Thursday, July 07, 2005


The first paragraph of this post is something I wrote July 2. London had been on my mind especially the past week, with memories surfacing - things I hadn't even known I'd forgotten - surfacing more vivid than ever.

I've been thinking about London a lot lately. It strange how I spent only a few days there, yet every second of it is deeply imbedded in my heart; I think about it at least once every day. I love the smell of London; in the city, the smell of the restaurants and traffic, the millions of souls which crowd its streets; in the underground stations, the smells of the fuel and tile halls; in the Tower of London, the mossy smell, cold, wet stone and old wood. I remember the night we left Wagamama after supper; the restaurant is next to the Tower of London, separated only by an expanse of brick paving the way down to the Thames, and it was breathtaking, seeing the Tower lit up at night, lights from the city and Tower Bridge illuminating the great river; if you walk to the left, up the rise, you can see the dome of St. Paul's cathedral glowing in the night. It is glorious, and it is something I will never forget.


This morning, I woke up at 6 to the sound of my Dad talking to my Mom - something about double-deckers, exploded. I knew immediately what had happened; I had had the sinking feeling for the past couple of days, that something big and horrible was going to happen to London soon, and I only wish that the reasons behind that feeling had not been realised. I got out of bed as fast as I could, threw on a pair of jeans, and made it into my parents' room in time to see videos of what was happening in London - and I couldn't help it, I broke down and wept. It cut me deeper than the 9/11 attacks on my home country did, and I'm certain part of it is that I'd never been to New York City (and it'd been many years since I was in D.C.), so I couldn't fully comprehend what was happening, as I wasn't familiar with it in any way other than photos or movies...yet I'm familiar with London; five of the best days of my life were spent there. It's so beautiful, so quirky and ancient, slightly imposing, visions of grandeur from now and from years past seeping from between the stones. Those places, the places where terrorists detonated bombs, I was there. I rode on the Tube, I walked those streets, and I traveled aboard those double-deckers. I remember and treasure every second of it, and the thought that someone was evil enough to victimize innocent people, to try to destroy the feeling of safety, to mar the beauty of that place, makes me horribly angry.

I've been reading news sites (mainly the BBC News) and listening to the radio almost all day, keeping track of what's going on, how the casualty toll has climbed immensely since the first numbers were released.

"'This is not on the same scale and does not have the same psychological impact as September 11 -- though you will not be thinking in that manner if you lost somebody today,' said one trader at a U.S. investment bank."

I have to disagree with that banker. I believe this does have the same psychological impact as 9/11; there are not as many casualties, to be sure, yet any attack so well coordinated and ruthlessly executed is chilling, rips families apart, and makes people fear for their safety -- it's so very personal, for the attackers are incredibly impersonal.

There will be Londoners who will date their lives from this day, who will think to themselves tonight, "This is the first time I've brushed my teeth since..." or "This is the first time I've lain down since..." or "This is the first time I've had to go grocery shopping..." etc. Something of this magnitude makes you almost begin life again, see life through new eyes, makes you reevaluate, makes you appreciate your family more. I know there are people there tonight who can't fall asleep -- who don't want to fall asleep, for fear of reliving the experience.

I pray that they won't be terrorized, that they will be able to keep their calm and their peaceful way of life. I pray that they will have dreamless sleep tonight, and that tomorrow they will wake up knowing that they will be okay.


kate said...

Neeks -- thought you'd enjoy reading this: Phil Johnson has just returned from a trip to London. He kept a really fascinating journal -- and blogged on the day of the terror attacks. It makes for a good read.

nika said...

Thanks, Kate! I've just read through his posts on the main page, plus his bio. Looks really good -- how did you find it?

kate said...

p.s. sorry, I just emailed talk2danika....I couldn't find your most recent email address.

nika said...

(that's fine; I got it, and I just e-mailed you from my other address, too. :) )