The explosions on the London underground took us all by surprise this morning. People started phoning in almost as soon as it happened to make sure that someone they knew wasn't involved. We are all safe since we were all slaving away in the office. Fortunately, so far, all our friends and neighbors are okay.
I have travelled often through the all the underground stations that were struck in the last couple of years. In fact, we had an office right next to Liverpool Station where most of the people died. It's no coincidence, since we were trying to be close to the major banks of London, just as the terrorists were. UBS, with more money than any other company in the world, was right across the street.
The BBC had filmed a docudrama about a potential terrorist attack right in that very spot. The scenario was different, but the target was the same. The money in London and the people who work the money. But you look around Liverpool Street, most of the people are anything but. They are just people doing a job. Yes, they work in banks, but that doesn't mean they own the money.
The morale of the BBC story and the message that the police have been communicating for some time was not "if", but "when?" There are times when you can't help feel, while travelling on the underground, whether something is going to happen. The probabilities are so low, you just have to forget it, but you know it can happen.
Regardless of politics, everyone knows that the people who were killed or injured today did not deserve it. I was really struck watching television today about how people were planning on going back to work tomorrow to show that they would not be deterred. The bus driver who said that they would all be back to work tomorrow reminded me of the grit and determination during the Blitz of WWII. Even the twisted metal of the double decker bus reminded me of something out of the war. And just in the war, it may well be a galvinizing force, rather than a deterrent. This is also a city that has lived through two decades of terrorist violence without giving in.
The trips home this evening were horrendous and I'm sure tomorrow won't be a cake walk. Traffic diverted from London and out of the clogged motorways were funneled through Maidenhead in the evening only to be stopped by the roadworks right in front of our office. I've heard of stories of people walking out of London, sharing rides and just giving up on their cars. With the tube out, we can expect a lot of disruption in at least the near term and extreme suspicion over the coming months.
Given a day that should have been filled with news about poverty in Africa and global warming, this is about the stupidest thing that could have happened. I hope that when the people of London show that it won't make a difference and that life goes on, will the people who carried this out see how futile their efforts are.