Wednesday, July 07, 2010

7/7 Five Years On

Time seems to move so quickly, yet the memories are vivid. Particularly in dealing with terrorist incidents, those caught up in the events will never forget, while the rest of the world moves on and barely remembers at all. It was the case with the terrorism in Northern Ireland, and also with the more recent terrorist attacks in Madrid, London and various other places.

The media have been covering the fifth anniversary of the 7/7 atrocity today, when the transport network in London was attacked by a co-ordinated series of bombs, just the day after London had learnt that it was to host the 2012 Olympic Games. 52 innocent people died, as well as the suicide bombers themselves, and hundreds were injured as the bombs exploded on underground trains (the Tube), and on a double decker bus.

Strangely, I was in London that day. I had travelled over to London with Stanley and David for the Proclamation Trust Student Minister's Preaching Conference, four days of honing the skills needed to handle and teach God's word. For those looking on from outside, it was a worrying time - the mobile phone networks couldn't cope, so contact was virtually impossible, so the only source of information was the TV news reports.

In London, things were very confused. At the time, I blogged about that day when I got home to Northern Ireland. We slept in that morning, and on getting to Victoria, the underground was shut, leading to thousands of people trying to jump on buses. We headed on a bus so far (passing Betty Boothroyd walking down Victoria Street), then had to walk the rest of the way.

I remember an anxious moment on the bus when someone with a strong Irish accent was talking on his mobile phone and said "So it's happening then?" and reached into his rucksack... But it turned out to be Muslim terrorists, rather than those of Irish extraction.

Perhaps the most bizarre point of the day came when David and myself went on the London by night bus tour - the driver seeking to return to normal life as quickly as possible, and to show that Londoners wouldn't be defeated by such terror tactics.

Scenes of carnage, similar to many bomb attacks here in Northern Ireland, and many victims left with continuing scars, both physical and psychological. Remember those who are suffering today, and who lost loved ones as they journeyed to work.

Another day of man's evil towards man. Another day of sickness and suffering. But one day these things will have perished, and all things will be restored. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

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