Last week saw the 18th (!!!) anniversary of the London bombings. I remember that day well – I was about to leave for Israel for ten days and wondered if my trip would be affected (it wasn’t). I also remember having a long discussion with my oldest brother about Ken Livingstone’s speech that day. On the surface, it sounded appropriate, but there was one paragraph that we both found revealing:
I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old.
Given Livingstone’s ideology, one couldn’t help but feel that had the attack indeed been aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers, at the rich and the powerful, he would not have minded as much. (There were reports that his staff celebrated 9/11.) It reminded me a bit of what I wrote here, about the envy that seems to consume so many of us, making us forget empathy and take delight in certain people’s suffering.