On the 17th April 1984, my memory clearly remembers watching a breaking news report, live on television. As a fourteen year old, I sat horrified as WPC Yvonne Fletcher slumped to the ground after she had been fatally shot during a protest outside the Libyan embassy, London. Her death resulted in the Metropolitan Police Service laying siege to the embassy over the next eleven days and the United Kingdom severing all diplomatic relations with Libya. The demonstration had been organised by the Libyan National Salvation Front (LNSF) following the execution of two students who had criticised Muammer Gaddafi. That day, our home erupted into sheer panic. Fear set in as my father, a London cab driver was caught up in town, unable to make his way home to safety. I remember my mother’s faceflood with relief when she received a call from him; he had to queue for a long time for a phone box. We didn’t have mobile phones in those days. No one has ever been convicted for the murder of Yvonne Fletcher, who was shot along with eleven other people that day. Two years later Yvonne Fletcher’s death was a key factor in Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher’s decision which allowed US President Ronald Reagan to launch the US bombing of Libya in 1986 from American bases in the United Kingdom.
On the 21st December 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed by a terrorist bomb; 243 passengers, 16 crew and 11 people on the ground lost their lives as the aircraft crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland. My boss 30 year old, US Diane Maslowki, was amongst the passengers who lost their lives. She was on her way home to spend the seasonal holidays with her awaiting family. The devastation has affected me and those who knew her over a life time. In 2003 Gaddafi accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and paid compensation to the families of the victims; although he maintained that he had never given the order for the attack.
On 10 April 1992 at 9:20 pm 30 St Mary Axe was partially demolished, and the rest of the building was extensively damaged in a Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb attack. The one-ton bomb was contained in a large white truck and consisted of a fertilizer device wrapped with a detonation cord made from 45 kg of Semtex. It killed three people and injured another 91. That night I was sitting in a Chinese restaurant 0.4 mile away from where the explosion took place. At five months pregnant, I had the shock of my life when a window where I was seated blew in and smothered the area where I sat in large shards of glass. I was then evacuated from the flat where I was living at the time and was 0.3 miles from where the explosion took place. Being caught up in the scene, I can only explain it as the scariest night of my life. No filming or footage could give anyone a real sense of the horrific reality of what really happens.
On 11th September 2001, The September 11 attacks also referred to as September 11, September 11th, or 9/11 were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks launched by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda upon the United States in New York City and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks killed almost 3,000 people. That night, like many of you, I sat at home watching with disbelief as footage unfolded on the television screen. My husband (now ex) sat next to me ordering the body bags to bring home the British Victims. I also spent the night through until 4am the following morning relaying messages from senior officials who didn’t have a clue as to what was going on. Although I was watching the news, I was aware of several of the happenings minutes before they were shown. Watching it didn’t make it any easier as the sickening anxiety of knowing became reality.
On 7th July each year, I stand in Hyde Park side by side with a group of people who had in some way or another been affected by the 7/7 London Bombings which took place on that date in 2005. 52 civilians lost their lives during the merciless attack and over 700 people were injured. Innocent people, lives were destructed by the event of almost 12 years ago. United we console one another as survivors of an experience we had all shared in some way or another. When I attended the memorial in 2014, people who were at the memorial at 6 O’clock that morning from the Peace Centre (a place set up by of the father of Tim Parry – his son was killed in the Warrington bombing, They scrubbed graffiti from the memorial, left during the early hours of that morning. Around that time The Gaza strip and been under attack. The innocent people, including children caught in a battle over land.
Last year at the memorial as I listened to one of the speakers, I fully understood her bewilderment. On her way to Hyde Park a taxi driver asked her why she was visiting London. She explained she was attending the memorial – the response ‘What was that then?’
Ten days later I once again watched the news footage. Open mouthed and full of pain for all those involved with the Malaysian Airline that was shot down over Ukraine My heart went out to all of those innocent lives who had been pulled into yet another disaster involving a struggle of power and religion.
Watching the news in the early hours of the 4th June, London Bridge and Borough Market had been under attack by terrorists at 10:07pm the evening before. The terrorists taking the lives of 7 people and injuring 48 others. Dumbfounded that a week to the hour, Manchester had been bombed by a suicide bomber. The reporter asked a police officer ‘How can we make sure this never happens again?’ I was astounded by a reporter asking such a daft question. There is no solution to stop it. It has been happening for all of my life and before. It is not a war. There is no fight and no telling when the extremists are going to attack. Once they made their strike, there is always another to take their place.