As the majority of the world knows, there was an attack on London on Wednesday, March 22. 52-year-old Khalid Masood, a terrorist from England, drove a car into pedestrians walking along Westminster bridge, killing four and injuring over fifty as well as fatally stabbing a police officer. My internship is located in Westminster, where the attacks happened, only a short walk away from Parliament and the Westminster Bridge. I didn’t even realize that anything had happened at first- I was busy writing an article for work and had my headphones in when our trip GroupMe suddenly started blowing up with people asking if everyone was okay. Confused, I checked Twitter (classic millennial) to see what was going on. Apparently my colleagues had been talking about it for a few minutes by that time and were trying to understand what had actually happened through the limited (and many false) updates on the internet.
We could hear the police sirens and see the helicopters flying over the scene very clearly from our office, and it was certainly a bit scary being relatively close to all the action. I think that some of the cultural differences between Americans and Brits are quite apparent in situations like this, as my colleagues seemed quite calm during this atrocity, while the other interns and myself as well as the other kids on my trip were pretty much freaking out (and our parents were even worse).
Despite this huge atrocity, the people of London are very strong, and I saw written on a tube service information sign, “the flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of them all,” which I do believe is a quote from Disney’s Mulan. Yet another read, “all terrorists are politely reminded that THIS IS LONDON and whatever you do to us we will drink tea and jolly well carry on, thank-you.”
Even just mere hours after the attack, people seemed to carry on with life as normal, and the sunset that night was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
I also saw a wonderful bit of street art on Brick Lane that stated “Muslims r awesome,” which was nice to see since every terrorist attack sadly and unjustly seems to bring about more Islamophobia than was already present in the world before.
London is a beautiful, diverse city that, while certainly cold and unforgiving at times, has some of the most wonderful people in the world who will come together in harmony to support and protect each other and their city. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the yesterday’s attacks, and I know that no terrorist attack can bring down this magnificent city, as its strength is unyielding. In my opinion, love is much stronger than hate, and events like this often have the opposite effect that the attackers wished them to have, as they often bring people closer together in their love and strength.
Although you definitely see the worst of some people during attacks like this, I also believe that you get to see the best sides of others as well when they do all they can to help each other in times of peril. We must remember to be grateful for our police force at times like this as well, because they are the ones running straight into terrifyingly dangerous situations while most of us are running out of them. London will not be brought down by senseless acts of hatred, and I know that my adopted city and its residents will come back stronger and more unified than before.