London will never bow down
July 7, 2010
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In a week when my Yorkshire-based family's disdain and confusion over my life choices (moving to London / not being married and squeezing out kids yet) has been at the fore again, I'm grateful to Darryl for pointing out Ken Livingstone's speech after the 7th July London bombings:
In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports
and look at our railway stations and, even after your
cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain,
people from around the world will arrive in London to become
Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.
They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because
they come to be free, they come to live the life they
choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because
you tell them how they should live. They don't want that
and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight
to our city where freedom is strong and where people can
live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you
kill, you will fail.
My first reaction to the bombings – a reaction I still have, come to that – was pure fury. How dare they attack London. How dare they imagine, for one tiny second, that we would be cowed. You want to start a fight do you? You want to start a fight with London? Come on then: I'll put myself in the front line and we will destroy you.
This is the greatest city in the world and I love it. Passionately, fiercely. London stands for so much freedom and openness; things that extremists, and the BNP, and those relatives of mine who say things like 'you don't see a white face in Lewisham' despite having spent time here, evidently with their eyes closed, will never understand. It's why I will never leave. And why I am still very angry.