Friday, July 08, 2005
BBC: The biggest terrorist strike in the Western world was that on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. The mayor of New York at the time was Rudy Giuliani. He was in Central London this morning. I asked him tonight how he felt about today.
RG: Well my feelings were very complex. It really brought back a tremendous number of memories of September 11. We were right near by this morning near Liverpool Station having breakfast when the first attack took place. From that moment on, when we first got information about the first attack through the rest of that early part of the morning, it really did remind me of September 11. The idea of a surprise attack, innocent people just going to work being injured and killed. A terrible, terrible thing. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. The people of London should know that they have in the people of New York people who understand what they are going through, because we went something very very similar just a short while ago.
BBC: Can you, could you in New York, after an event like this, restore public confidence?
RG: Sure. People in New York have gone through it. They were very hurt by it. Some people obviously hurt more than others -- it is very unfair the way things like this happen -- certain people and certain families have to go through much more. But New Yorkers are looking forward, they are stronger than ever.
The people of London, to me, have always been remarkable. They were our inspiration on September 11 when we thought about how they reacted to the Blitz in 1940 and how they went through far worse than anything we would have to go through, so it's not surprising to see that their children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren have that same resolute response to this attack that their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents had to the Battle of Britain.
BBC: But there must be a sense that a city never really gets over an experience like this -- that at the very least it becomes part of its history, part of the city itself.
RG: Sure. The people who lived through today will remember it for the rest of their lives. It'll be part of their history, and it will be part of the history of London, and it will be yet another chapter in how this city demonstrates how people who live in freedom can prevail over people who live in oppression. After all, that's been the history of England. It has certainly been the history of London.
BBC: And what about the potential fallout for different communities within a big city like yours or ours after an attack like this.
RG: The people of London are going to react exactly the same way as the people of New York did. I remember that the night of the attack of September 11 I exhorted the people of New York not to cast blame on any particular group of people because of their religion or ethnicity. The people of New York didn't do that, and it probably was even unnecessary to remind them except that I thought it would be helpful to do that. I'm sure the same thing will be true here in London. The people of London, the people of England, know that this is not a question of group blame, it is a question of individual responsbility. Everything will be done to capture the people who did this and have them pay a very, very big price as a way of obtaining justice and deterring other people from doing it.
BBC: Rudy Giuliani, thank you.
RG: Thank you very much. God bless you.
The BBC used Giuliani's final remarks -- distinguishing group blame from individual responsibility -- to segue into a segment about the reaction in England's Muslim community "the great majority of whom want nothing to do with al Qaeda." Interviews British Muslims standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Anglican priests talking about how acts of terror having nothing to do with Islam. But...
...The BBC then cut to file footage from a meeting of an Islamic political group, identified as Al-Muhajiroun:
Footage of a bearded guy talking to a class, declaring his support for al Qaeda:
"When the two planes magnificantly went through those buildings..."
Of course, the BBC was very careful to disclaim any suggestion that Al-Muhajiroun had anything to do with the 7/7 attacks.
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