Tuesday, January 22, 2008

London and the War on Terror

Eurozine - Phobocity - Les Back London and the War on Terror
A great piece by Goldsmiths sociologist Les Back. Includes mp3 clips of sirens on the Old Kent Road!

Sample, on 7/7:
Perhaps an awareness of the fragility and preciousness of life itself is the lasting resource left in the wake of these terrible events. Any Londoner could have been unlucky, the blast didn't discriminate and no one is immune. Faced with the chaos on the underground that July morning, Shahara Islam decided to give up on trying to get to work. She caught the number 30 bus en route to the shops in London's West End. On the bus was nineteen-year-old Hasib Hussein, the youngest of the four suicide bombers. Hasib, born in Leeds and of Pakistani parentage, had tried to join the Northern line at Kings Cross but it was closed. At 9.47am, he detonated his bomb, ripping the roof off the bus and killing Shahara Islam and 12 other people. She grew up in Whitechapel, east London, and was the oldest of three children. Her father Shamsul moved to the capital in the 1960s and is a supervisor with Transport for London. Her Bangladeshi family suffered a longer wait for confirmation than the other victim's loved ones. Some believe this was because the police suspected her of being the bomber. Forensic analysis soon ruled her out. She was just a young Muslim woman who chose to do the most ordinary thing for an East End girl: presented with an opportunity to skive off work, she went shopping. "She was an Eastender, a Londoner, and British, but above all a true Muslim and proud to be so," wrote her family in a statement issued after the bombings. The suicide bombers killed themselves and also people like themselves, striking not against some far off enemy but at their own cultural and historical mirror image. The ordinariness of multiculture needs to be apprehended alongside the bombers' apparent disregard for the traces they carried in themselves.


Ahmed G said...

It's a beautiful piece. Thank you .

But in places Professor Back shares the academic tendency to say that the fear of terrorism (the terror) is imaginary. Obviously, the threat is not as big as some politicians like us to think it is, but nonetheless it is real.

Daniel of "Daniels Counter" said...

as said before. Sahara was my bank clerk when I paid in my weekly cheques at the cooperative bank at Angel To the shame of the coop bank until today there is no memory plaque or photo of her name in the bank.
Tasteless multinational of some shit that calls itself ethical bank