Ken Livingstone speaks for London after 7/7

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | July 7, 2015 0

bombkenLondon is a unique World City, a tribute to diversity and tolerance where people from all over the world lead interconnected and valued lives. More than that it is a city of great energy and talent with a hugely productive economy based on services, Arts, Sciences, Education, Medicine, Financial Services, Computing and the creative industries. So from all over the world people come here for opportunity, education, medical treatment, to live or just to visit and enjoy. Nowhere was the spirit of London more apparent than on the dark day of the 7th July 2005 when those with hate in their heart for diversity and toleration attacked the city which most represents these values. A city which the night before had come together in Trafalgar Square to celebrate the granting of the 2012 Olympics to this city, an Olympics won by Prime Minister Tony Blair and London Mayor Ken Livingstone which did the Olympics and London proud. Bomb- KenBombnotafraid

There is a curious obscenity about suicide bombing, about the personal fascism which rationalises killing yourself and complete strangers you have first looked in the eye because you have convinced yourself it is for a greater good. There is a particular perversity, if you have religious faith, in destroying what you believe are God’s creations because you have appointed yourself as God’s representative and indeed have convinced yourself that shortly afterwards you will be personally thanked by Him.

In those confusing and uncertain days the country was grateful for the resolute leadership of Tony Blair and in London, Mayor Ken Livingstone, the Head of the Metropolitan Police Sir Ian Blair and the head of London Underground, Tim O’Toole. In the hours after the 7 July attack, then Mayor Ken Livingstone — in Singapore the day after London had won the Olympics — gave this speech. Its combination of sympathy and defiance captured the mood of many Londoners in the days that followed. When we came out onto the streets for a two minute silence on 14 July, this was what we wanted to show — we are one London, unified. 10 years on, we think the message is still as powerful and important.

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“This was a cowardly attack, which has resulted in injury and loss of life. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been injured, or lost loved ones. I want to thank the emergency services for the way they have responded.

Following the al-Qaeda attacks on September 11 in America we conducted a series of exercises in London in order to be prepared for just such an attack. One of the exercises undertaken by the government, my office and the emergency and security services was based on the possibility of multiple explosions on the transport system during the Friday rush hour. The plan that came out of that exercise is being executed today, with remarkable efficiency and courage, and I praise those staff who are involved.

I’d like to thank Londoners for the calm way in which they have responded to this cowardly attack and echo the advice of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair — do everything possible to assist the police and take the advice of the police about getting home today.

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I have no doubt whatsoever that this is a terrorist attack. We did hope in the first few minutes after hearing about the events on the Underground that it might simply be a maintenance tragedy. That was not the case. I have been able to stay in touch through the very excellent communications that were established for the eventuality that I might be out of the city at the time of a terrorist attack and they have worked with remarkable effectiveness. I will be in continual contact until I am back in London. 

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.

Finally, I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life.

Boms_july_2005_Waterloo_stationbombCasualties-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 Skibbereen Eagle

In 1898, to widespread bemusement, a small Provincial Newspaper in an equally small town in the South West corner of Ireland sonorously warned the Czar of Russia that it knew what he was up to and he should be careful how he proceeded for “The Skibbereen Eagle” was wise to his game and in future would be keeping its eye on him! It is doubtful that Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, even noticed the Eagle’s admonitions but as history soon proved he should have paid closer attention to the Eagle’s insightful opinions!

Today, powered by its readers and contributors, from its cyber eyries in Ireland and the centres of the Irish Diaspora The Eagle casts its Cold Eye on Life and Death and much in between.
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