Last Wednesday was one of those days that us city dwellers dread the most. Now, this is not to say that those who choose to live in the leafier sections of our country don’t fear random terror, or worry about the safety of their loved ones. You would have to have a heart the size of Tottenham’s trophy cabinet (BOOM!) not to be shocked by the brutal murder of a young man going about his business; not to be concerned that a man who came back without harm from a war zone, wasn’t safe in the streets of South East London. But us in the city know that to survive, to stay sane, our communities are built on a level of trust.
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Growing up in the countryside involves constant interactions with people who have known you, and your family tree for years, creating a shelter of familiarity that makes living in the lanes such a tempting proposition. Those of us who happily choose to surround ourselves with the sound of car horns, the smell of global warming; and the sight of a grown sweaty man pressed up against a poor young girl on a packed tube, will walk past thousands of people daily, whom there is a good chance we will never see again. The moment that trust is taken away completely, the revolution won’t be pretty.
That’s the fear. The pride of the city – our diversity – will become its downfall. In the moment that fear takes over, we will all retreat into our corners, leading us to only trust those who look like us; whose experiences, and outlooks on life are exactly the same as ours. For a moment those seeds of discontent were almost planted. I read once that in the time of a crisis, twitter is at its best in the 5 minutes after, when basic information needs spreading; but its at its worse in the following two hours, when paranoia, and unsubstantiated rumours take hold. Those two hours were pitiful to read, when arguments were centered on the nature of the crime and the role of Islam. Just when things could have gone downhill, out of the sky came our saviour: The EDL, as they quickly declared war on Islam. Quicker than you could run for the last tube, the city picked itself off the canvas; stared at them with a death stare a scorned West African grand-mother would have been proud of, and said in one, loud voice: “take a seat, and shut the f*** up, you road blocks of evolution”.
This City knows that to have a fighting chance we need to remain defiant against those who choose to take evil, and stupidity to a unique level. That if we are going to get back on our fixie bikes; and jump aboard an unfriendly tube again, and get back to creating dope stuff, without the debilitating fear that those who choose to do us the ultimate harm live on, then we can only do so knowing that the majority of our fellow citizens, those we know and don’t know; those who look like us, or couldn’t look any different; and those whose faiths are built on foundations we may deem unsteady; when push comes to shove, have our back.
In London’s people, I trust.