The Maths Of Mourning

On Thursday, I took part in the two minute silence for the murdered innocents of the 7/7 London bombings.

It was sunny here and it felt quite horrible that outside the weather looked so gorgeous, so full of buzzing insects and bursting with life and yet the 54 people we were honouring will never see this summer. Think of their families, the hell they must be going through. Why are these people dead? Because of the evil of religious fundamentalism. Because of people believing that human life is worthless, that blowing up civilians can be a legitimate act of war.

It never is.

As I’ve said before, I’m not a pacifist. I’ve been in fights and defended myself. If my family or I were attacked, I’d certainly respond. If this country was invaded, even though I’m physically unfit, I’d do my best to fight the invaders and protect my home.

If someone attacks you I don’t believe it’s morally wrong to fight back.

But tell me – who had these innocent Londoners attacked? They were from all classes, all walks of life, all religions. They weren’t a military force, they weren’t generals or politicians, they had nothing to do with any of the carnage in Iraq.

And then I thought – 2 minutes of national silence for 54 murdered civilians. What if we applied that to the civilians we killed in Iraq? I don’t mean Saddam’s troops or “insurgents,” I mean ordinary people, cowering in terror in their houses as the US and UK bombs fell on them. I mean the ordinary people of Fallujah, caught in the crossfire between “insurgents” and “liberators.”

In Iraq, we didn’t kill 5 or 10 or even 100 times as many people as were killed in London. We killed 1,852 times more people. Therefore, if we honour those innocents in the same manner, we should have a national silence that lasts 3,704 minutes.

We would have to stand in silence for 62 hours.

But somehow, I can’t see Blair leading that silence, can you?