07 July 2005

Thinking of London.

On days like this, I am glad I live in a small city. Of course with Canada's Pacific Naval Base mere miles from my home, I realize we are still a target, just as in the 80s I was aware that Seattle would be a likely target for a Russian nuke.

Unlike New York, Madrid, and other cities which have been targeted by terrorists, I can identify with the landscape of London. I have been in the underground stations which were attacked; I have been on busses like the one that was torn apart. I walked the streets that were jammed by emergency vehicles. It hits much closer to home.

My first thought was, "Fucking IRA. Why don't they just give up." When I saw the claims by Al Queda, I just shuddered because it gives Bush and Blair more authority to screw with individuals' rights. If the attack was planned, it was almost certainly to coincide with G8; it's just a "bonus" that the 2012 Olympics were just won by the city and everyone was in a celebratory mood.

The anti-terrorist rhetoric is already in full-swing... I expect by noon our time I will not be able to watch TV without having a tantrum.

I often wonder how this era will be recorded in the history texts of the future; I think it can be compared to the cold war for the psychological effect on the average person but it differs in that many more lives have been directly affected by terrorism.


Zézette said...

That's an interesting point you make comparing the psychological effect of this era to that of the Cold War. I recall clearly, even as a child, being very aware of the background hum of menace in every day life. That might sound a little over the top, but it was something I definitely felt. When the Iron Curtain was no more I recall feeling that lift, and thinking how strange it was.

Life is infused with something similar now, but distinctly different in the way you point out: I never expected to directly see the effects of the Cold War, whereas I expect that I very well may be witness to the consequences of this war. In a way I already have. I had wondered if the difference in my perception was due to the fact that I'm seeing all of this unfold as an adult. Partly, perhaps.

Cheryl said...

I've also wondered whether it was the way my adult self was parsing the information, but I was really plugged in to current events in the 80s, and my parents discussed stuff with me in a non-condescending manner, so I don't think there's a big difference between the two.

I spent a huge number of hours as a teen fretting over (the threat of) nuclear war and I think it is fair to replace "nuclear war" with "terrorist attack." The rhetoric is similar, the "enemy" having only shifted slightly to the west. The difference for me is that with "nuclear war" there would only be one big strike and counterstrike and that would be it. With "terrorist attack" there can be (and have been) many. That's what ups the odds of knowing someone who is affected. Otherwise, the nebulous fear is the same.

Zézette said...

I think the similarity stems from the fact that without a significant boogey man, the leaders of the States are at a loss. Frankly, I think that this dynamic was a major factor in the whole involvement in Iraq from the outset. They essentially created a baddie for themselves. Which I find more depressing than I can tell you. I take it you've seen Wag The Dog?