Monday, 31 October 2005

The Bird with the Flu

It was the 7th of July when the first news about the London Bombings was telecasted, I had just left London a few days earlier for Dubai and one of the underground stations affected was the underground that is closest to where I live in London at Russell Square. It was sad and shocking. What can make anyone capable of taking innocent lives? Some twisted dogma.

Once you have lost someone in your life, every time you hear about someone else’s loss the pain and anguish returns and the tears start rolling again. I was glued to the Television in Dubai and so were many other people around the world, listening and watching to every news telecast from every available news station, the story was being followed "as and when it happens". Then two weeks later on the 21st of July, there was a shooting by the police at the Stockwell Underground Station. They had caught the suspect and was he was killed on the spot. The man who was shot was reported as being Asian and "Pakistani" by an eye witness, present at the time of shooting. I feared for the worst and assuming that ultimately there would be some link drawn to Pakistan, and being a Pakistani myself who had to go back to London, I started imagining all sorts of things, things that would probably never happen, my husband was worried that I might have to be careful now and not reveal my identity to strangers. My parents were fearful as well.

I imagined that the fear would be on both sides, in and outside the circle of trust, did I belong in that circle anymore or would I be punished for my identity? With all the anxiety and stress before landing at Gatwick Airport in London, I was the bird with the flu.

And then something else happened, it was discovered that the man who was shot was not a Pakistani, but a Brazilian, and was not in fact a terrorist but an innocent man leaving home for work. What could lead to such a big mistake like that? Only a greater power which clouded the judgment of the policeman at that moment and the same cloud was apparently guiding the eye of the witness.

And that got me thinking, how much of our mind is infected with viruses, viruses transmitted through the most lethal and powerful carrier, the media. Whether it is companies trying to sell their products or a political ideology of Bush Blair or Osama, they all need followers and all of them share a common goal; they want to infect people with their ideologies to support their insatiable need for power and greed.

An educated and enlightened society can recognise the difference between truths and the half truths.

Or can we?

This is my journey to explore the realities of the London Underground and whether we the Londoners are conscious enough to know when to "Mind the Gap" .

Posted by Nadia Aamer