laila
21 July 2005 @ 07:16 pm
Modern Life is Rubbish [Castle Aaaagh Remix].  
Dear Terrorists;

Fuck You.

Fuck you all viciously. Sideways.

If you think this is going to work you are sadly mistaken. You are not going to stop me from traveling to and from work on whatever mode of transport I bloody well want to, you are not going to stop me going about my life with a smile on my face and my head in the clouds, and you are most definitely not going to force me out of this city. I love this city. The fact that you don't is neither here nor there.

Really. Fuck you. If you don't like it here you can bloody well piss off and find somewhere more to your liking. Nobody's making you live in England. If you don't like it, tough. It'll take more than your bombs to make us change.

You don't frighten us, terrorist pig-dogs. Go and boil your bottom, sons of a silly person.

If this is you again, Al-Qaeda, there are plenty of places in the world where you can have your goddamn Islamic state. Fine. Go to it. But leave the English in general and London in particular alone. We're quite happy secular, thank you, and the more buses and tubes you blow up the more convinced you'll make this particular individual that the last thing they'll be thinking about doing is converting.

You are not martyrs. You are not representatives of your faith and you most certainly do not speak for every single member of your community, whatever that may turn out to be. You are not righteously justified. What you are is criminals, lunatics and bastards. You are committing criminal acts and when we find you you are going to be treated as criminals. I fart in your general direction.

Fuck you, terrorists. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

Presuming this is Al-Qaeda again, or some related organization... I don't care what you people, you terrorists, happen to believe in, whether it's God, Buddha, Krishna, Allah, the Angel Moroni, Reverend Moon, L. Ron Hubbard or Zebedee from the freaking Magic Roundabout, because it doesn't matter. It doesn't stop you from being terrorists. But as far as I'm concerned you can worship who you damn well want, I really don't give a shit. It's your business, not mine. Now extend me the same favor, thank you. Just because I choose to go out in public with my hair uncovered does not make me worthy of a bomb in the face. You people have the brain of a duck, you know. Leave me alone.

Last time you pulled this shit with my city, two weeks ago today mark you, I was frightened, sad, shaken. This time, none of those things apply. What I am today is pissy. No, I wan't out today, again. No, I won't be going out tomorrow - but that's because I'm not actually rostered to goddamn well work tomorrow. Once again, though, I am working this weekend and you people are not going to keep me from it.

I apologize for the puerile, pissy tone to this update but you people, you terrorists, forced me to it. Stop blowing up our city or it's no more Miss Nice Live Journaler.

Now go away, or I shall taunt you a second time!
 
 
Current Music: sale of the century - sleeper
Current Mood: fetchez la vache!
 
 
laila
13 July 2005 @ 04:30 pm
Identity.  
Okay, so I promised myself I would stay off the topic of the London bombs in my next update, but - well, I can't. Not really. I have other things I want to talk about, but the London bombs are still preying heavy on my mind, so I guess it's not surprising that I still want to talk about them. Well, I still live here, we're still worried, I'm still sitting at the front of the top deck, so... well, there you have it.

But I want to talk about my fanfic plans as well. To this end I'm doing two updates within a few minutes of one another because it seems kind of crazy to jumble my fic-ranting in with my rather more serious ruminations on terrorism, bombings and the like.

Anyway.

Something I don't get is the fuss that people are making about how long it's taking the police to get a positive ID on the victims, especially in comparison to the way things were with 9/11 and how quickly people could be identified there. I can understand this to an extent - the families want to know what's happened and don't want to be left in suspense - but at the same time it seems silly to even try and compare them. The situations are completely different, both in terms of the location of the explosions and forensically. Trying to compare them just seems crazy to me.

For example: the victims of the September the 11 attacks were people traveling on planes, and those working in the World Trade Center and (presumably) the surrounding buildings. Airplanes have passenger rosters, though. Therefore, if someone's name is down on the roster of a plane which has crashed, it's a fair bet that they died. Offices keep records of their employees. They know who should be at work on a particular day, at a particular time - so do all businesses. It's possible, therefore, to get a good idea about who the missing and the dead are almost immediately the terrorists strike.

Not so with an attack on mass transit. It's a totally different scenario.

There's no roster of who was on a particular tube at a particular time. Booking seats on the London Underground? No. Exactly. Same with the buses. You get on, you travel a few stops, you get off. Someone else gets on. People are coming and going all the time. It's impossible for anyone to be sure who they are, where they're going to, what they're doing there (are they meant to be there? Are they lost? Are they running late?). There's nothing to go on, no neatly-typed list of who should have been there. Apart from the drivers, the people on a London bus or a tube train could be anybody at all.

