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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Will the Cliches Hold?

Johnathan Freedland in The Grauniad:

But the truth is, it is still too early to tell what exactly it is we are dealing with. Is this a one-off, as 9/11 and Madrid turned out to be? Or is this the beginning of a campaign of suicide bombing, like the one waged on Israel for nearly10 years? My hunch is that the much-discussed stoicism and resilience so far displayed by Londoners is the fruit of the first assumption: that this is a horrible event, never to be repeated.

That might explain the calmness which has so surprised Israelis and Spaniards. The Spanish newspapers have been stunned by the British failure to take to the streets, to stage a mass demonstration like theirs last March. Israeli reporters in London last week marvelled at the absence of a crowd of passers-by, bellowing into a microphone, demanding revenge - the scene that so often follows a suicide bombing in Israel, like the one that hit a shopping mall in Netanya yesterday.

We can congratulate ourselves on our phlegmatic cool so far. But we should start to wonder what would happen to us if these attacks became a fact of life, as they have long been in Israel (and are now in Baghdad). Would we find restraint as easy a policy to follow if there was a bomb on the tube or the bus every other day?

Can the barrage of 'stiff upper lip' cliches hold if this does turn out to be the start of a long-term campaign of suicide bombery, and not just a one-off?

What's with the stiff upper lip stuff anyways? I have been to Wakefield town center on a Saturday night and seen what there is to see...anyone who believes the British are a 'restrained' people is out of their minds.

|| RPH || 2:43 AM || |