Yesterday, July 6, Londoners were euphoric: we heard that we had won the competition for the 2012 Olympics. People in my East End borough of Newham were particularly elated; the main site for the Olympics will be in our borough. My wifea naturalized Britonlet out a massive cheer when we heard the news. Our children were looking forward to its impact on their lives. I was also thrilled at it happening on what will be the Diamond Jubilee of our beloved Queen. As well as that, this weekend will see the official celebrations of V-E and V-J Days. The East End suffered more than any other part of Britain from the bombs of the Luftwaffe, so these celebrations were going to be particularly poignant here. This was set to be one of the greatest weekends for London in years.
Today that euphoria has been replaced by shock, horror, and sadness. Police say four bombings took placethree in what Britons call the Tube or Underground (the subway) and the other on a bus. Television pictures of the bus are especially shocking as the roof was blown off. Reports are still sketchy, and we don't know if these terrible events are the result of what Al Qaeda view as 'martyrdom operations' (suicide bombings), or whether they are Madrid-type cell-phone operated attacks. As I write, there are 33 confirmed fatalities, and the number will probably climb.
The response of our security and emergency services has been tremendous, and we have every reason to be proud of the British police in this respect. They were on the scene within minutes, and when there were not ambulances available for the injured, three of London's famous double-decker buses ferried casualties to hospitals. After 30 years of IRA terrorism, Britain in general and London ...