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  • Garri Holness

7/7 London Bombings

Written August 2005

Exactly one month ago, my life, like so many others, was changed forever by the terrorist attacks which devastated London and left 52 people brutally murdered. I was on the Kings Cross train when one of the bombs exploded. Even though I will bear the physical scars of that awful day for the rest of my life, I want to offer a message of hope and reconciliation. I believe passionately that we should not sink into the sort of bitterness and racial hatred that has threatened to take root in the past few weeks.Then memories of what began as an ordinary working day will, of course. Never go away and it’s worth explaining what I, and my fellow passengers, went through on that July Morning and its aftermath – not to attract pity, but to show how hope and friendship can blossom even in the shadow of terror.I took my usual train to Kings Cross and went down to a crowded underground station on the Piccadilly Line. I could of got the first train that arrived but I got pushed to one side by a Passenger the second train came and I women Jumped on before me in the space that was left. The Next train I have to catch it was crowded by I joined the front carriage and we pulled away into the darkness of the tunnel. Two minutes later, there was a flash and suddenly there was a maze of colours-almost as if I was at a Rave Party.Yet strangely I felt a sense of calm. Even when the force of the blast threw me into the pole in front of me. I remained standing and my only thought in that moment was to keep focused. As the screams and the panic began, I kept telling everyone that we must remain calm.It wasn’t easy for any of us; the scene was apocalyptic. There was blood all over the place and when I put my hand to the floor, all I could feel was raw flesh.Someone shouted out that they had lost there legs. It was then that I looked down and saw that my leg was hanging at a crazy angle. A lady called Alison ’my angel’ made me lie on the seat with my head in her lap and chatted to me, slapping me as I had asked her to do when I showed signs of losing consciousness as blood seeped out of my tattered limb.Finally we saw the lights of the rescue services. Alison and I were the last to be taken from the carriage. From then on I remember nothing until four or five days later, when I woke up in the Royal Free Hospital, where I was still recovering from my injuries.Yes my body had been severely damaged. I lost my left leg below the knee (calf Level) my arms, my legs and my back are all badly burned both ear drums were also blown out. I was hit by shrapnel all over my body. Some flesh had been ripped of my right leg and I also had a broken fiba.The truth is - and I know many will find this hard to believe – I consider myself to be Very Lucky. Firstly 26 people died around me 52 died all in all. I survived. Secondly although my injuries are bad they could have been a lot worse. Had the shrapnel hit me in a slightly different place I could have lost my right leg. Too. Had the flames that caused the burns on my forehead hit my eyes, I could have lost my sight.The weeks in the hospital haven’t just been a chance to heal the physical wounds. I have spent much time thinking about the people who committed these terrible atrocities. I have read in papers and watched on TV about the upsurge in feelings against Muslims. I have heard about taunts and the abuse that has been afflicted on people because of their colour or creed.However bad my wounds, I can never share those feeling of anger, fear and Suspicion, and I beg everyone not to succumb to the Politic of evil. That will truly give the terrorists their victory.I don’t want vengeance. My belief that we should all live together in peace and harmony has not been shaken by my experience.I have no hatred for the people who attacked me and so many others. Whatever their motives, however deluded their actions, they are not the real criminals. It is the people who sent the Suicide bombers to their deaths whom I will never forgive.Of course it hard to understand what twisted ideology could ever motivate a young man to low himself up and murder fellow Britons. I spoke to a Muslim while in Hospital and learned much about Islam. A peaceful and generous religion that does not condone what the bombers have done.It was clear to me that the young Muslim who had set off the Bombs has been corrupted by a perverted form of their faith, their minds poisoned by false promise of Martyrdom. I have only sympathy for the individuals who were brain washed in this way – but none for those that brainwashed them.My emotions are complicated even further by the fact that Germaine Lindsay, the man who left of a bomb in the train I was on. Is like me. Of Jamaica origin. Do I hate other Jamaica now? Of course not.I may never understand how a man like him, with a wife and kids and one on the way could wish to bring misery to so many families. I do know his parents would have bought him up with respect and manners the West Indian way. I feel nothing but sympathy for his family as they try to make there way in life, knowing they may be persecuted – even though they knew nothing about what was happening. How can you feel anger for them? They are human being and hurt, too.Retaliation, whether by word or deed can never be the answer as Britain comes to terms with the events 7th July 2005.My time in hospital has also given me the chance to think about my own future. I intend to live my life in as normal way as possible. I have read books on how other people with disabilities have shown what can be achieved when thinking positively about life.Of course there will be dark hours and grim days but all those people that visited me in hospital seem to comment that I am always smiling and that’s how I want you to think of me as you read this piece. Why? Because we must not let Fear take root. We must not board trains and buses with a quickened pulse, scrutinising our fellow passengers for signs that they are carrying the Instruments of terror. Above all we must not let 7th July 2005 Bombing define race relations in Britain to drive a wedge between communities. Rather, we must use it as an opportunity to recognise those things which unite us, whatever our colour creed; love friendship and laughter.I know I will continue to be happy and positive about the world and the people in it, and so should you.As a Roman Catholic, I believe I am blessed and that God save me for a reason. It is up to me to make the best of my opportunity and remind all those who will listen that, instead of dwelling on death and devastation of 7th July, We must focus on the future with hearts full of HOPE.

​- Garri Holness

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