Friday, July 8, 2005
The British Factor
What is your stereotype of the typical Brit? I'm embarrassed to tell you mine. But it starts with bad teeth. After this week's events, I am having to re-think my attitude.
Have you noticed how the regular people walking on the streets of London are giving the bird to the terrorists? The average Londoner seems to be thumbing his nose at the destruction wrought by the bombers.
The blast has been called the worst attack on London since WWII. "Hey, we lived through the German blitzkrieg. This is just a pimple on our butts."
"The IRA gave it a try, but we outlasted them." Sod off you bloody bombers.
And the Islamic terrorists themselves? "Fine, you had your chance, towelheads. Just try it again."
The media hereare calling this "dust yourself off and start all over again" national character -- RESOLVE. Okay, Stone Phillips called it that on Dateline.
If the terrorists are alive, the British will track them down. Timing devices and other bomb debris can lead to a cell phone, a computer, a finger print. They will be found.
Don't forget they also have the Ring of Steel -- more than one thousand video cameras that photograph the whole of downtown London. A lesson learned from dealing with the IRA. Nobody else is that prepared.
I don't know about you, but I never think of the British as particularly emotional people. The kind who would get pissed off. Nor do I think of them as especially filled with RESOLVE. Certainly not like the Israelis, who had to resist a simultaneous attack by five countries the day after they became a nation. That'll build character.
The British are people whoare so civilized that they originally started putting milk in the bottoms of their cups of tea to keep the china from cracking.
For me, the term British Commando has always seemed like an oxymoron. But listening to the average bloke on the corner since the attack, I have to say I'm beginning to have a whole new respect for the denizons of that two thousand year old city.
Maybe they've just had time to cultivate their wussy, stiff upper lip posture. To lull the rest of the world into thinking they no longer have what it takes to defend themselves.
We had our 911. It made us afraid. Very afraid. We went after someone smaller than ourselves just to unleash our frustrations. So there. Madrid, Moscow, and Malaysia have taken their licks. And they too have become skittish. Now London has been slapped upside the head.
But instead of joining the crowd of countries who are whining about how their vulnerabilities have been laid bare, the people of London are standing up like the underdog in a rigged fight, spitting out the blood in their mouths and saying,
"You want me? Come and get me!"
The rest of us would do well to take notice.