Thursday, March 18, 2004

War is declared 

I spent six years living and working in London before I moved to Cape Town. There can be few more exciting places to live, especially if you enjoy spending a lot of the money that you are earning. Having made the move to a saner, more relaxed lifestyle, I now look back at London via the occasional visit, the electronic versions of London papers, and what I hear from friends.

With the recent bombs in Madrid, and the pointless “we’re next - don’t say I didn’t warn you” speeches of senior policemen, I suspect that life in London is a little more tense than it has been for a while. During the time I lived there, the IRA was bombing the capital, and the threat of sudden tragedy was as tangible as the smog. I can vividly remember the surreal shock I felt when sitting in a bar on a Texas holiday, watching CNN, and seeing the remains of the Sussex pub in Covent Garden, where I had been a week or two before.

Shortly after I moved jobs, into my terribly exciting consulting career, there was a bomb about 50 yards from where I used to catch the bus in Docklands. I recognised the face of one of the dead as the guy I used to buy my paper from. Being vaguely foreign looking, he would probably be a suspect these days. It was all very close to home.

The bastards who do this kind of thing seem to pride themselves on the impact that their actions can have, and a bit of symbolism seems to make the blood taste sweeter to them as well. This should be a help. If you have any control over the time you can spend in London, I would suggest avoiding the following dates:

Jan 17 (first Desert Storm attacks on Baghdad, 1990)
Feb 23 (Desert Storm ground attack, 1990)
March 11 (Madrid, 2004)
March 20 (Invasion of Iraq, 2003)
April 9 (Liberation of Baghdad, 2003)
April 21 (Queen's birthday)
April 23 (St Georges Day)
June 12 (Queen's official birthday)
September 11 (WTC, 2001)
October 7 (Covert attacks on Afghanistan, 2001)
October / November (State opening of Parliament, 2004)
November? (around presidential elections, 2004)

Of these, I would be most concerned about the ones in the next few weeks (March 20th, April 9th), on the grounds that we wouldn’t expect anything that soon after Madrid; and the significant ones later in the year (Sep 11th, Parliament), on the grounds that their planning capacity is limited and we might have relaxed a bit by then. In terms of locations, the tube is the obvious one, but iconic spots like St. Paul’s are also a possibility.

While you’re waiting, avoid sweating Arabs with large backpacks. Pubs are also good places to avoid Muslims…

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?