Today, it has been exactly 10 years since four Britons blew themselves up in London, during morning rush hour - acting in the name of Islam but were little more than heretic murderers. Since the 7/7 bombings, how has the United Kingdom changed? For the worse, undoubtedly.
Though you won't hear this from the politicians memorialising 7/7 in central London today, last year the Department for Communities and Local Government quietly removed public funding for the annual commemoration ceremony in Hyde Park, which has taken place each year since 2005 to offer succour and support to the bereaved and the injured. The Mayor of London's aide, Sir Edward Lister, told the organising charity, Foundation for Peace, that mourners should "move on". Eventually, Lister's boss, Mayor Boris Johnson, acquiesced and offered more cash, but for just two more years.
Politicians in the previous coalition government also disbanded the Humanitarian Assistance Unit, responsible for delivering bereavement advice and specialist support to victims' families and survivors, while those compensated for the deaths of loved ones received as little as 8,000 pounds ($12,000) to repair their lives.
A survivor who lost two limbs, an eye and his spleen received 118,000 pounds ($183,000) in government compensation; the British government dishing out half what a private sector employer might expect to pay out if one of their employees received the same injuries.
Boost in national security
Meanwhile the victims families, and the wider public at large, enjoyed only a temporary boost in national security resourcing to prevent another 7/7 killing more British citizens; the coalition implemented a drastic cuts programme which has reduced policing capabilities to the point of irresponsibility.
Rather than hiring experts in Arabic and the Middle East to deal with the post 9/11 threat, Labour and coalition governments have cut International Development, Foreign Office, and intelligence resources in the region.
Instead of highly trained platoons of undercover professional investigators, we now have a counterproductive, absurdly invasive, irresponsibly outsourced, and barely legal mass digital surveillance system which has infringed on the civil liberties of millions, while making the country barely any safer - a scheme we only became truly aware of because of Edward Snowden. We are fighting a barely understood new terrorist threat using first generation robots, not first rate human intelligence.
Instead of highly trained platoons of undercover professional investigators, we now have a counterproductive, absurdly invasive ... mass digital surveillance system which has infringed the civil liberties of millions...
We were also told 7/7 was an attack on "our values", yet the imposition of mass surveillance measures failed to respect orthodox British legal frameworks, social decencies, and human rights.
For one upstanding and undeserving group of Britons - British Muslims - this abandonment of values has seen far worse. Islamophobia in British discourse has now "passed the dinner party test" we were recently told by former Cabinet Minister and former Conservative Party Chairwoman Baroness Warsi.
Last week PM David Cameron raised hackles when he accused "some Muslim communities", of "quietly condoning" ISIL. For a former PR man, Cameron showed ineptitude in failing to predict that the widely read Daily Mail, among others, would report his remarks as "UK Muslims Support Jihadis".
Signs of radicalisation
In fact, the only prominent UK-based pro-ISIL "Muslim" preacher, Anjem Choudary, is an outcast from the regular Muslim community, whose few hundred drifters, criminals, psychologically ill and vulnerable followers represent 0.0001 percent of British Muslims, and who struggles to attract a couple of dozen followers to his rallies in Muslim-dominated Whitechapel in east London.
The new government has also asked teachers to monitor their Muslim pupils for signs of radicalisation, meaning all Muslims will now be under formal state scrutiny from the age of seven.
Cameron doesn't much care for the views of their parents; while he took time to visit synagogues, churches and Hindu and Sikh temples during the Election - he didn't visit a single mosque.
Islam is a profoundly powerful political force in the Middle East - but if these countries were secular, there would most likely be a secular version of al-Qaeda bombing us all the same. Talk of religiosity and ideology is a convenient media smokescreen put about by politicians to avoid tough discussions about the very real political demands the 7/7 bombers made in their "martyrdom" videos.
|British PM David Cameron [AP]
Indeed, numerous entirely peaceful political groups, broadsheet and tabloid columnists, politicians and members of the public also have these demands - notably against the Israeli occupation, the semi-permanent deployment of Western troops to Arab lands, and the Western backing of whichever human rights abusing dictator will sell energy commodities at the best price for the next few years.
Ten years on from 7/7, we must first remember the victims, and what kind of world we should create in their memory.
The elected politicians of Britain must act in the best interests of the British public and in respectful memory of those who died in London 10 years ago - and deliver a perfectly just settlement for the people of the Middle East. Then and only then will the violent terrorism being, or about to be, perpetrated against the British people stop.
Alastair Sloan is a London-based journalist. He focuses on injustice and human rights in the UK, and international affairs including human rights, the arms trade, censorship, political unrest and dictatorships.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
Source: Al Jazeera