Friday, November 04, 2005

Where from here?

What are we facing? Where do we go now?

I am still very, very tired. I am sick and tired, exhausted. I have had to take a day and a half off work, I can barely think, I have a constant headache and nausea. I think it is a bug, one that is going round the office. These last few weeks, the publicity, the emotions all thundering in, have been hard work. And I am sorry for myself.

The service was important. The familar hymns and prayers, the lighting of candles had a resonance and rhythm that soothed me. For the first time I was able to weep, in the arms of another survivor who is now a friend. Afterwards, the people from the train filled half a big pub. The driver was there, the police officer who saved us. I kept looking around, saying to Jane and Richard and Kirsty: look. Look at us. Look at what has happened. It is awesome. We all said it, again and again. It was an astonishingly emotional day. There were so many new people, I couldn't talk to them all. We are going to have another meeting soon, to rectify that: one where we just go to the pub, no service, no drama. Just talk over a drink and a bowl of chips.

There have been cynical articles, commentators say that the service grants the terrorists publicity and status. But it helped me, I needed it, I wanted to be there. And so did so many of us.

The group of survivors from the bombed train is now over 70 people. And still more come. It has brought comfort and hope and understanding, meeting people who were there. It is a phenomenon, that a group of strangers should comfort and care for each other, on July 7th and that they should do so still.

And whatever the cynics say, here are people who when the bomb went off did not trample each other, screaming; fight for air, push and shove and curse and despair. Even when they believed they were facing imminent death. I have written again and again of how people tried to save each other. It is a story that needs to be told. There was panic in some carriages, for a while, there was screaming, there was despair, for a little while. But then there was also dignity; there were no deaths, no serious injuries caused by panicked stampede even though people were trapped and believing they would burn to death.

Some cut their hands beating the glass to try to get out.

Of course they did; what would you have done?

They were trying to get air in, so people could breathe.
They passed tissues and water and covered each others faces and they held hands.
What would you have done?
Would you have done any different?

I don't believe you would have done any different. And I don't need to have 'faith' in the human race, I have proof of what we are like. I saw what happened. It will burn inside me like a candle until I die. It will always be my light that I live by.

There is nothing special about us. We are a random demographic of people who use the tube to get to work. We are not heroes. We are ordinary people, like you, reading this. It could have been you, millions use the tube. It just happened to be us. And look at what we did.

Would you have done any different?

People talk now of hatred and fear, of victims and bravery, of threats and attacks and multiculturalism and fundementalism, of new laws, of the 'rules changing'. But I saw humanity, ordinary people trapped, breathing in smoke, prepared to die with dignity. I saw civilisation, compassion, care. I see hope. I still see hope. I see beauty. I see a future.

Don't you?

There is nothing political here, no agenda, people have nothing to gain from reaching out apart from the most basic thing of all, to affirm their common humanity and to help themselves and to help each other, to answer their own questions. There are people of all ages in Kings Cross United. All backgrounds. Jewish Christian, Hindu, Muslim. I don't know what everyone's religions are, if they have religions, even. Most probably don't. There are sixty year olds, fifty-somethings, forty-somethings, thirty-somethings, twenty-somethings, teenagers. There are managers, students, health workers, lawyers, a police officer, the train driver, nurses. White, black , asian, gay, straight. Just people from the train.

What can you say about the nature of evil, when you have been confronted with so much good?
Here is something I read when I was was researching the nature of evil

1. Overidentify with a cause.
2. Elevate personal goals over concern for human consequences of decisions.
3. Lack empathy

I have no cause. Kings Cross United has no cause, no goals. But my god, it has empathy, and sympathy and compassion.

And we are just a random cross section of the human race.

What does that tell you?

Where do you want to go from here?


Blogger Dr. Deborah Serani said...

I love reading your posts.


November 05, 2005 12:45 am  
Blogger Mdx said...

Well said. I also love the way you write and the questions you ask. You seem to be making sense of it all. Thanks for sharing it. I saw bits of the ceremony on the news and it appeared to be very appropriate. Also enjoyed your interview on the BBC! It put a face to the words, so to speak.

“I saw humanity…” is just a beautiful insight into how similar we all are. There’s something about humanity, its history, that hasn’t yet been unlocked. We're so damn strong!

November 05, 2005 9:43 am  
Anonymous Beth said...

From here...forward!

From reading your posts, I'm quite worried but really hoping that emotionally you crash soon.

I'm sure you've cried lots, the whole experience is clearly incredibly tiring for you...I'm hoping you hit rock bottom, have a couple of days or maybe even a week of feeling worse than you did, just so you can clear some of the emotions that are still trapped under the surface.

I hope you don't take that the wrong way, I mean it in a "maybe this would make you feel better" way.


November 05, 2005 10:31 am  

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