It's no wonder it's taking a while to make identifications, agonizing though the wait must be. Better that the forensic teams and the police get it right now than that they wrongly identify somebody. God knows what consequences that may have. It's not like it's ever going to be an easy matter to positively identify the victims of a terrorist bombing anyway, appalling though the thought is.

To me, it is appalling. I hate to think what kind of conditions the forensic teams are working under. Hate to imagine what the heat wave is doing. I can't help but remember how claustrophobic the tunnels are in the London Underground, or how tightly the trains seem to fit into them. I don't travel on the tube much at the moment, but if I did, I wonder, would I be more apprehensive about going on them than I was and still am about resuming my acquaintance with the Number 68?

No idea. No idea at all.

Call me morbid, but I've been thinking about myself in terms of a missing poster, about the descriptors that would get applied to me if I had been, presumably, killed. I've thought about this before in relation to other disasters, but nothing's ever come quite this close to me before. It wasn't close, really, but all the same... Someone mentioned identifying people by jewelry (a horrible thought, that one). I wear a silver crucifix round my neck near-constantly, except when the job demands I take it off. It never occurred to me that it was an identifying mark, but it could be. I wear glasses, too. And then there's the things I carry... my humorist parents bought me a personalized Winnie the Pooh key fob. How to explain why I use it?

Under the circumstances, identification isn't easy. Not at all. Better that the authorities take their time and get it right than do a quick, sloppy job. Because yes, I'd want to know, but I'd want to know for sure.
 
 
Current Mood: uncomfortable
Current Music: fruits of chaos - hyde
 
 
laila
10 July 2005 @ 09:49 pm
Afterwards  
I still love Russel Square Gardens.

It seems ironic to me that I made that post about walking through Russel Square Gardens and feeling, well, happy, little more than a week before the name 'Russel Square' acquired the peculiar taint associated with places where something big and tragic has taken place. It won't shake off that taint in a hurry. Every time I walk through there I won't but be able to recall that. It's sad. It's a beautiful little park, and peaceful in spite of the usually-busy roads, all now eerily quiet, that surround it. But I at least probably won't ever feel a hundred percent settled there in spite of all that.

God willing it won't always be worrying. Once Tavistock Place reopens to traffic and the crime-scene tape has been cleared away, once the 'Missing' posters have been taken down and the few bouquets left on the grass have wilted, it'll be that one bit easier to ignore those feelings of unease. But they won't ever quite go away.

Once a location acquires this kind of taint, it doesn't wash out easily, or entirely. It's hard not to hear certain place names and not associate them with tragedy. It doesn't help that, for those outside London, this may be the first they've ever heard of Russel Square and Tavistock Place - they're hardly exactly tourist traps. If the first time you hear of a place it's in association with something like this, how likely is it that you won't associate the name with the tragedy?

London may not have lost its innocence last Thursday - this city's faced far, far worse and come up smiling - but I suppose I must have done, in some way.

I feel as if I have been forced to grow up, in some strange way. I wasn't caught up in this any more than by inference, as a Londoner, as someone who works in the area all this happened. But this is the first time something big and bad has happened and I haven't had my parents to take it all away. I've spoken to them, sure, but no more than that. I miss being with my family; I want a hug. I want to go home, just for a few days - I can't. I guess in some respects all this has forced me to realize that in some way I'm alone now and I'm alone simply because I'm an adult. There's an expectation that I'll be able to cope with it.

The issue isn't that I can't cope alone: of course I can. I'm back at work and feeling glad to be so, and surprisingly sanguine about the thought of being up and doing - there's something very British, I think, about this grim determination to carry on doing our thing and living our lives regardless - and I'm downright thrilled to see London getting by (it'd be more worrying, in a lot of ways, if it had done nothing of the sort). It's that I'd rather I hadn't realized that, by default of maturity, I'm just kind of expected to be able to.

And life goes on, of course.

Russel Square Park reopened on Saturday. It's not as busy as it should be, of an evening, but people are marking time there just as they always have done. We're ignoring the policemen, the large white screens blocking off the road to Tavistock Place. The restaurants and bars along the streets are busy, or busy enough. Blame the bloody-mindedness of the average Londoner if you blame anything at all. Call it wanton, or stubborn, or brave - whatever it is, we're doing it. But I can't be the only one who's feeling a little uncertain, too. Just a little, but enough.

