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19692The London bombings

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  • Rohan
    Jul 8, 2005
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      Like many Australians, for the last hour (hour-and-a-half? Two hours? I
      can't for the life of me tell) I've been watching the TV coverage of the
      explosions in London. Every channel except for 7 (which has kept on
      broadcasting the cricket interspersed with the news) and 10 (which seems
      to still be showing whatever inane program it had scheduled for tonight)
      are broadcasting reports of the attacks.

      At this stage it seems almost definite that the series of seven, perhaps
      more, blasts were the result of coordinated terrorist attacks on buses
      and train stations.

      Most media outlets report two dead, although apparently an ITV report
      claimed there were 20 fatalities. Some 90 people have been confirmed
      injuried, some having severe damage to limbs and others being in a
      critical state.

      Socialists mourn any tragedy that kills and maims working people. In
      this case, however, the tragedy is biting particularly keenly -- my
      brother, his partner and his partner's child live in England and I
      haven't yet been able to get in contact with them. Of course I'm far
      from being alone in this situation -- tens of thousands of Australians
      have relatives or friends in the UK (I know at least one other member of
      the Green Left staff has relatives over there; probably more do).

      The reality is that it's almost inevitable that some of us will be
      affected by these reactionary attacks in a very personal and immediate way.

      The mobile phone network in Britain is swamped with calls and who knows
      how long before we can confirm whether our friends and family are
      alright. In the meantime we're treated to the visage of Tony Blair
      (looking, as a comrade pointed out, as if he was trying to cry and
      failing) -- fresh from the G8 meetings where the rulers of the most
      industrialised countries have been plotting how to make sure that
      capitalism goes on going on -- declaring: ``It's important ... that
      those engaged in terrorism realize that our determination to defend our
      values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause
      death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism
      on the world.''

      At a time like this, what can one say? We could talk about Farqad
      Khinaisar, shot to death by occupation forces in Baghdad on May 29, we
      could talk about Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay and the misery and
      violence visited daily on the majority of the world's population by
      imperialism, but what's the point.

      Working class people's lives have been shattered by this attack --
      through grevious injury, through the loss or maiming of loved ones,
      through the terror of not knowing a loved one's fate.

      So instead let's talk about those bastards Blair, Bush and Howard, for
      whom this will be not a tragedy but an opportunity. For them there will
      be no self-reflection, no soul-searching. Instead, they'll publicly
      greet this latest tragedy, like the Madrid train bombing and like 9/11,
      as a sign that we need to ``stay the course'' that ``we've got them on
      the run'' and that drawing any connection between their imperial designs
      and what happened today would be abetting the atrocities in London.

      To even question their failure to protect working people from terrorism
      -- by pursuing policies that make such attacks more likely -- will, from
      this point onwards, no doubt be considered a mortal sin by capitalist
      politicians and the corporate media that have collaborated with the
      crusade of the ``coalition of the killing''.

      I think I've had all the TV coverage I can deal with for a while -- I've
      already had to deal with the spectacle of the UK House of Commons'
      hollow rhetoric, all of the politicians no doubt champing at the bit to
      make political capital out of today's tragedy. So instead I'm going to
      switch off and wait by the phone hoping that my brother will call.

      I apologise for such a rambly and self-indulgent post, but it's been a
      long night.

      Rohan Pearce
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