Ob-Blog: London Bombings

Like the rest of the world, I was shocked by the bombings in London. I felt this a lot more personally this time as it’s the first time I have had friends or family in close proximity to the attacks.

My brother and his wife are now living in the central London area, but thanks to Google Mail I was able to re-assure my parents (and myself) that they were OK.

I’ve been listening to a variety of ‘casts, many of which have excellent commentary on the bombings and implications for the world at large. I’m not going to discuss them. The one that seemed really hit me with completely appropriate timing was in IT Conversations/Tech Nation: Dr. Moira Gunn speaks with William Vollmann, philosopher and author of no less than seven works, all on the subject of violence.

“Violence is justified and good when it limits or prevents greater violence. Violence is justifiable I think when it is proportionate and discriminatory. … You are choosing to direct your violence toward people who are causing the violent problem as opposed to non-combatants.”

“Violence which is simply random or passionate can’t be justified …”

I could probably go ahead and quote the rest of the interview as well – it’s just so relevant to the world today. First chance I get, I will be reading William’s book (probably the abridged to start with :wink:).

Tie this up with the London Mayor’s reaction to the bombings: “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.”

One of my favourite authors, Sherri Tepper, uses as a device in one of her books (The Fresco) a ban against using terms like “claimed responsibily for”. Instead, the perpetrators should be forced to use truthful statements: “was responsible for the cowardly acts”, etc

We can only hope.