We're getting by, but it's not that easy. It's strange and sad and yet almost funny the way that people on buses have started gravitating toward the front end of the top deck. I always sit there, because otherwise I get bus sick. Now I sit there, and other people sit there too, because the people who sat there, on the no. 90 which exploded, got up and walked away. I suppose we sit there because, deep down, we feel it's safer there. Because we want to pretend there's something we can do about this, some way we could hope to keep ourselves safe if the worst were to happen. Because deep down we're scared, and desperately pretending otherwise, because we're all adults and adults are just expected to be able to cope...

Funny what a fragile thing normality can be.

I'm in again tomorrow, pulling my third long shift in a row. I'm carrying on, because it's expected, because there's nothing else for it, because I desperately need to. Deep down I'm anxious, though I'm pretending otherwise - to me the city feels worried, too, worried and desperately trying to hide it behind a slightly frenetic, slightly forced air of business as usual. I'm turning a half-blind eye to the crime-scene tape and the Missing posters. I'm trying to ignore the sirens, to stop thinking about how I've never seen this many policemen on the streets, in general, in my life. Trying to stop worrying.

It's not easy, but I'm trying. London's trying. And that, I suppose, is half the battle won.
 
 
Current Music: cathedral - road to perdition ost
Current Mood: contemplative
 
 
laila
07 July 2005 @ 04:21 pm
Modern Life is Rubbish  
Oh, my God.

I'd try to be funny, but it'd be so definitely gallows humor that I don't think I'm going to bother trying. Instead, once again, I think I'm just going to surrender to the prevailing mood right about now. Namely shock, total disbelief, upset and of course a large amount of total fury. Comes a time when we all end up following the crowd - because I can't even imagine not doing so.

I mean Jesus Christ, I work near Kings Cross St. Pancras. And Tavistock Place. I get off the bus in Russell Square. Bus being the operative word. Oh, God. Now I wish I could walk to work. It's just so freaky when something like this happens on your doorstep. I can't get my head round it or what's happened to places I know personally. Places I've visited so often that I just expect them to always be there, and always be the same. Someone's blown up a tube coming into Russell Square station. A bomb went off on a bus in Tavistock Place. Tavistock Place, for Hell's sake. Outside the BMA's headquarters. I went past that place, on my bus, every day when I was on the Community placement.

What the Hell did Tavistock Place ever do to deserve it? It's a nice place. Pretty, too. It's just a freaking park, God damn it!

Someone out there has tapped into my primal fears. Some total bastard. Ever since I moved here - ever since I freaking well moved I have been shit scared of terrorism on the tubes or buses, partly because it'd be so damned difficult to escape. You're stuck in a confined space, you're basically trapped. There really is nowhere to run to. Hitting a packed tube at rush hour really does bring to mind the expression shooting fish in a barrel.

Call me stupid and childish, but I'm just incredibly glad that the bus which exploded wasn't on my route. Call me heartless, but I'm worried about how i'm going to get into work on Saturday, if it'll be possible for me to get into work considering they won't let buses into Zone 1 (both reassuring and frightening, that). Call me whatever you like. I'm too busy feeling numb and panicky to notice.

We've taken 50 cases at UCH, and that's small compared to what the Royal London were dealing with.

I can't get over the feeling that some of the people in my cohort would have been working in the A&E departments when this happened. And I was at home and asleep. It just seems wrong of me somehow. I'm only a student, but I keep wondering, shouldn't I be doing something? Aren't I obligated to do something as part of the disaster response thing the NHS has set up? Or are students exempt? Nobody bothered making that one plain to me. Should I stay where I am? Try and go in? What?

Yes, I'm freaked. I need a hug and my father is over fifty miles away.

More than that, I'm angry. Desperately angry. I love this city and I love the people who live in it and to have to see something like this happen to a place I live makes me feel desperately like punching someone in the face. I'm not a violent person normally, but I guess I'm in reaction. Or something. I don't know. My mood at the moment is such a complicated mish-mash of everything that I couldn't even begin to describe it. Doesn't help that my phone died twice when I tried to call my father, or that my mother called my landlady in a panic to find out if I was okay. My mother did, god damn it.

A valentine to whoever did it. You are bastards, you are cowards, if you think this kind of crap could ever have been 'righteously justified' you are completely fucking delusional and, if there is a Hell, I hope you burn in it.

I need to go do something else before I make myself cry. Goddamn, fucking adrenalin.

God damn, and it's such a POINTLESS thing to do. Fucked up, sadistic, utterly heartless - but also pointless. Completely goddamn pointless. It won't change anything. It didn't hurt anyone or anything important. Just people, trying to get to work and live their lives. That's all. Just ordinary people.

What a stupid world.
 
 
Current Mood: sad and angry and lots else
Current Music: nothing