7/7

Jul. 7th, 2015 03:55 pm
kangeiko: (Default)
Ten years ago today. It doesn't feel like 10 years. I remember it all so clearly.
kangeiko: (Default)
This morning, Bank/Monument station, on the way to my exam:

Overhead announcer: please note, the Central line is currently closed between high barnet and some other place, due to faulty somethings. Blah blah blah, boring.

*waits for train on Circle/District line platform*

*train doesn't arrive*

HYSTERICAL overhead announcer: PLEASE EVACUATE THE STATION IMMEDIATELY. THIS MEANS NOW, PEOPLE!!

*evacuates*

Me: Excuse me, Mr station attendant person, why are we vacuating?

Station attendant: there's a faulty train on the central line.

Me: But - wasn't it there ten minutes ago?

Station attendant: there's a faulty train on the station line.

Me: but why do we have to close two stations to -

Station attendant: THERE'S A FAULTY TRAIN OMG EVACUATE THIS INSTANT, WHY ARE YOU NOT RUNNING?! RUN RUN RUN!!

Me: *runs*

And then I caught a cab to Tower Gateway to get my train to Excel and sit my final exam. Woohoo! Exams over.

Also, faulty train, my big fat arse. Why did they evacuate the station attendants as well as the people in the station?

Ow

Jul. 24th, 2005 08:32 am
kangeiko: (Default)
I am never drinking again. *clutches head*

*

In other news, turns out the guy shot by police was actually innocent... and an electrician. Which is going to make Monday at work interesting, as I nearly quit after having a huge row with someone who was all for summary executions (back when we didn't know who the guy was). Readers of this journal will know that I am 1) against capital punishment; 2) against police carrying / using guns; 3) not enamoured by the thought of our police using Israeli counter-terrorist tactics because it means you shoot fucking electricians.

Unsurprisingly, the guy was panicked when a bunch of plainclothes policemen chased after him.

Scenario: A bunch of white guys chase you as a group.

I'd run.

*

I'd say more but I have to go ward off some of this hangover.

Not Dead

Jul. 22nd, 2005 02:30 pm
kangeiko: (Default)
It occurs to me that perhaps I should post this one-liner at the end of each day, to tally up the bombing days during which I was not blown up. It further occurs to me that perhaps this could be taken as disrespectful etc etc. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, I, and many other Londoners, are just a bit tired at the moment. The main effect of these bombings has been to make us walk home after work, which leaves us tired and tetchy. Certainly it is making me question the wisdom of moving to Clapham in a couple of months, which is almost exclusively dependent on the Northern and Victoria lines. . . both of which were closed off for a while after each bombing.

I am fed up.

I am fed up of being shepherded around by police officers and of having my lunch hour distrupted by evacuations. I am fed up of trains being delayed endlessly, and of announcements every three minutes reminding us to take our luggage with us. I am fed up, most of all, of listening to my colleagues mutter about how this wouldn’t be a problem if all Muslims were deported. Yes, you read that right – all Muslims. In fact, I got fed up to the point where a group of them had to come to me afterwards and apologise for their comments, as I had very obviously taken great offence to the extent of getting ready to walk out. In their favour, they realized that they were out of line and amended their behaviour accordingly. But it was frustrating to have to deal with it to begin with.

I know that we’re supposed to be working away happily, with a Blitz spirit or whatever, but right this moment people are just pissed off. I am not the least bit surprised that the would-be bombers yesterday and today were tackled by the public; if the mood in my office is anything to go by, any other would-be bombers stand a real chance of being ripped apart before the police get to them. You can feel the anger in the city. It’s seeping in through the pores. We’re getting on with it – there’s not much else you can do – but suffice to say, we’re not happy.

I’m not quite sure where this post is going, actually. I’m supposed to be watching Nat’s play tonight with [livejournal.com profile] athena25 and [livejournal.com profile] queenspanky+1, but whether any of us can actually reach Golder’s Green in time without a Northern Line working is anyone’s guess.

If terrorists make me miss open-air theatre, I’m going to be even more annoyed.
kangeiko: (Default)
Christ, I can't even have my lunch in peace without being shepherded off by flak-jacketed police, can I? *sigh*

Bombers etc on the tube, entire building in shut-down mode (again). Am highly annoyed that will have to walk/catch bus to Waterloo instead of using tube, as tube drivers have (unsurprisingly) refused to go back to work. Never fear - the strike-meister is here. Any watching terrorists, please take note: an organised strike action actually has more effect on us than some coloured gas out of a backpack.

Anyway. Am not blowed up. Woo.

In other news, Fables fic nearly finished, although still untitled. It draws heavily on 'The Juniper Tree', so I'm really tempted to call it 'Der Wacholderbuschbaum', but my German is sadly limited and probably wrong. Grr.

Off to brave public transport now. If I'm not home in six hours, permission is granted to loose the dogs.
kangeiko: (Default)
We just had the two-minute silence. Our office and every office within sight gathered on the street (and, bear in mind that we're on a busy street in Central London). This isn't going to work, I thought. We get so much traffic, it'll be a farce. We'll just be a bunch of people standing around while cars go past and honk their horns and, anyway, there is simply so much ambient noise. This isn't going to work.

