Producing memories and victims
Just come upon an interesting phenomenon – people banding together to say they’re not afraid of terrorism. We are not afraid. With lots of pictures and .mp3s of people saying "we are not afraid". In the words of virgorama one of the contributors "Terrorism traffics in fear. Defy that fear and terrorists become
nothing more than murderers who kill civilians and who accomplish
nothing." I find it interesting because people don’t seem to be afraid, they’re just pissed off. Tube / bus commutes in London are bad enough already without the possibility of it being your last. Laudable as this campaign is I have to agree with Mick Hulme [from Spiked online and previously Living Marxism and someone who never toes any line other than his own] writing in The Times:
Even before we knew how many had died in the
bombings, let alone who they might be, the authorities rushed to
dedicate memorial gardens and books of condolence to the victims. Then
Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, announced the two-minute silence,
a vigil with prayers and poems in Trafalgar Square last night and a
memorial pop concert in a park tomorrow. Not to be outdone, the
Government pledged to build a permanent memorial, and the churches
promised a service of remembrance with the Queen.
This move for political gain and the production of memorials to somehow objectify the memories, the History, serves to ‘institutionalise’ the grief. Why do we need this? Are we competing for who feels worst, Madrid, London, NYC. You don’t see other countries making such a fuss. I think it says something quite profound about the society we live in that we have to ‘mark’ events, feelings, anything, publicly.
It is time to end the grisly harping on those
terrible events, and all the morbid theatrics of public-mourning
rituals. The authorities should stop acting as if we are all vulnerable
victims, before they destroy the strength of spirit that was so
uplifting last week
Yep. Perhaps we are not afraid should be renamed ‘get on with it’ with a call to action saying, er, get on with it.
Relatedly, glad to see pushbikes are having a resurgence. Perhaps the rise in the number of people cycling in the capital [and anecdotal evidence of that increasing more since the bombings with bike sales rocketing] will push Transport for London to implement safer cycling measures… They’d have to do some year zero work on the cabbies though, they’re the real enemy of us on two wheels.