That the sixth anniversary of the london bombings passed with the media almost completely focused on the demise of the News of the World, amid new accusations that phones of victims and the phones of families of victims had been hacked for the paper, somehow seems wrong.
For myself I thought about writing something just to mark the day, but somehow it felt too difficult to write. Why today should be different I am not certain, prehaps the symbolic nature of the ‘day’, made me feel as if I was intruding on something private.
As someone who writes against the anti-Islamists, some of the more foolish in that particular group might imagine that I am insensitive to deaths that have occurred at the hands of the terrorists, which I certainly am not. It is because I am not that I find the stereotyping rhetoric of those who see Islam only in the light of the worst the Islamic world has produced so difficult.
There is today on the streets of Cairo, in Tahrir Square, a ‘Million Man March‘, almost unreported in the British Media. I hope it is a peaceful day, and at the moment I expect it will be. This march is superficially a demand by the people of Egypt for increased speed of change. One theme for example is the arrest and possible prosecution of members of the Cairo Police who sided with the protesters during April, about which there is considerable public anger in Egypt.
There are other issues which concern todays protest, but chief among them is asserting the need for the democratic process to move forward and not slide back into meeting the needs of the vested interests, who will no doubt be nervous of what a democratically elected state might uncover about them, and what action it might take.
More importantly this march/protest represents something prehaps more subtle but more important, I think that it is in many ways a celebration of the victory over Mubarak, a march as much for, no other reason than because they can. The power of the people in action.
The anti-Islamists make much of the strength of support for the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt, alarmed that this group seeks to spread Islam through legal democratic and economic means. The claim is this makes them no better than the Terrorists, since the terrorists want to bring Islam to the world but through violent means. To my mind this only indicates how bankrupt the ideas of the anti-Islamists really are, since they clearly have very little idea about what democracy is. Those of us who are sceptical about Christianity’s desire to convert the whole world, which was executed with some quite nasty wars over the centuries, would be rightly laughed at for suggesting that the Christian Democrats in Germany, or the British Labour party, which was founded in Methodism, were a dangerous throwback to the imperialistic model of Christianity.
The greatest memorial that the Victims of 7-7 and of other awful events around the world could have, is the development of peaceful democracy around the world, with the terrorists marginalised, and ultimately out of business. It seems an odd world to me where those supposedly eager to ‘defend’ democracy appear to so fear it taking hold in those countries who have emerged from the Arab Spring, because a democratic Islamist party might gain a little power. If there were not democratic Islamist parties in Islamic countries, I am not certain how it could be a democracy.
Democracies almost never go to war with each other, even though they don’t always agree, they tend to negotiate, disagree, slag each other off in the various newspapers their citizens read, and get round the table again. We have nothing to fear from democracy, and some courage and faith in democracy, from the nay sayers in the west would contribute to establishing a true memorial for the victims of 7-7, and other terrorist atrocities: peace in the middle east.
If you are interested in events today in Egypt, follow the link below.