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Emergency workers at the scene of the terror attack in London on Friday. Credit Stefan Rousseau/Press Association, via Associated Press

Friday morning in London a terrorist failed. There were flames but no deadly blast at the Parsons Green Station on the London Underground subway system in this, the fourth terrorist attack in London and the fifth in Britain this year. Not only did the as-yet-unidentified terrorist fail because he bungled his bomb-making, he failed because he failed to terrify.

Yes, there were the jumbled tweets about a fire and stampedes. Then, the report of a “major incident” in which more than a score of people had been hospitalized. Eventually even, a claim of responsibility by the Islamic State. But very quickly, it all felt routine.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Finsbury Park Underground station, near the site of the June 18 attack on a group of Muslims, London, June 20, 2017

On June 19, the day after a forty-seven-year-old man from Wales, Darren Osborne, drove a van over a group of Muslims near a mosque in Finsbury Park, north London, leaving one person dead and nine injured, I went for a swim in a municipal pool a few miles from where the attack took place. The pool is a popular amenity in my community, and the diversity of those who frequent it—all races, ages, and backgrounds seem somehow represented—reflects the world city that London has become.

Arriving a few minutes before the doors opened, I fell in with four regulars, all of them non-Muslims, just as the conversation turned to the attack.…  Seguir leyendo »

Democracy in the UK

Following the recent terrorist attack in London that left seven dead and several wounded and in light of the previous two attacks on Westminster Bridge and in Manchester, British Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to allow for more extensive law enforcement measures in fighting extremism. The Prime Minister stated that if human rights laws would prevent the government from pursuing their agenda against extremism, the government would “change the laws so we can do it”. UK intelligence services already possess a variety of intrusive powers to manage the threat that is perceived as especially challenging in Great Britain today, namely identifying, monitoring and countering ‘homegrown’ extremists and their supporters.…  Seguir leyendo »

Police officers and emergency medical workers in London on Saturday night. Credit Daniel Sorabji/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The terror attack in London on Saturday night — the third in as many months, the second in as many weeks — demonstrated the persistence of the threat we face and the ease with which terrorists can carry out their schemes. Three men, with nothing more than a rental van, knives and fake bomb vests intended to keep both regular citizens and law enforcement at bay, killed at least seven and wounded a couple dozen more. This was a terrifying event for which ISIS has now claimed responsibility, but it was a hardly sophisticated act: a vehicle, some knives and ruthless determination.…  Seguir leyendo »

Londres y el amor por la libertad

Durante siglos, el amor por Londres ha ido de la mano del amor por la libertad. «Madre de extranjeros y amparo de desvalidos», la llama Antonio Alcalá-Galiano, prohombre de aquella «España constitucional, vencida y prófuga» que tuvo que acogerse «a las nieblas hórridas / del frío Támesis» por huir de la tiniebla absolutista. Sus páginas todavía mueven a la emoción, como las de tantos españoles eminentes que, allá por el primer tercio de nuestro siglo XIX, otorgaron a Londres uno de sus insospechados atributos: el de convertirse, a juicio de Vicente Llorens, en «el centro intelectual de España». Al dar testimonio del afecto de las gentes inglesas, de la simpatía por su causa liberal, de tantas cuestaciones públicas –bien aventadas por The Times– para el sostenimiento de los exiliados, Alcalá-Galiano no puede más que confesar que «ningún pueblo aventaja ni aun iguala al británico en caridad».…  Seguir leyendo »

‘This is a war on people enjoying the benefits of a free society.’ Women at a police cordon set up following a terrorist attack on London Bridge and Borough Market. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

A teenybopper concert in Manchester. A tourist day in Westminster. And now a Saturday night of revelry in central London.

Enough is enough, says Theresa May: there is “far too much tolerance of extremism in our country”. She’s right. “It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence and make them understand that our values, pluralistic, British values, are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.” Right again. I hope now she’ll also take active steps to address the rampant intolerance – at odds with those British values – that has riven society over the past year of poisonous politics.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ciudadanos se alejan de la zona del ataque terrorista en Londres. NEIL HALL REUTERS

Los nuevos atentados de Londres, como numerosos otros perpetrados en Europa Occidental desde 2014, son consecuencia de la movilización yihadista sin precedentes que viene afectando a nuestras sociedades durante los últimos seis años. El Reino Unido se encuentra entre los países de ese ámbito donde dicha movilización ha alcanzado niveles más elevados. También entre aquellos cuyos servicios policiales y de inteligencia se encuentran literalmente desbordados, incapaces de llevar a cabo un seguimiento preventivo de cada individuo sobre cuyo extremismo hay más que fundadas sospechas y de desbaratar con éxito todos los posibles planes para llevar a cabo actos de terrorismo. Lo ocurrido estremece sin duda una vez más, pero no es imprevisto ni incomprensible.…  Seguir leyendo »

