10 years ago I am not 100% sure what I was doing; I was still living in Portugal that’s for sure. I think I had just finished my exams and I was about to start my first summer internship. But I remember the news vividly, I remember someone saying to me ‘turn on the news’, and I did. Everywhere they were showing a ‘London news special’. The city had been victim of a terrorist attack.
I remembered visiting London 5 years before, and walking those streets, being on some of those tube and train stations, the excitement of getting the double-decker or hear the ‘mind the gap’ announcement. Now, I could only imagine how scared everyone must have been.
It’s been ten years and sadly the world is still messed up. The terrorist threat is forever hanging over our heads. And in some countries that feeling of devastation and powerlessness people felt on that London morning, is a constant one. Countries like Syria, where people struggle to dream of a better future. Where more than 4 million people are estimated to have fled the country to refugee camps. Countries like Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt that are either too close to conflicts or the constant main stage of combat.
But at the same time more and more people are standing up against it. Refusing to be terrorized. People are standing together, refusing to live in fear, choosing to believe we can overcome the differences. Choosing freedom. As information and education reaches more people, we slowly become more tolerant. There’s still a long way to go, but more and more we see people doing acts of love. People looking to understand and respect each other rather than condemn anything that is different.
Today is a day London remembers and pays respect to the victims of 7/7 and their families, but it’s also a reminder that we should never succumb to fear – we will never let them win. Millions of people ride buses, the tube and trains in London every day. And dozens of people still choose to come to this wonderful city every day. A city of tolerance, respect and freedom.
Then and now people of London stand together in solidarity, remembering those who were injured and lost their lives, but also embracing and celebrating their differences.
We stand for freedom, we unite against hatred, we stand together and we walk together. I am proud to be a part of this wonderful city.