And that was when the traffic stopped.

Cars stopped in the middle of the road like neat matchrioshki - van, smaller van, cab, car - still and silent as far as the eye could see or sound could carry.

It was eerie.
kangeiko: (Default)
So I’m not quite sure what the make of this now. The terrorists were suicide bombers that were born and lived in Leeds, and were perfectly normal (except that in the last few months their behaviour had changed radically, but apparently that was perfectly normal too. Er. What?). No one is running around like a headless chicken, but people are understandably freaked at the thought Terror in Our Midst! (tm). The problem is this:

1) you need to stay vigilant, the police are saying, and watch out for any suspicious people (as well as suspicious packages, which used to be fine).
2) BUT we also need to make sure that we don’t descend into Islamophobia and racism as a consequence of the attacks.

How is this supposed to work? I’m actually quite confused. How is your average person supposed to watch out for would-be terrorists on a crowded station platform? How do you find the people acting ‘suspiciously’? Oh, it’s easy enough – find the middle-aged Arab man wearing traditional clothing, or the young Arab man looking around. But, wait – that simply involves finding the nearest Arab person and going off on one. He’s not white, and he looks ill at ease, therefore he’s a terrorist. No actual thought required.

I’m incredibly confused as to how Joe Public is supposed to locate these terrorists without descending into racism, stereotypes and Islamophobia. Because you know that it’ll happen. You know that anyone of Asian or Arab descent looking ill at ease in a major public location would immediately be viewed with suspicion. Never mind that they are probably looking ill at ease because they are aware of an increase in racial violence and a bunch of BNP card-carrying thugs are eyeing them; in the eyes of Joe Public, they are Acting Suspiciously. Instant incident.

I don’t think that the public should be more vigilant, actually. I think that such vigilance will simply result in an increase in racial tension. Perhaps not that many attacks, but certainly tension, and that can’t be a good thing in trying times. We have plenty of police around for just this sort of role, and doubtless the new ‘emergency powers’ the Security Services are asking for will be pushed through (which is another outrage, but I will rant about that later). Today you couldn’t move for London Transport Police, which was actually strangely disconcerting. I’m used to neon-clad officers moving through the crowds, but these were uniformed LTP and Met stationed at entrances. Surbiton, Waterloo and Oxford Circus had at least one officer per ten people present. The police presence was somewhat bewildering, but I’m sure I’d get used to it eventually. People staring suspiciously at each other over their morning coffee and paper? Not so much. And we shouldn’t have to.

I say again – it is not the job of Joe Public to watch his fellow citizens. If we don’t have enough police to do the job and we don’t have CCTV and it’s required to ensure our safety – well, that’s a debate, isn’t it? We should sit down and talk about it. Maybe it would be a good idea to install body scanners; maybe not. But it is not a good thing to ask the public to start looking at each other suspiciously, especially when they’re supposed to be looking for potential terrorists. That’s how lynch mobs are formed and wasn’t that the underpinning principle of McCarthyism and the Stalinist terror? The enemy are among us. Make sure to report your son / daughter / significant other today; they could be filthy Red terrorists.

While I applaud the appeals made by prominent British Muslim clerics and scholars today, saying that the British Muslim community should do more to find out why its youngsters are being led to these beliefs in conjunction with the govt tackling extant racial tensions, I don’t think that this can be achieved by denouncements left right and centre. A witch-hunt helps no-one. Instead, I would argue that what is needed is greater communication and stronger links between the different communities in the UK. We don’t need a melting pot to churn out one vision of Britannia, but we do need to foster a sense of belonging. People do not bomb their own homes or communities. They attack that which is foreign and hostile to them. This is no different from the G8 summit, where the tiny minority of anarchists that initiated violence against local people and local buildings were decidedly not local. The vast majority of protestors, especially those local to the area, were respectful and non-violent. The same principle goes for any violent groups in the UK: you don’t attack your own home. You attack that which is different, and hostile, and a threat.

If Britain is truly a place where young people are turning to extremist teachings and becoming suicide bombers, then we must examine why this is happening, or we are all lost. If we react with suspicion and hostility, then we are doing precisely what the bombers and the planners behind the bombings wanted. I’ve lived in a society where you could be denounced at any moment as a dissident or a subversive simply by virtue of my ethnic composition. I don’t want to do it again.

*

Originally linked via [livejournal.com profile] mousewrites’s journal, I saw the following comic strip and was amazed. Mark Millar does the G8 summit, July 6th: see it here.

Seriously?

Jul. 12th, 2005 12:23 pm
kangeiko: (Default)
I appeal to the Americans on my flist to tell me that this is not the case. Please, God. We've just been told that there's another security alert at Edgware Road, and I'm frankly less worried about that. I don't care whether the US requires Brits to get a visa to come over - I just won't bother coming over - but wasn't this exactly the same rhetoric used in the 'liberation' of Afghanistan and Iraq?

