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It was a great moment of national pride for me (which are rare in the UK) in the wake of the 7/7/2005 bombings. People were back on the Tube and buses the next day, refusing to allow their lives to be disrupted further. I've always taken solace from those people- I hope that the people of Boston can be equally inspiring.



Let me offer a different opinion. There was a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993. Thirteen different explosions in the span of a few hours across the city's landmarks. 250 people died. One of the blasts was in the Bombay stock exchange. This was on a Friday, and the stock exchange opened for business on Monday. This was a huge PR win for Mumbai, as the media talked about the resilience of the residents and the manner in which they moved on and didn't let it impact their lives.

It's now 20 years and several terrorist attacks and bomb-blasts have gone by. Mumbai still carries on, but there is no pride in doing that anymore. Everyone just wants it to stop. It's been easy for the government to quickly clean up and talk about how terrorism doesn't impact us. The Mumbai residents keep calm, but no one wants to move on like this.


There has never been a sense of pride in getting to work the next day, its just what you have to do. The wreckage on the way is a sign that maybe you got lucky, but also a sign that your commute is going to be FUBARed.

The treatment though of these events is somewhat schizophrenic.

The local take has generally been one of gallows humor/pride(?). One of the most common questions people have is "is everyone I know safe" and "so is tomorrow a holiday or what?" (the answer is always no, it's not.)

Its when people look and compare what Bombay/Mumbai goes through regularly and when it gets kudos for being itself that people suppose they should feel pride, but I suspect this sensation isn't the natural self grown variety.

The best treatment of the phenomenon has been by the Taj staff. During an tour of the art in the hotel after it was re-opened, curious tourists asked about the attacks and where it happened, the guide spent just enough time to be polite and make it clear that such questions were not answered and moved on to discussing his work.

Honestly, what else are you going to do?

I suspect part of the state side reaction is likely media influenced or focus on those aspects. By the looks of it Boston is acting rationally to the issue and will likely carry on as well once there is an all clear.

----

Its funny what is being called "several attacks". For context this refers to the train bombings, which opened up railway bogies like sardine cans, the attacks of 26/11, the bombings in Jhaveri Bazaar, random riots.... the list goes on. And the city's response has generally been apathy. The attacks elicited anger at the Government and embarrassment.

But oddly, apathy is probably the best answer to terrorism. The point of terrorism is to make a political statement. If no one cares then while violent, the statement is essentially ignored.


>>Mumbai still carries on, but there is no pride in doing that anymore.

Not just that.

But think of it this way, most people who are already having hand-to-mouth have no other option but to show up at their jobs next day.


This is becoming increasingly applicable in the US, too. People will work no matter what, if the only other option is poverty.


Well even people not living hand to mouth come to work next day.

It's just what you do.


That is a reality that I guess I just naively assumed wasn't possible. This bit really kind of shook me. I've always thought of terrorism much like the author and the aforementioned poster you're replying to, a seemingly random and rare event. I'd never thought about what living in a society where it has become common place. I imagine it's a bit like when school shooting sprees line up in the States, each one on the news results in a "god dammit, another one, what an asshole, seriously?" We move on, and become desensitized in the long run and "overcome" time and again, but that doesn't make the situation any better or less negative.

I have no solution to that dilemma that won't put us as a society as low or lower than the terrorists we're fighting...


That is a reality that I guess I just naively assumed wasn't possible. This bit really kind of shook me. I've always thought of terrorism much like the author and the aforementioned poster you're replying to, a seemingly random and rare event. I'd never thought about what living in a society where it has become common place

Got back and look at the UK in the 70's and 80's during the worst of the Northern Ireland troubles for an example.

There was a period of a couple of years where "suspect device" was a regular reason used for my train being late.


Between foreign involvement, wars, social injustice, extremist religous groups, poor political system, right wing militants ploting to overthrow the government, access to arms, use of economic power, poverty and just being the largest western country, I'm actually suprised how little terrorism there is in the US.


Agreed. Last night my personal trainer who is otherwise the nicest guy ever said "why does this always happen here, these things happen here all the time" to which I replied "they happen almost every single day in other parts of the world, they barely ever happen here". He didn't believe me and proceeded to tell me about how "it's because we let all those god damn foreigners into the country". This is a really great guy and I had no idea he had these views but after hearing him say such an ignorant thing I too wonder why this doesn't happen here in the U.S. more often too.


It's disappointing, if not shocking, that the US population is so uninformed. Just today there was a bombing in Iraq that dwarfs the one in Boston. http://www.news.com.au/world-news/iraq-bombings-kill-46-ahea...

And last month as well: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/20/al-qaida-iraq-an...


That's the mood regarding these things in Israel, too, and I think especially among us Gen Y types in most countries.

We're too young to remember a time when terrorist attacks and school shootings weren't regular occurrences. We carry on rationally because we've seen the stupid crap people do when carried away by their emotional reactions to terrorism. That doesn't mean we don't dearly wish it would stop.


