Friday, July 07, 2006

This Time Last Year

I got up on 7th July, 2005, and it just looked like a horrible day. Luckily I had the privilege of working from home if I wanted to and so I decided not to catch my daily train. Usually I watch the morning news while having breakfast, but that day I went straight to my office at home and sat behind the computer.

I got a phone call from a colleague who seemed to be panicking. "where are you?" she asked. I thought she was complaining about me not turning up for work. "I am working from home, why? do I need to come in?"
- "No! no, stay where you are. They have started on London now."
- "Who?" I asked sounding very confused.
- "The Islamists! a bomb has exploded in Liverpool Street. They have closed the station."

Its not easy to finish a conversation with a woman on the phone, even when there isn't much to say, let alone when something like this is the topic of conversation, but somehow I did manage to get away from her. I wanted to check for myself what was going on. So I browsed the BBC news site. It said an electric fault in Liverpool Street station had caused a train to derail and no one was hurt. Knowing how women often over react and exaggerate, I was convinced my colleague was doing the same, so I carried on with my work and tried to forget about the conversation with her.

Every now and then however I was toggling my screen to the News sites on the web. Bit by bit but very slowly the news was changing. First there was no fatalities and only a few casualties, but then they said one or two may have died and more injured. Eventually there was mention of other stations, and possibility of a terrorist attack.

I came downstairs and turned the TV on. The possibility of a bombing was now very strong according to the news. One man with a pair of thick glasses was shown sitting down with a blanket over him. He explained how he survived the incident but when he started crying, the program moved on to the presenter. I remember thinking to myself "Why is he crying? He should be happy, he has survived!". By the evening the truth had unfolded fully. There were several suicide attacks on the London transport. The media and the police had stopped a mass panic by releasing the true picture of the events bit by bit at a slow pace to avoid mass panic.

In the evening, they showed the same interview with that man again, but this time the full version. The reason the man had burst into tears was because he was describing the evacuation and how bodies were scattered everywhere with the injured begging for help from surviving passengers who could do nothing for them.

It was a weird day. I called a few friends and tried to go near the scenes but it was impossible. London seemed to be under siege. We had fled Islamic fundamentalism but it was chasing us even in London. The sad thing is, a lot of us had predicted this. Five years earlier I was talking to another colleague and expressed my anxieties at a UK home grown dangerous militant Islam, but he dismissed it by saying "You worry too much, nothing similar to what happened in Iran will ever happen in this country. The Islamists are a small minority here". Well sadly contrary to how he imagined, something similar was happening now.

This morning, I was determined to go to work by train. At Green Park, walking towards the Jubilee platform, the London Underground revenue staff were checking the tickets. I handed my Oyster card to this thuggish over boozed looking revenue staff.
"You haven't touched your Oyster card when you got on, thats a £20 fine." He told me.
"What? Where I get on is WAGN rail line and they still dont have the Oyster touch facility. In any case this is a fully paid weekly Oyster card and is valid for my entire journey, whether I touch it or not." I told him in no uncertain terms.
"I let you off this time." He told me, as if doing me a favour, instead I turned and continued to say:
"Well I think its disgusting the number of ways Ken Livingstone can think of fining ordinary law abiding citizens. Where is all the congestion charges and fines going to any way? Certainly not on improving the services." I walked away as I said the last words, just feeling happy that I had let some steam off, but soon I realised the revenue staff was walking behind me. He caught up with me and tapped me on the shoulder and said "right I was gonna let you off, but because you were not grateful, I am gonna give you a £20 penalty notice." He said as he started writing out the ticket.

This was war! This uniformed slob, this beer belly obnoxious twat, was getting on my nerves, and the way he was getting close to me and invading my private space, was like he was challenging me to a fight. A few years ago, I would have just decked someone like that without thinking, but as you get older you get wiser, by hitting him I would have lost all my credibility. So I put on this false condescending smile and didn't allow his provocations to get me. He finished writing out the ticket by saying in a very annoying way "Have a nice day!".
This time, I got close to his face, showed him the penalty notice and said "I see you in court sweet heart. Make sure you buy yourself a decent shirt and tie for the occasion that fits you".
He made a gesture with his fat boozey face, I winked at him and we parted company.

For the rest of the journey, I kept asking myself, what does Ken Livingstone do with all these charges and fines? Certainly not spend it on improving London Transport. Then I saw the adverts for this : http://www.alexandrapalace.com/IslamExpo.htm

Well it seems Islam Expo, is one example of how all these charges and fines that decent law abiding people are made to pay is spent by the London Mayor. I am sure not going to pay my penalty notice and contribute towards some Disneyland image of Islam!

3 comments:

Winston said...

That's one of the many reasons that western nations led by the US HAVE TO fight the radical Islam as strong as they can.

However, I am sad to say that it takes many 9/11s, 3/11s and 7/7s for westerners to wake up to the truth of terrorism generated by radical islamic teachings.

alison said...

Dont pay it. "Disneyland image of Islam', well said. Be interesting to hear more of your take on the development of home grown militant Islam...

alison said...

http://islamexpo.blogspot.com/

interesting debate/povs from this backlash