Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 10th 2015 Contents A32
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, July 10, 2015
scars still healing
"Maybe it s because I m a London-
er, that I love London so.
Maybe it s because I m a Londoner
that I think of her wherever I go.
I get this funny feeling inside of
me just walking up and down.
Oh maybe it s because I m a Lon-
doner, that I love London town."
The words of the old cockney knees-
up song by Hubert Gregg came into
my head as I waited for a bus on Tues-
day, the tenth anniversary of the 7/7
Written in 1943 when the German
bombs were falling on London, it
remains an unofficial anthem for all
Londoners, although LDN by Lily Allen
may have replaced it (for me) for a few
months in 2006, a year after the
Both songs contain an understated
defiance that encapsulates the London
spirit; a heart filled-to-bursting with
pride delivered in a tone of cheeky
nonchalance. (If you don t know what
cheeky means then that s because all
yuh Trinis don t have an equivalent
word---so I can t help you.)
I wondered if the first song might
have been appropriate to perform, per-
haps with a marching band, at the
ten-year tribute to the 52 people who
died, rather than the usual solemn
It s the sort of upbeat song I would
want played at my funeral and I think
its resolute, stoical feel would have
been in-keeping with the way Lon-
doners dealt with the viciousness of
the attacks, coming a day after we had
celebrated being awarded the 2012
Olympic Games. The attack would
have come on the day the Olympics
vote was announced if the leader of
the attackers, Mohammed Sidique
Khan, hadn t postponed it to take his
pregnant wife to hospital.
The 7/7 bombings are a strange and
difficult thing for us Londoners to have
to think about now---because we still
can t quite comprehend them even
though we expected them after 9/11,
Bali and Madrid.
Yes we went back to work again the
next day on the same tubes and buses
that were ripped apart. Yes we saw
the blood still staining the walls of the
British Medical Association where the
number 30 bus had exploded when
Hasib Hussain, a British Muslim from
Leeds detonated his homemade organic
bomb stuffed into his rucksack. But
although we are tough (and toughened
after decades of IRA bombs) we still
don t quite know how to talk about
7/7, even ten years on.
Two of Hussain s accomplices,
including Khan, were also from Leeds
and also had Pakistani parents. A fourth
terrorist, 19-year-old Germaine Lind-
say, was born in Jamaica, converted
to Islam in Britain aged seven and later
Why they would attack one of the
most multicultural cities in the world
---killing people of all faiths in the name
of Islam---is beyond comprehension.
But we weren t surprised, even though
we were deeply shocked. Our country
had carried out foreign invasions and
occupations of Muslim countries. It
was a matter of when, not if.
In the video recorded by Khan and
broadcast by Al-Jazeera after the
attacks, Khan said, "Your democrat-
ically-elected governments continu-
ously perpetuate atrocities against my
people all over the world. And your
support of them makes you directly
responsible, just as I am directly
responsible for protecting and avenging
my Muslim brothers and sisters. We
are at war and I am a soldier."
In parts of Britain where racial
divides between Muslims and white
communities already existed---cities
like Bradford, Oldham and Burnley---
tension and distrust became more
entrenched. It will take a generation
or more for those places to recover.
But in London, these attacks have
not sown the discord or bred the vio-
lence or triggered the uprising that
the bombers hoped for.
As former mayor of London Ken
Livingstone said on the day, addressing
the killers, "I can show you why you
will fail...even after your cowardly
attack people will come from the rest
of Britain and around the world to
become Londoners, to fulfil their
dreams. They come to be free, to live
the life they choose, to be able to be
In a column in the London Evening
Standard on Tuesday, Livingstone
quoted Pericles---the first mayor of
Athens 2,000 years ago---who said,
"In time all great things flow towards
the city, and in time the greatest of
those is the people who come."
They come to the great golden dome
of the Regents Park Mosque, to the
Hindu Temple in Neasden to the steps
of St Paul s Cathedral and to the dozens
of synagogues both new and ancient.
In 1990, the coup in Trinidad was
also carried out by home grown ter-
rorists but although those men were
also Muslims the parallels end there.
Radicalised Islamists in Trinidad
may emerge in coming years, but one
gets the sense that the Trini version
of Islam will mollify any turbulence.
"No one s about to blow up the twin
towers," a Trini with a Muslim surname
(but a devout belief in atheism) told
me the other day.
"Consider this," he said. "Some years
ago a Muslim woman ran for Miss
T&T. There was a bit of a kerfuffle in
the Muslim community. The Mirror
interviewed an imam about it. His
response was, "As a Muslim I am
opposed to what she is doing. As a
Trini, I support her all the way."
God bless Trini Islam, and god bless
Better be ready
Are you ready for aflood?
Source: The T&T Red Cross Society
Contact the Red Cross: Headquarters - 627-8215/8128, Northern branch - 627-8214, Southern branch - 652-2024, Tobago branch - 639-2781
Floods are the leading cause of
disaster-related death in the
Caribbean, but since most can be
forecast, you should have time to
prepare. Your Red Cross urges you
to get ready. There are simple
steps you can take to help protect
your family from a flood.
Know your area's flood risk. If
unsure, call your Red Cross or
Emergency Management Agency.
If you are in a risk area, investigate
the feasibility of flood insurance.
Know the location of the main elec-
trical breaker and the gas and water
valves in your home and ensure you
have a clear path to easily access
them so that you can shut them off
When a Flood
Warning is issued:
Monitor the radio for weather
updates and evacuate immediately if
you are told to do so.
Move your furniture and valuables to
higher floors of your home or place
them high if possible.
Bring in all loose items from outside,
like garbage cans and yard furniture
for safe keeping.
Turn off the main electrical switch
and other utilities.
Place important documents and
valuables in plastic and store them
in a safe place.
Flood water dangers:
Do not walk through flowing water.
Just six inches of moving water can
knock you off your feet.
Never attempt to cross a swollen
stream, river or gully by foot or
vehicle. The force of these water-
ways can have deadly consequences.
If your vehicle stalls in rising water,
abandon it immediately and climb to
higher ground. A mere two feet of
water can float a large vehicle, even
After a flood:
Clean and dry everything water-
soaked. Flood waters can pick up
sewerage and chemicals from roads,
farms and factories. Spoiled food
and flooded medicines are health
hazards. When in doubt, throw them
Check appliances and motors for
damage and do not use them until
they have been cleaned and dried.
Watch out for wild animals. Snakes
and centipedes that have been
flooded out of their homes may seek
shelter in yours. Use a pole or a
stick to poke and turn items over
and scare them away.
If your home was seriously affected
by the floods and you suspect your
electrical wiring may have been
damaged, have it checked by a quali-
fied person before turning on the
main electrical switch.
Punch holes in all containers left
outside to prevent water from set-
tling and these from becoming
breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Purify water before using. Use chlo-
rine bleach or water purifying
tablets. Boil tap water for ten min-
T&T Red Cross Society
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