send to the world, but there appears to be a miscommunication.