I’ve never known people like this. I’ve never lived in a city brimming with so much resilience and pride and endurance. I come from a country that often cowers and hides and chooses to bury the truth deep into the red sunburned Earth. But here, in London, there’s no shyness or trepidation. I feel completely in awe.
Over the last few weeks the United Kingdom has been challenged with three terror attacks. One in Westminster, one in Manchester and the other in London Bridge/Borough. When these events first unfolded I felt a pang of concern for what the public reaction might be. In Australia conservitism, sexism and prejudice and rife and the reaction to any form of extremism is often met with blame and hatred for minorities and rational, compassionate and empathetic discussion never seems to get a look in. It’s a country where people look down their nose at food labelled ‘Halal’ and ‘Kosher’, it’s a place that Muslims often don’t feel safe to wear a hijab in, it’s a country where I have never seen a Jewish person wear a kippah and it remains the only Western nation not to have a treaty with its indigenous people. So when the United Kingdom was struck with sudden tragedy I feared. But now I feel calm. I feel calm seeing everyone band together, seeing people chat to eachother on the tube, police officers being friendly and amicable and helpful, to come across signs on the underground with lovely positive handwritten messages and an overall vibe of resilience.
London, what a fucking place eh? It’s truly one of a kind.
I often miss my home in Western Australia, it’s stunning beaches, warm salty sea air and it’s nasal accents. It can often feel overwhelming and a bit bloody scary coming from such a small city to a large and loud one that never seems to sleep, and it becomes even scarier when a horrific event takes place. But when I look up from my newspaper or the newsfeed on my phone and see the magnificent city I live in and the people around me I feel confident and calm. Londoners, Mancunians and the rest of the UK will not bow to senseless acts of violence and terror, they will not be defeated and they will not indulge the sickness of extremism.
The only thing that will ever hold the power to defeat the entire population of the UK is a slight change in the weather.