|Finsbury Park aftermath aerial|
As we were chatting about the tragic Grenfell Tower Fire another terrible event was unfolding in London, England. On June 18, 2017, a driver plowed a van into a crowd Muslim worshippers leaving the Finsbury Park Mosque, killing an elderly man who suddenly fell ill, and injuring 10 people. Initial reports quote the driver shouting I want to kill all Muslims.
The latest terrorist attack (yes, that is precisely what it is) could have been far deadlier had the crowd not pinned the attacker down, and an imam from the Muslim Welfare Center, protected him until the police arrived to arrest him. The attack is another terrible blow to London, a city already facing one of the toughest summers in recent memory. To make matters worse, temperatures are hovering near 90 degrees and the political order is teetering on the brink. And the summer has barely begun.
|Finsbury Park on a regular day|
|Finsbury Park Mosque|
Feargus O'Sullivan observes, "It's not just these horrors in themselves that are taking a toll. Keep Calm and Carry On may have become a terrible cliché, but when trouble comes, it's what people do here...But after Grenfell, it's also the failure of the government's response, both national and local, that it making people sick to the stomach."
|PM Theresa May and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn listing Finsbury Park|
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn recently spent time at the fire scene, speaking with survivors and volunteers. Prime Minister Theres May made a short visit to the site, speaking with emergency service workers only, avoiding the victims and media, in a futile attempt to avoid being heckled. The PM's visit also raised questions about her political future, ones that a private meeting with survivors at 10 Downing Street, days later, failed to answer. "But while the evasion and chaos of her response has seen Grenfell Tower disaster dubbed 'Theresa May's Hurricane Katrina' in its irrevocable damage to her public standing, she isn't the only political figure in the firing line."
|Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell|
|The Queen's Speech to Parliament 2013|
Although London and Manchester have been rocked hard in recent months, the large, dark cloud of crisis and tension has spread across the country. Mr. O'Sullivan reports, "May's Conservatives unexpectedly failed to gain a majority in the June 8 election, forcing it to seek an electoral partner to prop up a minority government. It's only choice was Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, a Protestant fundamentalist grouping with a history of paramilitary association and values that are completely out of step with modern Britain..." This political partnership is so tenuous that PM May has put off Queen's Speech, which traditionally opens a new government and, in an effort to mitigate the risks of a future vote of no-confidence, cancelled next year's speech as well.
One of the many things yours truly loves about Britons is their ability to find a silver lining amid the gloom. Feargus O'Sullivan reports, "Kensington's newly elected MP suggests that the Grenfell Fire is tentatively starting closer relations between the rich and poor of Kensington." If you go http://www.independent.co.uk, you can watch a short video of an Anglican bishop, an imam, and a rabbi-communities with congregations in Finsbury Park-join together in a show of solidarity. Something that reminds the world that no matter what happens, no matter how hard the United Kingdom is hit, the people will ultimately get up and work together to cope with the shocks.
One question that comes to Blogger's mind and probably the minds of many Americans, is can a rapid succession of terrorist attacks and a disastrous fire happen in a major American city happen in the near or distant future? Hard to say. Americans, like their British cousins, have a wonderful sense of community. When faced with adversity, we can work together to heal. However, in this politically high voltage time, it feels like our differences make that that sense community hard to come by. Even worse, the powers-that-be, enabled by their media outlets like to exploit those differences. However, yours truly firmly believes that underneath it all we are all Americans, regardless of the circumstance of our birth.
|Do you just hate when this happens?|