Thursday, July 21, 2005

The risk society, or welcome to the world

How do you live,
not knowing whether you are going to survive your morning commute,
wondering if someone is going to blow themselves up inside your local TESCO
or shatter the tranquil environs of the British Library?

You are vigilant, without assuming that the person next to you is dangerous
simply on the basis of their apparent race or religion.

You stay calm when something does happen,
and help the person next to you if he or she needs it.

You understand that you are experiencing a tiny fraction of the devastation wrought when bombs rain down from B52s on other lands.
You go to the next anti-war march, saying you are neither with 'us' nor with 'the terrorists'.
But you also think about who you are.

You remember the Blitz not only when they are hitting you,
but also when you are flattening someone else.
Even if you are doing it for their own 'good'.

You do not become like Israel and assume that the only thing to do is cope, without addressing the political roots of what is going on.
And you address those political roots not because the terrorists want you to do so, but because that is the right thing to do anyway.

Above all, you go to work, you go on holiday,
you go to the park, the museum, the library,
you ride the Tube, you eat shwarma on Edgware Road,
you do the Virginia Woolf walk in Bloomsbury,
you live, live, live, because you have no other choice
and because that is the best way to tell the terrorists to fuck off.

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