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July 05, 2006

Remembering the London Bombings

Inevitably the following days will see an increase in features about the London bombings of July 7th last year. Indeed, there will probably be a number of blog entries similar in nature to this one.

But how much discussion - or chewing over - of the events is necessary?

Some news programmes have been running features every day of the week, leading up to Friday, while others have so far been more restrained. As I see it, the obvious angles are:

  1. Talking to the survivors about their experiences example
  2. Full detail about the event using evidence gained over the past year example
  3. Whether a similar attack is likely now example
  4. How has security been improved example

And then the stuff of opinion articles: Has the government successfully talked to Muslims? What is the state of Muslim extremism in Britain? Is the minute's silence appropriate, etc. etc.

But how many of these stories need to be chewed over again? Don't we already know precisely what happened (albeit not who 'masterminded' the attacks), and aren't we acutely aware that there are still people living in the UK who want to bring about a similar attack?

In my opinion, the only valid angle to the story is the tale of the survivors. That's why we're having a one–minute silence, and that's why we commemorate November 11th, nearly a hundred years after WWI. Only by remembering the tragic events can we appreciate how fragile life is, and how dangerous it can be too.

But I fail to see what we gain from some of the 'dramatic reconstructions' we'll inevitably see, with one exception. CBBC are doing a dramatisation of how children in London were affected by the day's events, and from the short bit of it I've seen it looks fantastic, without being alarmist. In fact it should probably be played in schools.

But for those of us who should be able to grasp what happened on July 7th, I can't help feeling that the mainstream media are in danger of patronising the audience, but more importantly, offending those who suffered in the attack, and who surely don't need to be reminded of the nature of the day and the continuing potential for further terrorist attacks in the UK.

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