This morning, a swan took a leisurely stroll along railway tracks at Kingston station, holding up a train full of commuters heading towards central London during rush hour. The bird was photographed strutting determinedly along, with his head proudly high, despite the sounding of the train drivers’ horn and the screeching of brakes.
He seemed aware of some danger but refused to give in to it by changing direction, keeping a stiff upper lip (or beak! – Ed), as is the British way, just as the workers inside the carriages were no doubt doing, following yesterday’s terror attack on our seat of democracy, the Palace of Westminster.
We Brits tend not to panic, as long as the trains run on time. This determination to stick to normality, this ‘Blitz spirit’ is what defines us. We carry on, despite the horrors of the day before, when, (at the time of writing), an unnamed man ploughed his car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing three and seriously injuring twenty more, before stabbing an unarmed policeman who was guarding our Parliament.
In the newsroom yesterday evening, I hastily put together a report for the evening bulletin, collating eye witness accounts of the bloody events which eventually led to the fatal shooting of the attacker. Each and every person questioned was deeply traumatised, but somehow determined not to give in to racial or religious hatred, even though it is, even at this very early stage, pretty clearly the act of some misinformed and misguided religious nutcase.
Notably, one of the people asked for immediate reaction, was Brendan Cox, the widower of murdered MP Jo Cox. Jo, a Labour (left wing) MP and mother of two young children, was one of the brightest of British politicians, known for her principled and dedicated stance on supporting refugees to our nation. She was brutally murdered by right wing extremist Thomas Mair, outside her constituency offices in Birstall, West Yorkshire in June of last year.
Mr. Cox, when asked for his response to the terrible events which unfolded in the capital city, said that he wanted to focus on the victims of this heinous act and not on the assailant. Echoing our Pakistani, Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan’s call for unity at this difficult time, he said “The Westminster attacker represents British Muslims no more than Jo Cox’s killer represents Yorkshire.”
The dead and injured hail not only from the UK, but from cities in France, Australia, South Korea, Romania, Greece, China, Italy, America, Ireland, Poland and Germany. We are Londoners and we are united.
London has not fallen. It never will. I only hope my train home tonight is not delayed, it might just be the last straw.
Subi Shah is a Broadcaster and Print Journalist, based in London. Today’s column is brought to you courtesy of The Mac Response Centre.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Caspian Times (TCT) editorial policy.