Defining terror. Defying terror
We are told never to jump to conclusions after an attack such as the one that happened in Westminster today. We should not call it terror until we know what happened.
Terror comes in many forms and has a broad definition. Terror is when someone – anyone – attacks a community, a state, a nation, a people at its very heart. When places that are ancient and familiar and treasured are under attack, then it is terror – whether it’s the IRA, the Red Brigades or ISIL that has committed the act of violence. Last year, Britain was rocked to its core by the assassination of British Labour MP Joe Cox by a fanatical political opponent.
And Britain has a history of dealing with terror. Queen Victoria survived at least eight assassination attempts. When I was young, the IRA was terrorizing London with random bombings.
In World War II, what was the Blitz if not a nightly terror attack by the Nazis on the British capital? My parents survived that, although they were bombed out of their house one night – all the windows in their house shattered. Were they frightened? Of course, I’m sure they were. Did it weaken them? Not at all. It made them more determined to survive , to win and to say they were proud to do so.
Terror doesn’t intimidate Londoners – not the Cockney market stall sellers; not the swanky folk in Knightsbridge. It strengthens their resolve to carry on with heads held high and preserve what they hold dear.
We don’t know what happened in Westminster today. We don’t know who did it or what crazed ideology – if there was one – was behind it. What I do know for sure is that normal service will resume as soon as possible in London. It always has.