Opinion: London is standing strong
By Stephanie Sawaked
It is easy to suggest, in light of recent attacks in England, the British are constantly in fear of what may happen next.
A deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert on May 22 took the lives of 22 mostly young concertgoers and injured at least 100 more. Fast forward almost two weeks to June 3 and we come to the attacks on the London Bridge, which then moved out to the Borough Market.
Three men carried out an attack that began with a van that plowed people down on the London Bridge. Two men jumped out of the van and made their way to the Borough Market where they led a knife attack on innocent patrons as they were enjoying a meal.
Despite those attacks, the citizens of London seem to have gained strength and continue their daily activities.
While the Manchester attack happened, I was in New York City with a friend who is interning in the United States but is a citizen of England. She was devastated to see that happen to her homeland, but she was mostly worried about her friends and family in the area. She described the attack as, “senseless and disgusting” but was not deterred because she knew the people would quickly bounce back and be there for one another.
Grande held a benefit concert for about 50,000 to raise money for the victims. The benefit featured Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Pharrell Williams, The Black Eyed Peas and Usher, who all encouraged choosing love. It is an incredible sight to see that such a horrific event can still manage to bring strangers together in the name of music and unity.
Late night HBO talk show host, John Oliver, shed some light on what the media has portrayed versus how Londoners are reacting; and as it may come as a surprise, Londoners have not been deterred from daily life at all. In fact, he showed a clip of an interview of a young man present during the attacks and fearlessly telling a reporter that, “we’re not going to let these people win. And I keep saying if me having a gin and tonic with my friends, flirting with handsome men and hanging out with brilliant women is what offends these people so much, I’m going to do it more not less because that’s what makes London so great.”
Oliver also addressed that the British are not in any way reeling because of the three terrible men who carried out the attacks. In fact, the British began this Twitter hashtag, #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling, so others know that making tea in the microwave makes Britain reel far more than a terrorist attack.
Instead of using this moment to make blanket statements and stereotypes about where the attackers came from and pointing fingers to blame other religions, they have found the light in the situation, became unified and they chose love. If Americans can learn to put our differences aside the same way and come together on middle ground, we could accomplish many things in greater ways.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Carolinian, the University of South Carolina Upstate, or any affiliated institutions.
Stephanie Sawaked is a writer for The Carolinian. Email Stephanie with questions and comments.