Charmaine Yoest, an old friend of IWF’s, has been blogging from London.
Her site has been down a few times, but Powerline has also posted Charmaine’s observations.
I love the lack of sentimentality (though they might want to tone down the cracks at American sentimentality!), but I’m aghast other aspects of what she has seen and heard.
But let Charmaine tell you:
“Flew into Heathrow airport and took a $150 cab ride into north London to conduct interviews and document the bombsites. Bobbies cordoned off area around the sites sealing the scene of the explosions. I got to within a block or so of Edgware Tube station entrance with Londoners sitting calmly, relaxing in pubs. Everything is strangely calm, business as usual. I interviewed a woman, an interior designer, expecting some emotional display. There was none. ’We don’t do a lot of group hugging in England,’ she said, making me think of the stiff-upper lip. ’We are not sentimental.’
“And she seemed to reflect the mood of the London population. Not for what they were doing but for what they were not doing: No candles, no outpouring of grief, no hoards of gawkers milling around police tape, no teddy bears, no bouquets of flowers. No movement. No tears. Everything normal, except, maybe for that bus with the top blown off. Workers cleared and cleaned up the area real well. Spiffy. And got back to their pints.
“I visited hospitals and learned that ‘only’ 37 were confirmed dead at that time. More confirmations were expected. There were no moms with little children in downtown London. I interviewed middle-aged businessmen on cell phones and kids with Mohawks, none who were surprised.
“Londoners gently reproached me about my concern over the bloodshed, ’You Americans get sentimental over silly things. We’re used to getting bombed.’ The IRA Troubles had hardened hearts as well as the London infrastructure.
“I expected some grief, at least as much as there was when Lady Di died. And grief I got. I interviewed three very ordinary, normal teenaged English Muslims, one with short spiky hair (dressed not unlike my 10 year-old-dude). All three seem to be parroting Muslim talking points. ?The bombings were a conspiracy by Blair to generate support for the war,? they recited in a charming British accent.
“The bombers were quite indiscriminate. Edgware is not far from the heart of Little Beirut, a Muslim ethnic neighborhood.
“A young British black woman told me, ’The bombings are Tony Blair’s fault — they killed a 100 thousand Iraqis — and it’s like a boomerang [coming back at the British].’ Most everyone I talked to believed that the British caused the bombing or had it coming.
“Of the dozen or so people I interviewed only white males in business attire expressed surprise that anyone would think the British were at fault in anyway. But these gentlemen were the minority. Most felt that the Brits were complicit. The people at London?s ground zero were sounding like the ’wobbly’ Spanish after their train bombings.”