I love London. In fact, I love Great Britain and Europe full stop. The culture, the diversity, the color … all these things are what make London (and Europe) special.
This is not my first visit to London yet I am still in wonder of the red double decker buses, buildings centuries older than the United States, and the oh-so-English accents all around me. I love being a 20 minute bus ride away from excellent theatre and fun pubs, only 5 minutes walk from a beautiful park (Hyde Park, that is), and next door to the BBC Proms.
The majority of my time here has been spent in unseasonable sunshine and warmth, something I was secretly hoping to escape. I love grey London and its sea of colorful umbrellas and galoshes … I was finally granted that today (although the sun was determined to shine after about 3pm).
However, my life and the lives of Londoners alike has been disrupted by the terrorist attacks of two weeks ago and last week. The first attacks took place on the day I left the States, leaving many of my fellow students and professors fearful of travelling to Greece and GB. My obvious sorrow over the events was not accompanied by that same fear; if anything I felt just as safe or safer than before because of the heightened security I knew I would face. I cannot say I had the same comfort or reaction to the events of last week.
The lobby of Beit Hall (where I am living) has the news on constantly – 75% of it being about the terrorist attacks and events concerning the terrorist attacks. With images of four suspected Muslim men and explosions racing through my brain, I now approach mass transit with a tiny bit of trepidation.
On the way home from the theatre two nights ago, I stood next to an Arab man with a rucksack in his lap reading the Qu’ran. I’d be lying if I said that my heart didn’t beat a little faster, that my brain raced with different panic scenerios. I was relieved to finally step off the Tube.
Out of my own prejudice and fear I have widened the gap between myself and those who differ from me. Mind the gap, indeed.