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Saturday, July 09, 2005 


I thought I'd post the speech of the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, made after the attacks, as I found it quite moving. I don't know much about the man, or what Londoners think of him, but i thought his speech blew everyone else's away. He didn't even read it, which makes me wonder if he wrote it himself... I have no idea. Blair's been okay through all this, his first few speeches weren't so hot but I think he was so upset, visibly upset, that oratorical fireworks weren't at the top of his list at the moment. Bush (as much as people grudgingly admit he's sounding "better") sounded as if he was reading from primary cards being held up in front of him, "this... is... a... bad.. thing... cat... dog.... ball..." Anyway, I present, Ken Livingstone from Singapore:

"I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.

That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith - it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I'm proud to be the mayor of that city.

Finally, I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life.

I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others - that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail.

In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and fulfillfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don't want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail."

Pretty durn impressive, I must say.

It was certainly one of his better speaches - and delivered in a very Churchill-like fashion.

Heartfelt and resolute and rather moving. Very fitting to the occasion.

George Bush should read it. Or, since he doesn't "do" news (especially the kind that requires reading), have one of his "intelligence" agents read it to him.

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