I worked in Roxbury; we never believed our city was safe. Stray bullets are a fact of life. A third of people who get shot to death are shot by the cops. It's not like it's the 70's in Chicago or anything, but it's never "safe".

But we don't need perfect safety to be proud. The most common statement going around my social networks is "Most of what you need to know about Bostonians is summed up in the fact that their blood banks were already full today". People lend each other their cell phones regularly. Those hospitals are always saving lives. These things are part of being decent human beings. Just because there are non-decent human beings out there can't diminish that.

We are cynical, because we have to be. But in cynicism we've found hope for ourselves, because we can be different.


Exactly this. Holding your head high is not a response to terrorism.


Then what is? What is the average citizen to do, other than refuse to be terrorized?


What's a better response? Hiding?

It's pretty much the best option, under the circumstances.


What should the response be then? Being terrorized?


I'm actually incredibly confident in Boston on this count. People here are scared and angry, but the reactions here have been brave and largely rational. Nobody's going to start avoiding the Back Bay or staying away from the subway, or on their guard with their neighbors.

I'm less confident in this country's political leadership.


The British resolve is something that those of us across the pond seem to have lost, or perhaps it is something that was developed in the British people during the terrible days of WW1 and WW2.

We here tend to work more of a spirit of freak-outery and cynicism. And as much as it annoys me, I think its more a symptom of how relatively little most of us and our ancestors have had to worry about in the US as much of our history was as a mostly rural international backwater that quickly transitioned quickly to a world power with oceans and, almost always, peaceful neighbors on its borders.

Which is something to be thankful for, even if it has led to a fairly weak resolve.


I saw no shortage of resolve in NYC after 9/11. Just as untog said of London, we all went to work the next day and carried on with our lives.


There was an excellent article by a New Yorker a while back contrasting the response within NYC with that of the rest of the country.


I think that the proximity to the horror likely has a strong effect. The survivors know that they are survivors, and know that they must carry on surviving. Distant observers thousands of miles away are left only with the horror but little of the resolve that comes from experiancing survival.

But that is just me making up a hypothesis that fits the data in retrospect. Maybe something else is going on.


Would love to read that article if you have a link.


I don't know if this is what he was referring to, but I find this article inspirational, about what the NYPD has been doing to fight terrorism, while we New Yorkers continue living our lives. http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/07/25/050725fa_fact2


If anything the people move on, its politicians and those in power who seem to want to exploit a situation. I tire so much of being told I should be scared, let alone how they very same people who could not prevent the issue suddenly more than willing to disrupt my life going forward and tell me its in my best interest they do so.


perhaps, and I in no way diminish the everyday heroism of doing that.

I don't remember much about NYCs reaction, as I was in school in Atlanta at the time. But my father worked on an air force base at the time and reactions there and around that town were anything but carrying on.


The British resolve is something that those of us across the pond seem to have lost, or perhaps it is something that was developed in the British people during the terrible days of WW1 and WW2.

Large chunks of the London population would have also lived through the various IRA campaigns in the 70-90s.

One of the thing that seemed darkly humorous to me was that in the aftermath of the July bombings the tube/rail services rolled out the old warning messages used during the IRA campaigns which didn't really apply to suicide bombings (they were all aimed at suspect packages being left somewhere - rather than things being carried / suspect behaviour).


I think this is what happens pretty much everywhere. People just carry on.

News media gives us a rather distorted image of how things stand. I remember when living in Beijing during the Kosovo bombing campaign in 1999. The Chinese naturally took great offence for deaths in their embassy.

CNN was day after day showing video of violent anti-US demonstrations outside US embassy in Beijing. Foreigners were warned of sticking their nose out. I took a walk in the Sanlitun embassy area. The closest thing to a riot I saw was an overweight woman walking her poodle. The demonstrations were well organised in front of the cameras, without causing disruption elsewhere. They were mostly over in a day; CNN just kept replaying the same footage for a week.

Chinese colleagues were clearly angry, but they also just carried on, as always.


You can see plainly in one of the videos everyone running to the site of the bombing to help those in need; during 9/11 the same thing happened. Its only those people disconnected from the event (not everyone of course), fueled by vitriol from the media, who foster this irrational fear that ends up turning into xenophobia and irrational politics.


I travelled through London the next day on the tube and noticed two things:

1. A HUGE police presence, like nothing I've ever seen anywhere - that day it was the safest city in the world. 2. It was quiet, yes people were carrying on but it wasn't like the London you expect, people from outside the city were definitely steering clear.

One thing to remember is that London (and the UK) is "used" to terrorist attacks from years of the IRA. Back in those days it was a bit different as they generally gave a warning but still, I think over time it has built up a resilience.


I was two blocks away from the bombing for a couple hours and no one was panicking, sad perhaps but quite calm.


London had 30 years of training.




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