What a world we live in. Here I am, in Australia for a couple of weeks, watching mans continuing inhumanity to man from a distance. I have to add that the distance has certainly not made my view any the fonder either.
The first event I would pass some comment on is the dreadful bombing of London Transport yesterday, resulting in the death and maiming of a great many completely innocent, unrelated victims of every conceivable race and religious belief. Muslim, Catholic, Jew, Hindu, Anglican, black, white, brown and yellow. There was no selection of the victims which inevitably means that the target was just ... people.
The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, had this to say, which I feel in total accord with:
“I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.
That isn’t an ideology, it isn’t even a perverted faith - it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I’m proud to be the mayor of that city.”
He went on further to address the terrorists directly by saying:
”I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others - that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail.
In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.
They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don’t want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.”
The full text of his speech is here, courtesy of the Financial Times.
A great deal has been said in all of the worlds press since the attack, much of it complete tripe and demeaning of the people that both wrote and published it. Self interest and political advantage have become major players in all of the posturing by news pundits the world over, as illustrated by a Fox News contributor, Brit Hume, who said:
"My first thought when I heard - just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, 'Hmmm, time to buy.'"
The other issue which has grabbed my attention is the recent furore in Italy about the CIA agents that ambushed and then kidnapped a Muslim cleric from the streets of Milan. Not the first time his kidnap had been attempted either, by all accounts.
I was immediately put in mind of Mission Impossible when I read the first reports – which is, sadly, how the “mission” was presented in all of the US press I read. This has been followed by the revelation that there is a ‘parallel’ security force, acting on behalf of the US secret services, in Italy at the moment. Not really much of a surprise I would suggest, given the long-standing involvement of the US military and security forces in the everyday business of Italy. Dare I just mention the Gladio here for a moment? Yes, I do.
The greatest shame for personal freedom and personal liberty is the damage caused by the way that this operation was handled – as well as the fact that it would seem that the USA feel they have the right to act and interfere in other sovereign countries with seeming total immunity to the laws of those countries they are acting in. It is nothing to do with countering terrorism at all – it is all about the respect that we show to others and the arrogance which in its own way then encourages anger and resentment amongst those people hurt by such activities – leading to even more terrorist activity as the response.
All that and I’m in Australia, in the winter, missing a wonderful Italian summer. I'll get back to reading Angels and Demons now then...