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Weekly BlogScan: Live from the London Blasts

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When the purpose is to create terror, nothing works like having a mundane, every-day environment suddenly turn deadly. That’s what happened this week in London&#8212in the midst of pleasure about the selection of the city for the 2012 Olympics, mayhem and murder arrived at a London tube station, and exploded from several buses.

We’ve seen live-blogging before, most notably in the aftermath of the Christmas-time tsunami. So it’s no surprise that London, a hotbed of blogging, should explode with live-blog activity in the wake of the blasts.

NoseMonkey started live-blogging on Europhobia at the start with “So, what’s this ‘bang’ on the tube all about then?” As the infomation came through, the live blog was updated every few minutes, from the area to be evacuated. Around noon, our blogger even arranged for an alternate source for Europhobia readers, in case the computer he was using was no longer available (due to evacuation or explosion).

At Londonist, blogger Rob also posted a minute-by-minute update of the news from the blast zone. (While Rob was posting the updates, associated SFist blog noted the focus for San Francisco: “SFist Cares … About Breasts… You know what SFist loves? Tits. There. We said it. Love ‘em!”)

Ali Sharp is a free-lance journalist from Melbourne, Australia, who was in London on Thursday to cover the G8 summit. Blogging from post no bills, Sharp documented the confusion: “It now seems that only four explosions took place across London, with reports from Liverpool St and Aldgate stations actually referring to the same blast.” and “A relatively unknown group claiming links to al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but this has not been independently verified.”

At Reaching for Lucidity, blogger Eban Crawford of Littlehampton, UK, a “member of the U.S. Air Force that served in Desert Storm, an artist by trade, and a writer by passion,” posted an eyewitness account from ITV News:

this is an audio post - click to play

On BlogCritics, sungoddess broke the news, with the shocking report that “This city is under attack. I am in the middle of a terrorist attack.” Other London-based bloggers soon added their own posts, in a cooperative live-blog. Although partisan comments began while the dust of the blast was still in the air, the majority of writers seemed to be in shock, offering condolences even as they asked, “Why?”

Station Cleaner, “one of the many faceless blue uniformed employees of London Underground,” posted his insider reaction, “Oh My God” at On The District, to the news of the blast. He would later post that his wife, who was due to arrive at the damaged station just before the blast, was safe&#8212but we can multiply his initial shocked grief by the population of London to arrive at a picture of the emotional toll in this attack.

At normblog, Norman Geras enumerated the activities of terrorists, in a list that now includes the events of Thursday, July 7th:


5. They blow up people travelling on trains – civilians.
6. They target people on buses – civilians.

18. They murder people on their way to work in London.

Removed from the immediate vicinity, some bloggers posted comments, reviews almost, on the live coverage of the attack. Mist, whose missed web blog touts the motto “Free your Inner Fez,” remarked on the calm dignity which even the victims of the explosions displayed in the face of the carnage. Cap choices are mist’s own: “americans cry, scream, yell and sue over a hangnail. brits are dignified in the face of immense tragedy and loss.”

SUN mint about blast victims, Christian and Muslim alike.
    Terror makes no distinctions. Courtesy The Sun.

Jeffooi reminds us that the blasts killed and injured Muslims as well as others. His “Reverse psychology” post includes a link to Global Voices, where Muslim blogosphere reaction to this latest terrorism is being collected.

From the “other” side, Faramin applauds Robert Fisk’s comments from his Human First, then a Proud Iranian blog. He quotes Fisk: “It is easy for Tony Blair to call yesterdays bombings “barbaric” – of course they were – but what were the civilian deaths of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003…? When they die, it is ‘collateral damage'; when ‘we’ die, it is ‘barbaric terrorism’.”, then adds:

Blair can be as racist and as arrogant as he wants, but the fact remains that all the civilian victims; regardless of their nationalities and regardless of where they were victimized and by who, are victims of barbarism, no matter if it is Anglo-American barbarism or fundamentalist barbarism. London bombing was absolutely criminal and absolutely outrageous, but so were all the Anglo-American bombings of Iraqi cities…

Deb Frisch posted “we are all qaeda today” at her South(west)paw blog, noting: “I am not happy that more widows, widowers and amputees were created yesterday. I don’t think the people riding the London subway yesterday morning deserved to be blown up because of the war crimes committed by George Bush and condoned by Tony Blair… But I am glad that someone said phuque you to bush, blair and the other hombres who represent (sic) the G-8 nations.” The [sic] and caps are Deb’s, as is the bottom-line expression of joy at the deaths and injuries these blasts brought to Londoners.

I’ll give the last word to Peter Cresswell of Not PC, whose comments on the aftermath, “We Are All Londoners Today” posted on Scoop Independent News, are eloquent and pointed:

Business as usual was the policy adopted in the London Blitz, and the resilience of Londoners then is being seen again today. “Business as usual” is the quiet bravery of offering two fingers to aggressors who simply do not understand what makes human life sacred, and human effort valuable.

Quiet bravery and business as usual. It’s a far cry from the response an act of terror is designed to invoke. And that is the way we triumph over the terrorists, denying them the effect they intended.

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About DrPat

  • http://www.sfist.com/ Jackson West

    Actually, we had posted a link to Londonist’s coverage early in the day. SFist Cares is a column about local and national charity events, and this week was focused on supporting pledges in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk.

    There were also eight other posts on that day, including one submitted via email by a rather shaken contributor who had written hers on a flight to London that landed shortly after the blasts. Excuse us for deferring coverage to our colleagues who were actually on the scene.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Jackson West is quite correct – I was not making a point about SFist, but about the difference in focus between bloggers on the scene and those who were not.

    Since San Francisco is my closest metro area, I picked SFist to visit – and found one of my own favorite topics being discussed!

  • http://lagunasite.blogspot.com alpha

    British resolve. “Simple” 10 pound (4.5kg) bombs. Cell phone cameras and live blogging.
    You caught the dichotomies of this tragedy of contemporary technological pride in the face of ancient hatreds and man’s unending search for reasons and ways to kill.
    All this great technology and we still cannot answer the question of “why?” (I ignore the reasoning (sic) of Deb Frisch.)

  • http://alisharp.blogspot.com Ali Sharp

    Thanks for letting me know that you had referred to my blog. Much appreciated.