This has been the second major terrorist attack on a major international city that I’ve felt I should write about on my site over the last five and a bit years. It’s also the second that has left me speechless and unsure how to react. Last time I tried desperately to find ways to be useful, but it was still difficult to know what you could say or do that wouldn’t just be redundant. At the time I thought it was because it was a time for New Yorkers to talk, and that the rest of us were really just there to be supportive or whatever. But now there’s been an attack on London – the city in which I live – and I still don’t know what to say. It feels sordid to wallow or revel in the attacks, melodramatic and self-important to talk about how shocking it was and strangely self-involved to talk about your personal experience of it. Unfortunately, even though it’s difficult to know what you can say about what’s happened, as time passes you get more and more conscious that it’s worse to say nothing. Something has happened. People have died. We need to acknowledge it.
Which is I think why the stoicism of the British webloggers has felt so right to me – the attitude is clear and simple. We’re not going to dwell, we’re not going to indulge in an orgy of introspection and outpourings of grief. We’re not going to perform our emotions on stage for everyone around us. We’re going to stand by the victims and their families quietly. We’re going to make it absolutely clear once and for all that this is a city that has been burned to the ground, ravaged by Plague and bombed to hell and will not be moved by these terrorists. And then we’re going to get on with our lives. As normal. Full Stop. The London News Review said it first and best. I stand with them.
And that’s all I’ve got. I have no more to react to. No more to say. Other than to say how impressed I’ve been with Londonist and the other weblogs that have been actively covering the whole thing. And while I’ve got the opportunity, I’d also like to say how awesome it’s been to see an out-gay Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Brian Paddick, playing such a significant role in reassuring the British public. That made me feel better about London than pretty much anything else.