The image of a man running away from the horrific terrorist attack this weekend while still holding his pint has become a symbol of Londoners in the face of terror. Brave. Defiant. And of course, as a true symbol of London spirit, not spilling a drop. It’s not the only sign of Britishness we’ve heard from those in the attack. Stories of people throwing chairs and attacking the terrorists show how ready Londoners were to fight back. You want to destroy our way of life? Brits said, We’ll fight. We’ll drink. And we’ll even return to the restaurants we were eating at the next day. And pay the bill. We’ll even leave a tip. Don’t f*ck with us. Londoners are tough, the stories prove it. They will carry on. They will persevere. They are strong as hell.
After the Boston Marathon bombings we heard similar waves of strength. You don’t want to mess with Boston, people said, not with Boston. The bombs in Chelsea last year? New Yorkers kept on living their lives, hurtling forward, more unfazed than afraid. And when the Manchester attack happened just weeks ago, we heard the same. Manchester? You’ll regret it. The people of Manchester will refuse to be afraid. With each new incident, we hear echoes of the same determination. Chin-jutted and and jaw clenched. We hear the message loud and clear: Not. My. City.
Unique And Together
Ethnically mixed gay couple help fight off a demented Jihadist and save a girls life. London Pride, 2017 version. https://t.co/v8zbl9bgEQ
— Phil Craig (@philmcraig) June 4, 2017
Because we are all strong. That is not to say that each of these cities isn’t filled with its own unique character, unique personality, and unique strength. They are. Differing cultures, ways of life, and even coping mechanisms are all to be celebrated. But the one thing they have in common? The people of Manchester, the people of London, of Boston, of New York, of Paris, of Istanbul— they are strong. They are fierce. They are not to be messed with. They will not bow to terror.
We should celebrate each city’s uniqueness, revel in their ability to carry on after such trauma and pain. We should give them our attention, our support, and our encouragement. We should support that Muslim communities in those cities who, without fail, stand up against those who have bastardized their religion. But we should also remember that we, as people, are all strong. That no city has cowered, that nowhere has given in. That the pillars of democracy and have freedom have not given way to extremists. That, as people, we fight and, as people, we are strong.
It’s a tragedy that we can make this connection. That so many cities have had to pick up the pieces and move on with their life. To have their strength tested and prove they can keep going. That so many mornings start with someone shaking their partner awake with news of an attack. With panicked phone calls to loved ones and group messages of reassurance. With terror.
And it will happen again. New cities will be hit and the same cities will be tested. But they will not give in. Because we are all strong in the face of terror. We have been, and we will be.