I Will Not Be Cowed by Terrorism: Thoughts from an American Expat in London

Saturday¬†afternoon, my husband and I did what we do on most Saturdays: took a bus to one of our favorite London spots, Borough Market. We dodged tourists as we walked through the crowded 1,000 year old market, listened to the shouts of the strawberry and cherry peddlers being drowned out by the never-ending bell cacophony of Southwark Cathedral, and took down something called a “unicorn burger”, a sandwich that consisted of pulled pork, mac ‘n cheese, and “salad” aka two pieces of spinach. To work off the glutton fest on a bun, we walked across London Bridge and enjoyed the sunshine with our friends who are visiting. It was another freaking awesome day in a city that I’ve come to love.

Ten hours later, I was sickened to hear about the cowardly acts of hate and terror that took place there. I once again had those familiar feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and “WTF is going on in this world?!”

But then I read about how emergency services arrived within 2 minutes of the first call being placed. And how police had the threat ended within 8 minutes of the first call. And how strangers came to the immediate aid of other strangers, in person and through social media. And how one British bloke yelled, “Oi! Oi! Cowards!” at one of the terrorists while he threw pint glasses at him, which is the most awesomely British thing ever. And then I read Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Tweet that “We will never let these cowards win, and we will never be cowed by terrorism.” And I felt pride. And I felt hope.

So, I will still visit Borough Market on Saturdays. I will still harass my tomato sauce dealer to wrangle up a case of pasta sauce when I need a fix. I will still buy bread from Olivier’s Bakery because they make the best damn focaccia in the city. I will still walk through the hundreds (okay, maybe not hundreds, but it seems like it!) of cheese stalls trying to restrain myself from yelling, “Give me the whole damn table!” and diving face first into their wares.

I will still be proud to live in this city, a city where hope lives and humanity shows how truly admirable it can be. Contrary to what old (kinda fucked up when you think about it) nursery rhymes may say: London, and its bridge, are never going to fall down.

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