Scary as.
kangeiko: (Default)
For all those that wanted to stand in a major bit of London and spite the bombers -

go here and sign up.

I'm actually of two minds about this, as it sounds a bit wishy washy to say, "I'll march - but only if you will too." Er, no, we've marched anyway. Yesterday, we didn't really have much of a choice. True, we weren't carrying placards or chanting slogans, but we were definitely marching through major bits of London. The (hardcopy) Times has a picture of what I couldn't take a picture of in Matthew Parris' op-ed: people walking calmly across the bridges.

Believe me, we marched. We'll probably do it again. So I don't view the pledge as necessary. But, on the other hand, a show of solidarity with the victims and families of the victims - always good.

I thought perhaps of going to a museum tomorrow, if they're open. I'm supposed to be going to an ex-boss's flat-warming, but it's in Slough. I want to stay in London this weekend, somewhere public, with a notebook and a cup of coffee, and just hang out.

Actually, if lj-people are around and want to meet up - maybe just for ice-cream in Trafalgar Square, or something - it might be nice. Thoughts?

Edit: fabulous new icon by [livejournal.com profile] stargazer_dream *points*. Because, clearly incredibly appropriate. Must make London-related icon.
kangeiko: (Default)
From [livejournal.com profile] london070705:

East Anglian Ambulance Service have launched a national "In case of Emergency(ICE)" campaign with the support of Falklands war hero Simon Weston.

The idea is that you store the word "ICE " in your mobile phone address book, and against it enter the number of the person you would want to be contacted "In Case of Emergency".

In an emergency situation ambulance and hospital staff will then be able to quickly find out who your next of kin are and be able to contact them. It's so simple that everyone can do it. Please do.

Please will you also email this to everybody in your address book, it won't take too many 'forwards' before everybody will know about this. It really could save your life, or put a loved one's mind at rest.

For more than one contact name ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc

***

I've done this. Others should, too.

Joy

Jul. 7th, 2005 06:42 pm
kangeiko: (Default)
I'm home and I'm alive and I'm safe and I'm even - dare I say it? - smiling. Or wearing a look of grim determination, at any rate. I left the office at around half past 3, and made it home for around 6 because waterloo station was open and trains were running out of London.

To get from my offices in New Cavendish Street to Waterloo Station, I walked along Regent Street, then Oxford Street, then the middle of Soho, then Shaftesbury Avenue, then Charing Cross Road, then through Trafalgar Square, then along the Strand, across the bridges and through the subway. It was bright and sunny, and I was surrounded by hundreds of people doing the same. And you know what? No one was panicked. No one was upset. I suspect that everyone had done their panic and upset thing immediately after hearing / feeling this, as I had done. By midday, judging the impact, there was simply a look at how to best manage the situation. No one wanted to make things worse by panicking, or flooding the streets. Offices started emptying out slowly, with people volunteering to stay late to make sure that the system wasn't flooded and others leaving early to see what exactly was available.

So, I set off, ready to brave traumatised crowds. Except that the crowds weren't actually crowds, per se, and not precisely traumatised. I mean, sure, there were people - and it was really odd to see empty shops and cafes all along Oxford Street - but they weren't in crowds. In fact, the number of people seemed perfectly proportional to the size of the road. There was no traffic, apart from emergency vehicles and people on bicycles and a couple of cabs, maybe. No one was running, or rushing. Instead the people sort of flowed towards the station, as if we were in some giant queue. Which I suppose we were. Once we got to the station, we filed quietly on the train, listened to the train guard assure us that they were doing everything possible to ensure our safety, and we travelled in peace and quiet, with complete strangers swapping stories and experiences in hushed voices.

People didn't look frightened, or cowed. They just looked... determined.

And you know what?

I'm going back to work tomorrow.

So there.

ETA: Some words from some fellow Londoners, collected from various LJs and webpages:

London

Tony

Ken

athena25 )

For those that want to help - some sensible suggestions

and

General love for Graeme who is a mate of mine and who, [livejournal.com profile] queenspanky tells me, was down the street, is a National Rail person with big arms and was shifting wreckage. He's getting a hug ASAP.

Finally, lots of love to lj in general. People have been wonderful and supportive, and, speaking as a Londoner with many friends overseas, I especially appreciated all the offers to contact people abroad once the phone networks came down. I dealt with many frantic overseas voicemail messages once the phones started working again.

I'm going to go to bed, now. Take care, people. I'll see you tomorrow.
kangeiko: (Default)
The lights went off when i was on the tube and i thought it was weird and i got to work ok but now i am here and everything is shut down and we are on high security alert and the phone networks are down and i can't get through to anyone and i am really really scared because i am stranded in fucking oxford circus and i can't get through to anyone.

ETA:

[livejournal.com profile] london_070705 has been set up for the latest news and for messages.

and i just heard from [livejournal.com profile] wingsmith, he's ok, as are [livejournal.com profile] queenspanky and pete and [livejournal.com profile] athena25.

*breathes*

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