Monday, July 11, 2005

On London

I was too busy to write on Thursday after I heard about it, but I'm very sad about the bombings in London. I'm familiar with the city from the year my family spent living in Kent, and our trip to Europe two summers ago.

We would visit London fairly frequently, to explore the city and go to the museums and cathedrals. It was an easy day trip on the train. Dad joined some sort of club where he and Mom would buy a regular train ticket, and then we three kids could get tickets for one pound each. The ticket was also an all-day pass for the underground and the buses. So I have many fond memories of riding the public transportation there.

In addition, I took my husband to London two summers ago. In fact, almost two years ago to the day is when we were there. He's not a big fan of cities, but I think he really enjoyed London. And once again, we got all-day passes on the public transportation system.

Perhaps that's why this act of terrorism in London had a bigger impact on me than the one in New York. I'd never been to New York City until my interview at IBM last month. But when I read about the attacks in London, I knew where they were. I could picture it happening. I could picture myself riding one of those buses or trains.

I feel for the people of London and the whole of the UK. While I've never lost a loved one to a senseless act of violence, I have lost someone very dear to me. It is hard to understand what could drive someone to commit such atrocious acts against innocent people. I have an inkling of understanding, because I have known a similar feeling of hopelessness. Sometimes it does feel like murder is the only way out of a predicament.

I'm curious to know how they feel now. The authorities believe that these bombs were on a timer, rather than the work of suicide bombers, so the bombers are probably still alive. Do they feel any better after killing all those people?

I doubt it. The Buddha says, "Hatred never ceases by hatred but by love alone is healed." To quote Benjamin Franklin, "Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame." I think they've only dug themselves even deeper into sorrow.

In the end, I think I feel sorry for the terrorists too. They've had a life consisting of feeling oppressed and hopeless. From their point of view, life really sucks. "If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should see sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

I think that the terrorists should be treated as we would treat any other human being. They should certainly be held responsible for their actions, but we should follow all the laws of a civilized nation in bringing them to justice. I wish I could say that the United States has done that, but I am mildly optimistic that the UK, which, as a country, is more even-tempered than the US, will do the right thing.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Wow. Very well put.

(nice quotes, too.)