A vigil in Manchester last week. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

When you type Olivia Campbell’s name into Facebook’s search bar, it automatically suggests adding “Manchester” to the end of it. Seemingly, a lot of people have been looking her up, and her Facebook page — now listed as “Remembering Olivia Campbell” — is filled with comments from strangers and friends alike, sending prayers to her family. Scroll down to before we knew she was one of the 22 victims of Monday night’s Manchester Arena attack, and you’ll see her boyfriend, Lewis Brierley, posted a photo of them together, saying he was praying for her safety.

His profile photo, of him and Ms.…  Seguir leyendo »

A policeman in Manchester, England, on May 25. Credit Jon Super/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The leaking of sensitive information about the investigation into Monday’s terrorist attack on the Manchester Arena, including forensic images of bomb apparatus, to United States media caused dismay and anger among British officials. The prime minister, Theresa May, went so far as to raise the issue directly with President Trump when they met at Thursday’s NATO conference in Brussels.

To modify George Bernard Shaw’s maxim, Britain and America appear to be two countries divided less by a common language than by common secrets. While British investigators jealously guard detailed information about their operations, seeking to run their leads to ground before they are exposed to view, their American counterparts seem more willing to put what they know directly into the public domain.…  Seguir leyendo »

Recueillement à St Ann's Square, à Manchester, le 25 mai 2017. Photo Oli Scarff. AFP

Le Royaume-Uni est donc rattrapé par le terrorisme de l’EI. Malgré les menaces, ce pays semblait jusque-là épargné, contrairement à la France, la Belgique, la Suède ou l’Allemagne. Les attaques de Londres et de Manchester prolongent la vague terroriste qui frappe l’Europe. Les similitudes avec les attentats de Paris, Bruxelles, Berlin ou Nice sont nombreuses. Les cibles sont à chaque fois des lieux de convivialité, de culture populaire et de fête. Après le Stade de France, les terrasses de café, le Bataclan à Paris, le feu d’artifice du 14 Juillet à Nice ou le marché de Noël de Berlin, une salle de concert de Manchester, accueillant un public particulièrement jeune, est frappée.…  Seguir leyendo »

People in Manchester, England, on Thursday observing a minute of silence in remembrance of those killed in a terrorist attack on Monday. Credit Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

In the springtime of 100 years ago, nations that shared a Christian heritage slaughtered one another over a few miles of mud. In just one battle, the great powers of Europe fought for more than a month outside this magnificently reconstructed medieval city, and suffered 280,000 casualties.

At the same time, French infantrymen began to mutiny after 200,000 of their young men fell — dead, wounded or missing — in another senseless grind of human flesh to the south.

All of that — the poisonous gas, the mowing down of teenage boys in ashen fields, the legless legions of the Lost Generation — is behind us.…  Seguir leyendo »

Au lendemain de l’attentat qui a frappé Manchester, mon téléphone vibre sans cesse sous l’afflux des messages que m’adressent des proches pour s’assurer que je vais bien. Le monde et la ville que j’habite me semblent étranges, transformés par le choc des événements. Sur les réseaux sociaux, des amis partagent des informations : qui contacter si vous avez besoin d’aide, ou encore où donner son sang. La réaction immédiate est la sollicitude. C’est un jour triste, mais où l’on ressent beaucoup d’amour.

Le Manchester numérique tel qu’il existe sur les réseaux sociaux témoigne de la force des liens qui nous unissent.…  Seguir leyendo »

Londoners gathered at Trafalgar Square for a candlelight vigil for the victims of Wednesday’s attack. Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Five days ago in London, Iranians were celebrating Nowruz, teaching our English friends to say “Happy New Year” in Farsi. Two days later, a terrorist named Khalid Masood drove into a crowd of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing two and injuring forty. Now, again, here we are on familiar ground: Someone has killed in the name of Islam.

As Khalid Masood (an Englishman born Adrian Elms) was crashing his car and brandishing his knife, I sat on a train passing under Westminster, headed home from the high school where I teach an American literature course. That day, my class had been discussing “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” Sherman Alexie’s semi-autobiographical novel about a boy on a Spokane reservation.…  Seguir leyendo »

Wednesday's attack on London was expected, planned for, and in the view of many, a long time coming.

