Friday, July 08, 2005

How Could We Have Forgotten That This Was Always Going To Happen?

Ian McEwan, whose book Saturday asks whether a Londoner should be worried about the threat from radical terrorists, writes about London after Thursday’s terrible bombing.

“The mood of a city has never swung so sharply. On Wednesday there was no better place on earth. After the victory in Singapore, Londoners were celebrating the prospect of an explosion of new energy and creativity; those computer-generated images of futuristic wonderlands rising out of derelict quarters and poisoned industrial wastelands were actually going to be built. The echoes of rock 'n' roll in Hyde Park and its wave of warm and fundamentally decent emotions were only just fading. In Gleneagles, the summit was about to address at least - and at last - the core of the world's concerns, and we could take some satisfaction that our government had pushed the agenda. London was flying high and we moved confidently about the city - the paranoia after 9/11 and Madrid was mostly forgotten and no one had second thoughts about taking the tube. The "war on terror", that much examined trope, was an exhausted rallying cry, with all the appearance of a moth-eaten regimental banner in a village church.

But terror's war on us opened another front on Thursday morning. It announced itself with a howl of sirens from every quarter, and the oppressive drone of police helicopters. Along the Euston Road, by the new UCH - a green building rising above us like a giant surgeon in scrubs - thousands of people stood around watching ambulances filing nose to tail through the stalled traffic into the casualty department.

Police were fanning out through Bloomsbury closing streets at both ends even as you were halfway down them. The machinery of state, a great Leviathan, certain of its authority, moved with balletic coordination. Those rehearsals for a multiple terrorist attack underground were paying off. In fact, now the disaster was upon us, it had an air of weary inevitability, and it looked familiar, as though it had happened long ago. In the drizzle and dim light, the police lines, the emergency vehicles, the silent passers by appeared as though in an old newsreel film in black and white. The news of the successful Olympic bid was more surprising than this. How could we have forgotten that this was always going to happen? " (via The Millions)

It’s really interesting to watch how authors are using the Internet to promote books. M.J. Rose, who has become a specialist on book promotion through her blog and her own experiences selling books, has teamed up with VidLit to make a short video for the upcoming paperback release of The Halo Effect. In a twist, Rose has turned the occasion into a charitable act. A group of supporters has offered to donate $5 to the non-profit group, Reading is Fundamental, for every blog that links to VidLit. Rose is hoping to line up 500 blogs, which will generate $2,500. Count me in.

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