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London finds its rhythm again

Hasan Suroor

Living in fear meant capitulating to the "cowards'' behind the attacks

LONDON: London was trying to find its normal rhythm again on Monday as people returned to work for the first time since last Thursday's train bombings bravely hiding their fears amid warnings of more attacks.

The rush-hour scenes at tube stations and bus stands gave the city a semblance of normality and though people still looked and sounded scared most said they were determined to return to the life they had known before "7/7.''

Mood of quiet defiance

A mood of quiet defiance prevailed in the Capital with people saying they would not let the "spirit'' of London be destroyed by terrorists.

Among those who spoke defiantly were many victims of the attacks.

They said they were "angry'' but not afraid.

One young woman survivor said though she still had "nightmares'' about getting trapped again in a train, she was "going to go'' because living in fear meant capitulating to the "cowards'' behind the attacks.

This was a sentiment heard again and again during the day, and reinforced by calls from the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and the police that people should return to "business as usual''.

"By not coming to work, by London not being open for business, they (terrorists) will win and they are not going to win," Andy Trotter, a senior police officer said.

Queen sets the tone

The tone was set by the Queen when, on Sunday, she drove down the Mall in an open-top vehicle to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Nearly 2,50,000 persons turned up to watch the celebrations despite fears of more terrorist attacks.

Invoking the spirit of the blitz, the Queen said: "It does not surprise me that, during the present difficult days for London, people turn to the example set by the generation of resilience, humour, sustained courage, often under conditions of great deprivation.''

Persisting fears

But behind the scenes of apparent normality, fears persisted — and with the perpetrators of "7/7'' still at large, the security alert level across the country was raised to its highest level.

There was nervousness in Asian-dominated areas after reports of sporadic attacks on mosques and gurdwaras. Though Muslims have been engaged in an unprecedented campaign of denouncing the so-called "Islamic'' extremists, that has not stopped people from pointing fingers at the Muslim community, triggering fears of a "backlash.''

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