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Many nations grieve in melting pot of London

July 11, 2005

By Paul Majendie

LONDON (Reuters) – “Bomb us and you bomb the world.”

Beneath the headline in Britain’s Daily Telegraph on
Monday, a list of the missing from around the globe illustrated
the deadly reach of last week’s bomb attacks in London.

A waiter from France, an oil executive from Nigeria, an
accountant from Mauritius, a tour guide from the United States,
a dental technician from Romania, an Israeli who wanted to
escape bombings in her homeland.

They were all in the wrong place at the wrong time in
London, the target last Thursday of bombings on underground
trains and a bus that killed at least 49 people.

London ranks alongside New York as one of the world’s most
culturally diverse cities. It is a melting pot where more than
300 languages are spoken.

Nothing rams the message home more poignantly than pictures
of the missing. They appear on posters tied to railings at
impromptu, flower-bedecked shrines that have sprung up at the
crash sites.

“Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist. We are
all Londoners,” read one message scrawled on a Union Jack flag
left outside King’s Cross station, scene of the worst blast.

Newspapers and Web sites print somber lists of the missing
with photos hastily supplied by their shell-shocked families.

“London’s very nature means that this was a multi-ethnic,
multi-faith and multi-racial tragedy,” said Trevor Phillips,
chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality.

“This attack was bound to claim its victims among all the
city’s communities,” he wrote in the Daily Mail.

But, amid all the grieving, he did offer a message of hope.

“Those who believed that people of different colors,
traditions and faiths cannot co-operate — the ethnic rainbow
of doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, firefighters and even
police — must surely have had their prejudices confounded.”

London had been in celebratory mood on the morning of the
blast.

Proudly boasting that it was “the world in one city,” the
British capital had just won the greatest prize in sport when
picked as host for the 2012 Olympics.

Less than 24 hours later, London was a grieving city with
mourners that stretched around the world.

And that is why London Mayor Ken Livingstone could barely
contain his rage when he said of the bombings “This was not a
terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful.

“It was aimed at ordinary Londoners, black and white,
Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old.”




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