Friday, July 07, 2006


Today is the first anniversary of the devastating London bombings which claimed the lives of 52 innocent people. It is a day of remembrance and also serves as an opportunity to ask some questions.

Why did this happen?
What can be done to prevent it happening again?
Are we safer now than we were a year ago?

They are simple questions with very complicated answers. All too often do people try to put a black and white shroud over issues like this. It's easier to see things in this way. Just look at Bush and Blair and their views on good and evil.

One thing is certain in my mind, only through education, diplomacy and cultural exchange can this threat we face ever be subdued. Violence begats violence, which is why the war on terror is a complete misnomer. By attacking other nations, we are driving more desperate people into the arms of the terrorist leaders; opportunists like Bin Laden prey on the desperate, seducing them with a lie.

This black and white shroud covers all sides of the conflict from the Al Qaeda view that all westerners are fair targets, to the similar view in countries like Britain that Islam is an 'evil' religion that teaches murder. Because issues are complex, we tend to generalise heavily. As a result we now have a situation in which all Muslims in Britain are being viewed with suspicion by some. Similarly, in Iraq and Afghanistan all Britons are viewed with hatred by some, despite the fact that some of them might be aid workers etc.

Why did this atrocity happen?
What can be done to prevent it happening again?
Are we safer now than we were a year ago?

I don't have the answers to these questions. I just feel that in the year since the attack we have done more to drive recruitment for the terrorists than we have to subdue them. Every biased foreign policy move, every piece of populist fear-driven anti-terror legislation, every brutal raid on an innocent persons home, every newspaper headline that polarises opinion are deterring from the real need to sit down and analyse the causes of terrorism. Only through education and understanding, can we emerge from these tragedies better than before.

Today my thoughts are with the families of all of the people killed in London last year. My hope for the future is that these deaths were not in vain and that we can learn from the event to ensure that we can prevent it from happening again, both in the UK and across the World.

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