The UK terror threat has stood at "severe" for more than two years now, meaning that the response to this kind of attack in such a high-profile location had been extensively rehearsed.

This was amply reflected in the way in which London, its security services and the public responded: rapid first responders, clear public information dissemination and a narrative of resistance.

In many ways, we could not have hoped for a more effective response -- from both the police and members of the public.…  Seguir leyendo »

Muestra de racismo en las Redes

Dice la prensa que quien ayer acabó con la vida de tres personas “nació en Londres”.  Con unas pocas reservas –las que brotan de mi ignorancia acerca del criterio de naturalización británico-, cabe, pues, suponer que el asesino era británico. Más corto quedaría. Por aquello de la economía. También detinta. Pero, puestos a crear sintagmas donde la redundancia no debiera imponerse a costa del ridículo, también podría decirse que fue "un ciudadano británico”. No obstante, tal expresión, ufana sin duda de codearse con aquella de “Estado español” (tan apreciada por nuestros nacionalistas, capaces de distinguir analíticamente entre “Estado”, “País”, “Nación”, “nación”, “nacionalidad”, “región” y cualquier cosa que tenga voluntad de ser, estar, parecer o semejar), tampoco les valía.…  Seguir leyendo »

A pocos pasos del lugar del atentado que el miércoles sacudió la ciudad de Londres hay una estatua de Winston Churchill -corpulento en su abrigo de trinchera y con una mirada enfocada y resuelta-, toda una imagen de un pueblo que ha conocido y sobrevivido, con orgullo y victorioso, momentos mucho más amenazadores de su historia.

En el mismo instante que el terrorista empezó su paseo endemoniado a través de Westminster Bridge, camino del Parlamento, me encontraba a cuatro cuadras después de haber almorzado en mi club, cerca de Trafalgar Square, con un amigo español que lleva varios años trabajando y viviendo en la capital londinense.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament reopened Thursday, after the attack on Wednesday. Credit Niklas Halle'n/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts,” George Eliot wrote in “Middlemarch.” On Thursday, in a statement to the House of Commons about the attack that had occurred right outside Parliament the day before, Prime Minister Theresa May echoed that sentiment, paying tribute to the “millions of acts of normality” that are the most powerful weapons against extremist violence. This was London’s counterattack: to show that it takes more than a murderous rampage through Westminster to shut down this mighty city.

Somber but undaunted, members of Parliament of all parties expressed their admiration for the courage of the police, doctors and nurses who had responded with such speed and vigor, rushing to help those who had been mowed down by car on Westminster Bridge.…  Seguir leyendo »

The word genocide should never be invoked too readily. For most the term will be forever associated with the atrocities of Nazi concentration camps and the deliberate effort to exterminate Jews. The horrors were so unspeakable that the language to describe that carefully orchestrated attempt at annihilation has to remain undiluted.

Genocide has the specific legal meaning of “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”. The alarming truth is that while genocidal violence has been perpetrated around the world since the word entered the legal lexicon in 1948, powerful states have resisted the use of this terminology, refusing to acknowledge genocide as genocide.…  Seguir leyendo »

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron is determined to deal with the threat from international terrorists. Or so he keeps saying. The problem is that Cameron's proposed air strikes in Syria are likely to escalate the threat, while his government's policies elsewhere in the Middle East are also providing nourishment to "Islamic State" (ISIS) and al Qaeda.

Just as his predecessor Tony Blair ignored intelligence warning that invading Iraq would increase the likelihood of terrorist attacks, Cameron is playing fast and loose with the safety of the British public, and the wider world.

The plan for bombing "Islamic State" in Syria that Cameron laid before the British Parliament last week started to unravel almost immediately.…  Seguir leyendo »

“We will never forget hearing the Marseillaise sung by thousands of English football supporters at Wembley.” Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

On 13 November, France was struck at its very heart. These terrorist actions were the bloodiest and most horrifying attacks France has experienced in more than half a century.

They caused hundreds of casualties, including one British citizen, brought devastation to their loved ones and outraged millions of people throughout France, Europe and the world, bound together in a movement of shared solidarity that was heart-warming to all French people in these terrible times.

We were struck, and moved, by reactions in the United Kingdom, both official and unofficial. Spontaneously, British citizens gathered to observe moments of silence and remembrance. People from every neighbourhood in London came to our embassy to demonstrate their solidarity with the French people.…  Seguir leyendo »