London bombings put abrupt end to carefree summer mood

A carefree summer came abruptly to an end on Thursday with the terrorist attack on London. The impact was great here in Athens, which had organized what were by mutual consent the safest Olympic Games. Only the previous day, we had heard IOC President Jacques Rogge announce: «The city that will hold the 2012 Olympic Games is London.» After the wild celebrations in Trafalgar Square, the cheers gave way to cries of pain, the silence of death, smoke, sirens, blue searchlights and red blankets covering inert bodies on stretchers. All the Greek media – radio, television and newspapers – covered the terrible news. The only reliable source of news, apart from the images, was the evidence of those who managed to get out, bloodied, hastily bandaged and choked by fumes, from the tunnels where the explosions went off, yet ready to talk about the hell they had escaped. Many people emerged with blood on their heads, unable to talk from shock. Those who could speak told of moments of horror in the crowded trains carriages that filled with smoke after the explosions. There were shouts, cries for help, injured people struggling to get out, while others stayed inside for fear of being electrocuted on the train lines. And when they did emerge, their faces were sooty and distorted. One man, dressed in a suit and tie, said: «We were trapped like sardines in a burning carriage, waiting to die. I thought my time had come.» Asked by an ITN reporter what he felt about those who had conducted the attack he replied: «I pity them.» «Pity?» asked the journalist, astonished. «Yes, pity. Anyone who has that much evil inside them only deserves pity.» And with that observation, the anonymous hero went home, leaving Blair, Bush and the other big names to state the ponderous obvious as London counted its growing number of dead and injured.

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