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Huge crowds lined the streets of central London today to celebrate the victory on the war on terror.

Well strictly speaking it was a parade for the athetes of Team GB and Paralympics GB to celebrate their success in the summer games of London 2012. Why then is it a victory over terrorism?

Quite simply because the aim of terrorism is to divide a country and provoke a disproportionate reaction against those who the attackers represent. In turn, this radicalizes more members of that group and diminishes the reputation of the country in the rest of the world.

Assymetrical wars are not won on the battlefield. A country wins by standing firm on the principles which are the bedrock of its society. Bush lost the moment he authorised detentions in Guantanamo Bay outside the rule of law. Tens of millions marched through the streets of major cities all over the world when he published lies about Iraq and prepared to let loose the dogs of war.

When the London transport system was attacked on 7/7/05, the day after the Olympics were awarded to the city, the object of the bombers was to provoke a reaction against the Muslim community. To some extent they succeeded with the Blair government proposing more and more laws to empower the police to be able to carry out things like a "stop and search" for no other reason than somebody looked "like they could be a terrorist" - otherwise known as the offence of "walking while brown". Thankfully these have been rolled back but a more important thing happened the day after the bombing. To his constant credit, the then London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, emphasised the unity of the city and Londoners - and the rest of the country - responded. Posters on the Underground emphasised that it was "10 million Londoners, 1 London"

In the intervening 7 years there have been some quite surprising and very welcome changes in the country, partly as a result of the all party campaigns against the extension of the War on Terra into Iraq. People also came to again understand the difference between those who falsify the teachings of a peaceful and tolerant religion to promote their own hatred. Something the British have had a rather long experience of since the  16th century and the turmoil of the Reformation. (There have been other quite profound changes in Britain over this period which I want to examine in a later diary) The Games have had two effects. The first to act as a catharsis following the bombings. This was caught in the speech by Lord Coe at the Paralympics closing ceremony when he said:


I was travelling on the tube when I met someone wearing the familiar purple uniform and a pass marked Medic. A Games maker. And the Games makers stand among the heroes of London 2012. We began talking.

His name was Andrew and he told me he was a doctor at St Mary's hospital on his way to help out at boxing.

But when I tried to thank him, he wouldn't let me. He said he was the one who wanted to do the thanking. And as we did a very British dance over who should thank who, he suddenly cut through all the politeness and said:

"I was on duty on 7/7, that awful day. For me this is closure. I wasn't sure I should come or whether I could face it. I'm so glad I did. For I've seen the worst of mankind and now I've seen the best of mankind."

But perhaps the most concrete example of how those 7/7 bombers failed are way in which Britons have come together to support all the athletes wearing a Team/Paralympics GB uniform. Best exemplified by the words of a double gold medal winner in the 5,000 and 10,000m races, who was born outside the UK. When asked if he would have prefered to run for the country of his birth he responded:
Look mate, this is my country.

    This is where I grew up, this is where I started life. This is my country and when I put on my Great Britain vest I'm proud. I'm very proud.

That particular athlete is one of the best known in Britain and even has his own victory salute like Usain Bolt, the "Mobot" - think the M from the Village People's "YMCA!". Mo Farrah was born in Somalia and joined his father in Britain at the age of 8. Mo is the affectionate shortening of "Mohammed" and, as you might guess, he just happens to be Muslim. He delayed his Ramadan fast to not loose form for the competition, a fact just treated as an interesting example of his dedication to his sport.

Originally posted to Lib Dem FoP on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 09:58 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Goodday for the UK, let me count the ways... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ceebs, Lib Dem FoP

    ...the success of the paraolympics as an embrace of diversity of human fates and equality of purpose
    ...the success of the competence of both games (closing ceremony of olympics concert being a small bump in the road).
    ...the CPS receiving more files, bringing to 15 the charged or chargeable folks for phone hacking, out of a total 25 arrests.
    ...if Murray does as well as he has been doing a Brit, n.b. Brit, not English slam victory....
    ...a community rescue for Lib Dem.

    (More eyes will come your way, I am sure. Anyway here are my two. Now back to Flushing Meadows and a victory for team...redhead ;). )

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 01:31:12 PM PDT

  •  Im still amazed (4+ / 0-)

    by the lack of coverage in the US  of the paralympics. the treating it as if it isnt real sport.

    If we go back to the pre Olympic Romney statement that he didnt know whether the olympics would be a success fundamentally misunderstood the people of these islands. If theres one thing we will do is turn up for a sporting event. If theres an event anywhere in the world. you will find British supporters.

      If we go back to the two previous paralympics, the average presales of tickets were about 4000 for each. presales in the UK was 2.5 million.  If you want one single number that shows why Romney is an idiot, that will do it for you.

    Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

    by ceebs on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 02:04:00 PM PDT

    •  Ppl=a number he cant understand.Why he said it (0+ / 0-) know humans as opposed to corporate ppl. Did you read that he double downed on it, saying that he meant to say what he did to illustrate his straight talk that he will use with the chinese.  
      The president could have loaned London the 101 first airborne and the Navy seals and his own US Marine band (which plays for the President at the WH and has never interrupted a toast to any visiting ruler ;)) as well as Michelle, and even Eastwood, and Romney would have said the same thing.

      Meanwhile, Anglophiles, Murray just won a phenomenal (and phenomenally long) first set.

      "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

      by BlueStateRedhead on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 03:01:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm very disappointed by the lack of coverage (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlueStateRedhead, ladybug53

      I just wish I could have gone to London to watch in person.  And then stayed for a while!  It looks like it was one heck of a party.

