Thursday, July 05, 2007

7/7 anniversary: 2 years on

Verb Theatre are back performing their 7/7 play Limbo, which I was very impressed with when I saw it last. It 's at the Hackney Empire 'til 7th July. If you want to do something to remember 7/7 then you might want to get tickets.

Verb Theatre, in association with the Hackney Empire, present 'Limbo: Stories from 7/7', winner of 'The Peter Brook Empty Space' award 2006. A unique mixture of Verbatim and fiction revolving around the lives of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events. "Rush hour is like a fight, except no-one knows whose side they’re on so everyone fights each other." "Those who so pointlessly and terribly died were, each one of them, precious; non-replaceable." "Poetic and passionate performances" – Rachel North, The Sunday Times. "Provides its audience with a very personal insight into how the day affected ordinary Londoners." – The Sunday Telegraph

Tonight I am having a pint with people whom I met on and after 7/7: fellow passengers.
We've been in email contact, more so than usual as the anniversary approaches, and people re-experience the anniversary effect. All that terrorism stuff last week really upset people, as you'd expect, though I tried to damp down the fear as much as I could and pass on what I found out to other survivors. It will be great to just chill out, catch up and see each other face to face tonight. I need a hug. Though quite a few Kings Cross United-ers came to my wedding in April, there will be people there I haven't laid eyes on for months tonight.

I'll lay some flowers down on Saturday, privately, with friends from the Piccadilly line train journey of 7/7/05, then I'm going to Norfolk for a family birthday celebration - my kind, urbane and jolly uncle is 70. Life goes on. It's poignant, as we approach the anniversary - the weather is the same, the news has been bombs, bombs, bombs, it's the first Thursday in July today - but it is not as hard as last year. Although I did have a minor panic attack on the tube yesterday: it shocked me because I'd been clear of PTSD symptoms for weeks. Not everyone is, and things can trigger it. A train that stops suddenly in a tunnel. The smell of rain. A sudden bang as a lorry starts to unload. Sirens. Always sirens.

Last year, London stopped, and it was a very emotional day. But this year, London on 7/7 has a major sporting event: the Tour De France, and a big music event, Live Earth, and the capital will be full of Londoners and tourists enjoying a busy weekend. I hope that the day passes without incident.

It will be far, far harder for the bereaved families: every day without someone you love is a wound, and two years is only a little time.

Personally 16/7, the five year anniversary of the 2002 attack is worrying me more to be honest. I keep dreaming about it again. But I have so much to do right now, that there isn't time to think, which is probably a good thing.

UPDATE: That tube derailment and stories of people walking down the tracks after a bang has shaken me. And my email has suddenly filled up with anxious messages. But it is a genuine derailment, not a bomb, though I am still trying to find out if something was left on the tracks on purpose. No, it seems something fell from the tunnel roof. It's happened before on that line, apparently ( via Evening Standard journalist who just called about something else)

UPDATE 2: The BBC are running a story about people still waiting for compensation two years on, and people like Thelma feeling 'forgotten' . Thelma had to have a prosthesis fitted after being seriously injured in 7/7: they offered her a light one and a dark one, neither of which matched her skin. When she was unhappy, they said it was winter and she could wear trousers to cover it. I felt so angry when I heard this.

It's not just 7/7 victims who come up against this sort of bureaucratic intransigence; its' anyone traumatised by violent crime and struggling with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, or people whose lives have been turned upside down trying to make insurance claims, like the poor flood victims - and people who are affected by terrorism abroad don't get any compensation at all, which is appalling. One of the worst things about being shocked and traumatised by accidents, terrorism, disasters is that your ability to manage admin tasks hits an all-time low just as the need for you to fill in endless forms and go through endless hoops hits an all-time high.

We get media interest because of the anniversary. But we're the tip of the iceberg.

UPDATE Friday 6 July: The story has gone big. Thelma is the front page of the Evening Standard . See also Thelma in the Telegraph, the BBC, the Mail. Well done Thelma for raising the issue of how difficult it is to get compensation if you are a victim of violent crime - especially terrorism.



Blogger Jonathan Beckett said...

Excellent post. Just discovered your blog and am tempted to eat into the rest of my lunchbreak reading...

I'm commuting in to London at the moment for work, and have thought once or twice about the terror attacks, but it doesn't play on my mind.

July 05, 2007 1:21 pm  
Blogger Stobart Stopper said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 05, 2007 4:31 pm  
Blogger Stobart Stopper said...

Saw you on tv earlier Rachel! Keep up the fight, I still think it needs a public enquiry.

July 05, 2007 4:32 pm  
Blogger Henry North London 2.0 said...

That is CICA for you It takes years as you know from before, for them to ever get round to deciding if you deserve any compensation. It is a shame as they said they would speed up the process for those involved in the bombings.

July 05, 2007 6:42 pm  
Blogger Henry North London 2.0 said...

P.s Nice pic on BBC website!

July 05, 2007 6:43 pm  
Blogger Bernie said...

Even from as far away as Sydney Australia, you (and all of the other victims) are in my thoughts and prayers today.
It was two years ago, that I awoke at my aunties place in Seaforth Liverpool. I had arrived after flying to Manchester via Tokyo and Copenhagen. I had a phone call from my wife the night before to say how luck I was to have been in the UK when London was announced as the winner of the Olympic Games, how this was shattered when we watched the morning news...
May I hope that you are at peace, the dreams/nightmares fade, and that all of your new found friends resulting from this terrible tragedy can move forward in an attempt to not let these horrible sods succeed in terrorism.
All the very VERY best…

July 06, 2007 5:30 am  
Blogger Bernie said...

this part (for some reason) was not there...
I am some what of a regular visitor to your site, and almost everytime I learn something new about you. Your strength through the hard times, your humility through the tough times, but most importantly, your integrity through all of this is strong!

July 06, 2007 5:34 am  
Blogger Dr. Deb said...

Hey Rachel,
I am so touched that you used my Anniversary Post. Awareness and knowledge, as you know, can help you move through trauma.


July 06, 2007 4:02 pm  

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