Saturday, July 09, 2005

London Calling.

It occurred to me after uploading that last epic that I have yet to refer to the bombings that took place in London the other day. So for what it's worth, here are a couple of musings on that little show.

I guess what surprises me most is how the US is amazed at the British ability to carry on with life as usual as though a handful of bombs going off in the tube stations and on a double decker bus happen every day.

I think a lot of you forget that England's not new to terrorism. We lived through a whole heaping helping of it during the last three decades of the 20th century, courtesy of our friends across the water, the Irish Republican Army. Whenever I hear about a terrorist act, be it the World Trade Center or the Madrid train bombings, or the latest London fiasco, it takes me back to the days when I lived in England and lived through the IRA's happy little bombing campaign.

For those of you who weren't there, here's a little hit list:
  • 10/31/71 Bomb explodes in Post Office Tower
  • 12/04/71 Bomb demolishes crowded Belfast pub.
  • 2/22/72 IRA bomb kills six at Aldershot barracks
  • 9/10/73 Bomb blasts rock central London
  • 2/4/74 Soldiers and children killed in coach bombing
  • 5/17/74 Dublin and Monaghan bomb kills 23
  • 6/17/74 IRA bombs Parliament
  • 7/17/74 Bomb blast at the Tower of London
  • 10/5/74 Four dead in Guilford pub blasts
  • 10/22/74 Bomb blast in London club
  • 10/28/74 Minister's wife survives bomb attack
  • 11/7/74 Two die when IRA throws bomb into Woolwich pub
  • 11/21/74 Birmingham pub blasts kill 19
  • 12/22/74 Heath's home is bombed
  • 9/5/75 London Hilton bombed
  • 11/27/75 TV presenter Ross McWhirter shot dead
  • 1/29/76 Explosions rock London's West End
  • 3/22/79 British Ambassador assassinated in Holland
  • 3/30/79 Car bomb kills Airey Neave
  • 8/27/79 IRA bomb kills Lord Mountbatten
  • 8/27/79 Soldiers die in Warrenpoint Massacre
  • 7/20/82 IRA bombs cause carnage in London
  • 10/27/82 RUC officers killed by IRA bomb
  • 12/17/83 Harrods bomb blast kills six
  • 10/12/84 Tory Cabinet in Brighton bomb blast
  • 3/23/87 30 hit as car bomb hits army base
  • 11/8/87 Bomb kills 11 at Enniskillen
  • 3/16/88 3 shot dead at Milltown cemetery
  • 2/12/89 Belfast lawyer Finucane murdered
  • 2/20/89 IRA bombs Tern Hill barracks
  • 9/22/89 Ten dead in Kent barracks bomb
  • 7/20/90 IRA bombs Stock Exchange
  • 4/10/92 IRA bombs Baltic Exchange in London killing three people
  • 12/3/92 Bomb explodes in Manchester
  • 3/20/93 Child dies in Warrington bomb attack
  • 4/24/93 IRA bomb devastates City of London
  • 2/10/96 Docklands bomb ends IRA ceasefire
  • 2/18/96 Bomb blast destroys London bus
  • 6/15/96 Huge explosion rocks central Manchester
  • 3/3/01 Car bomb devastates BBC news center
  • 5/6/01 Second blast at London post office
  • 8/3/01 Car bomb in west London injures seven

And there we have it - a partial list of the IRA's greatest hits.

I remember coming over here to the states and discovering that contrary to my long-held belief, the IRA were NOT a para-military terrorist organization. They were, in fact a bunch of patriots fighting for their freedom from the wicked old colonial United Kingdom. These patriotic freedom fighters targeted places like Enniskillen at a Remembrance Day service, killing old veterans, mothers of slain soldiers and little kids. They blew up a coach full of children because there happened to be a couple of British soldiers on it. They assassinated Ross McWhirter, the editor of the Guinness Book of World Records, for having the temerity to speak up against the IRA.

Freedom fighters.

When the WTC exploded in flames on 9/11, I was as shocked and horrified as the rest of the world. I also thought - at last - now they will understand that the difference between freedom fighters and terrorists depends on how far removed you are from the results of the actions they take. Will you now take a second look at your beliefs in regard to the IRA and their bloody reign of terror?

And then came the new bombings in London. This time not by the IRA but by our latest adopted bunch of terrorists, the Islamic extremists we've acquired courtesy of our adherence to the policies of the US. I watched the news broadcasts, and was heartwarmed to see how my countrymen and women picked themselves up, dusted themselves down and went back to work, having learned that nothing warms the heart of a terrorist more than to see a nation cowering in fear of more attacks, and altering their behavior and restricting the movements and freedoms of the citizenry of that nation just means that the terrorists have won, and achieved what they set out to do. I also noticed that the US broadcasters were swimming in their usual hyperbolic stream and boggling at Londoners' ability to carry on with their daily lives. And then I heard the newscasters talking about how the Brits were showing the good get-up-and-get-on-with-it spirit they showed during the London Blitz in WWII.

Apparently the IRA bombings and the terrorism of the last thirty years never happened.

Funny that.

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