    •  Im also amazed that the US comes top (0+ / 0-)

      Of the Olympic Medal table, but way down in the Paralympics.

      Incidentally, the history of the Paralympics movement is something we in the UK can be enormously proud of. When its founder  Ludwig Guttman fled here from Nazi Germany with his young family, his daughters were shouted at by a  British boarder guard. He wanted them to get away from a draft so they would not catch a cold. Guttman was so warmed by this decency from a petty official that he dedicated himself to becoming British.

      For the rest of the story see the the BBC drama 'The best of  men'.

      Mitt Romney, wasn't good enough to beat the guy that wasn't good enough to beat George W. Bush .

      by ewan husarmee on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 02:41:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bravo. (5+ / 0-)

    A magnificent response to awful events, and quite frankly, a spectacular set of games. Incredibly well done.

    PS: I think we're all entirely mortified over here about that Mitt Romney incident. We're terribly sorry, he should never have been let out of his kennel. The poor, sad thing has never been house-trained.

    Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

    by MBNYC on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 03:01:13 PM PDT

    •  we're not distressed (5+ / 0-)

      we're just if anything sorry for you that so obviously  inept a candidate has been put up by one of your major political parties

      Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

      by ceebs on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 03:04:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zinger99, BlueStateRedhead

        ... at least Caribou Barbie seems to be near the end of her fifteen minutes, so it's not all bad :-(

        Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

        by MBNYC on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 03:16:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  you wait (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          she'll be back staggering from her coffin, telling everyone that the reason Romney lost the election is that he wasn't comitted firmly enough to conservative politicis , and they would have won the election if there had been more tax cuts, and a harsher crackdown on the poor and imigrants

          Interviewer: What do you believe is behind this recent increase in terrorist bombings? Helpmann: Bad sportsmanship

          by ceebs on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 03:28:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for your sympathy for our state.... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MBNYC, zinger99, ladybug53

        or states, all 50 of then, one and indivisible.
        Meanwhile, Team GB did a good job at being one and indivisible.
        and today was a magnificent tribute to the Game makers and games. Even to Boris Depleffle J. to whome we owe a(()) for putting RM down so well.

        "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

        by BlueStateRedhead on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 03:16:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Even less dressage trained, which is demands... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...perfect synchronizing, cooperation, and telepathic empathy.

      MR has shown none of the above, not to his sons, not to the troops, not to his party. He does seem to respect his wife.

      Who does dressage. That's may explain something.

      "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

      by BlueStateRedhead on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 03:07:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Brits are not distressed about Romney (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC, ladybug53

      although we will think you have lost your mind[s] if you elect him.

      We embrace the best of you, and trust you will deal with the others :)

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 05:16:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It can be astonishing how a city and country (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MBNYC, ladybug53, Sharon Wraight

      pulls itself together after a tragedy like 9/11 or 7/7.

      Though I lived in New York for only 10 years, and left in 1974, I still consider it 'my city'.  I was so proud of the way the city recovered and worked together in the aftermath of that awful day.  I found all the small stories, the human interest items that were in the news then to be inspiring,, which is why I commemorate this in my sig line.  For it is absolutely true that the people of New York had won the war on terror by the morning of 9/12.

      The people of Britain and especially London showed the same resolute defiance during the Blitz and then on 7/7.

      And we have seen this time and again all over the Middle East this past year and some.

      It spite of all our faults, we actually have good cause to be proud to be human.  The 99% of us.

      Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

      by triplepoint on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 05:20:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You forget (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlueStateRedhead, Catesby, ladybug53

        From the 1970s to the end of the 1990s there was a series of occasional IRA bombings. I avoided the February 1996 bomb in Docklands because I travelled through the area about an hour before but it rattled my windows.

        Even after the Stormont agreement, there were bombings by splinter groups up to mid 2001.

        So there was a degree of resilience built up in that period. Also the response to 7/7 was to some extent moderated by that experience. After all, using the Bush logic we should have carpet bombed Dublin or indeed Boston and other US cities where much of the IRA funding originated.

        Continuing on a TV near you; "The Magical Mitt Sorry Tour (Underpants Edit)"

        by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:22:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would dispute (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          that this list could be considered 'occasional'.

          And it's not even a comprehensive list.

          On top of that were all the real, and not real, bomb scares.  This is how I grew up.  It was a way of life.  And I was injured as a 12 year old child in a bomb that isn't on that list in Central London, the Campden Hill bombing.

          But other than that, I agree with you completely.

          •  Sorry to hear of your injuries (0+ / 0-)

            I was not sure of that word myself but chose it in preference to "regular" as the incidents happened at random intervals over that extended period.  

            Of course there were other bombings outside of London including Birmingham where a number of people were killed and Manchester in 1996 by the PIRA where a city block was destroyed - actually resulting in a far better set of buildings replacing the rather dated 1960s glass wall constructions that were blown up.

            Continuing on a TV near you; "The Magical Mitt Sorry Tour (Underpants Edit)"

            by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Sep 10, 2012 at 07:47:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Richness of society (0+ / 0-)

    The games also spotlighted the ways Britain is often a richly complex society.

    Here for example is one of our most prominent medal winners (Jessica Ennis, the Hepathlete) with her parents.

    For me one of the best bits in the whole experience  remains the James Bond spoof in the Olympics opening ceremony, with the Queen herself entering into the joke about parachuting into the stadium. This played up on our self-image of being able to make jokes about ourselves. Some republican friends of mine (republican in the British sense of wanting to axe the Monarchy and start a Republic) are full of personal admiration for Mrs Elizabeth Windsor.

    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

    by saugatojas on Tue Sep 11, 2012 at 01:00:12 AM PDT

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