Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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London: Deja vu all over again

Something that those who deal in terror and oppression will never understand about the British...they look at the worst of the worst and deal, and the spirit of the British Empire is still alive. In WWI, the Germans bombed London from zeppellins, and British soldiers held the trenches against not just enemy fire but poison gas, in some of the most horrific conditions immaginable. In WWII, they stood up to Hitler, every last man, woman, and child, vowing never to surrender, despite blockades and the Blitz. (I was fortunate enough to know an old RAF guy who flipped buzz bombs over the channel, an action that required amazing nerve, having to pace it with your plane and come up with your wing under the buzz bomb's wing and gain altitude to flip it over. Dangerous? Hell, yes! But every one he flipped was one less bomb landing on British soil.) If you want an example that kind of capsulizes that spirit, go watch Zulu. Overwhelming odds? Hey, that just brings out the best in them.

I was in London in 1975 during what was dubbed "the Second Blitz" when the IRA was blowing things up all over. While I was there, a huge bomb was detonated in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel, killed people, and devastated the first floor of building. I talked to someone who said that, despite this, the hotel was still running---he had to go there on business, and said the Brits just stoically started clearing wreckage and setting up temporary areas to deal with day-to-day functioning. I was evacuated from public buildings, due to bomb threats, twice, searched in every subway and train station, and dealt with heightened security everywhere. Despite this, London and its residents operated not just stoically but cheerfully, though every incident of terror and inconvenience. They'll be serving the last of the tea in the ruins of civilization, I am convinced. Damn our leaders for dragging them into another fine mess. But if history is any indication, it's not going to be the terrorists who will come out on top.

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