Friday, July 15, 2005

BBC's lessons for London 

As London recovers from the acts of terrorism... sorry... the bombings, ("the word 'terrorist' itself can be a barrier rather than aid to understanding"), BBC's Madrid correspondent Danny Wood looks for inspiration:
For the majority of Londoners, life after the bombs seems to be returning to normality relatively quickly.

But are there lessons to be learned from the experience of Madrid, about the city's recovery in the long term?
Sure there are:
The spirit of defiance on display in London was present in Spain's capital from the beginning.

People saw it as a matter of duty to get back to work and pick up where they left off as quickly as possible.

The citizens of Madrid felt supported by hundreds of public demonstrations of unity all over Spain.

On building sites, in offices and at schools, people marked minutes of silence to respect the victims or marched on their streets to promote solidarity and peace.
So far so good...
For many Spaniards, the lingering fear of another attack was reduced by the new government that won elections three days after the train bombings.

The withdrawal of Spain's troops from Iraq helped a lot of people to feel safer and no longer such a prominent target for international attacks.

Meanwhile, big public events allowed the city to look forward.

The pomp and ceremony of Prince Felipe's wedding, two months after the attacks, allowed Madrid to indulge itself again.

And the bid for the 2012 Olympics encouraged the citizens here to look to the future.
In other word, this is the recommended BBC three-step program of recovery: a group hug, followed by appeasement, followed by some bread and circuses to distract everyone from the reality. Priceless. If it sounds more like advice on how to cope with being dumped by your boyfriend, well, we are talking about the city that gave us Bridget Jones.


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