25 2 mins 9 yrs


East & Central London hospitals and Emergency areas across the Capital will be overwhelmed with a huge influx of some seven hundred-odd marathon runners, all brought in at ultra-high speed by Paramedics and ambulances. All the patients will be admitted with notes stating that the diagnosis is a probable heart attack; as each patient was seen to clasp his chest with his hand as they crossed over the finish line. Only one patient will actually be admitted to the hospital for treatment, as the rest were able, once they had recovered their collective breaths,. to confirm that they were just trying to comply with the proposal that each runner held his or her hands to their heart as a symbol of solidarity with the Boston marathon casualties.

Please do not misunderstand me. I, and probably millions of others around the world, are aghast at the random ferocity unleashed upon unsuspecting runners and crowds of supporters when the bombs exploded without warning in Boston. But we simply do not feel the need to express our regret collectively, publicly, or with any flourish at all. What does the proposed wearing of black ribbons achieve? Will the injured recover faster? Will the family of that small boy, itself ruptured by more horrific injury, be comforted by the fact that lots of people held their hands to their hearts as they crossed a marathon finish line? Will the fanatical Muslim jihadis, already settling down in their madrassas for an afternoon’s bomb-making class and koranic propagands session be given pause for thought because a large bunch of sweaty clowns running in a road race make a ‘gesture’?

I doubt it very, very much indeed!

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25 thoughts on “London marathon…a Prophesy

  1. You’re so provocative Cunningham!
    ” given pause for thought because a large bunch of sweaty clowns running in a road race make a ‘gesture’?”

    It is a gesture of respect for the value of human life, for all the time and preparation that goes into participating in an event which celebrates the sheer joy of the human body and raising money for good causes. To be at that level of emotional and physical tension and suddenly a bomb goes off has to be traumatic.
    So the (ahem!) cynical may say it’s pointless, but to those of us who admire those participants it’s an entirely appropriate thing to do.

  2. Thanks for this post, Mike. The best thing I can say about it is that no ink was wasted in its construction.

  3. If only one of the injured in Boston appreciates the gesture and feels some comfort and support thereby, it is worth it.

    One of the three who were killed in Boston was a young Chinese national and maybe any such gesture might be appreciated in her country too.

    Jihadists are not only in the West, Middle East and Africa but they’re also in the Far East. We just don’t hear very much about that in the West.

  4. //What does the proposed wearing of black ribbons achieve? Will the injured recover faster?//

    No more than signs of mourning at Margaret Thatcher’ funeral got her soul into heaven faster.

    A more interesting point is why this bombing caused such a stir, and for so long.

    Obviously a bomb exploding in a public space is newsworthy indeed, and the loss of the three lives a terrible tragedy. Every decent person will also be pleased at how well the Boston authorities handled this emergency.

    But why the enormous coverage in the world’s media – and of course on ATW. Just yesterday, the headline on the front page of a German newspaper read something like “Boston now slowly getting back to normal” It’s fairly safe to say most people in the world now know about this bomb attack, most will also know about at least one of the people who died and the guys who carried it out, and about the lockdown and those pressure cookers etc.

    By comparison, who knows anything about anyone who was killed in, say, the Madrid bombings. That should be easy because there were almost 200 of them, over 60 times the number of fatalities in Boston. At that time, and for countless other places and incidents (bombs like this were exploding in NI practically every week for years), the news was reported, people were duly shocked and life carried on.
    I’d even I’d wager the people of Turkey, Italy or Greece will be more aware of the bomb in Boston than bomb explosions in their own country (several in Turkey in the past year, one in Italy, one in Greece…)

  5. Forgot to mention another factor that is the drama surrounding the hunt for the killers and their capture.

    But is that all it is?

  6. Anybody going to any event should first ascertain that there is no ‘exercise’ going on – and take plenty of pictures because the images of the Boston bombings are getting rather contradictory. I’m asking for some assistance in resolving this photographic mystery as described over this and the following two posts

    Here is a gruesome image of Jeff Bauman who had both of his legs blown off in the second explosion, but who managed to give the FBI such a detailed description of the ‘bomber’ that the FBI was able to tell the public that all other photos “are nor credible”. Note the woman in the red jacket on the left and her position.

    View post on imgur.com

  7. Here is the same scene from a report in The Daily Mail so scroll down to the last photograph. You can use the woman in the red jacket as a datum. Jeff isn’t there now but his position has been taken by a black woman as you can see from the datum. Now note particularly the man second from left with the cowboy hat and especially the jersey that he’s wearing with the logo on the right arm.


  8. I think people see the Boston bombing and every incident thereafter as a continuation of the big bang—9/11. Also, the US has made a big show of ‘never again’. So when there is an ‘again’ or an ‘attempted again’ people are more rivited by the outcome. Add to the and to paraphrase poorly: ‘Opinions about the US are like arseholes; everyone has one. The US is a world power and it does things that please and piss people off everyday. It is practically omniprescent as far as countries go. As well, and to paraphrase poorly: Opinions on the war on terror…everyone has one. Some have benefited from US intervention; some have suffered. Also, the US has a huge media and internet presence. It also has interdependent relationships with every major country in the world and there is a ‘I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine’ agreement amongst them.
    There are many reasons for the hype and coverage. Personally, I stayed away from it until the hunt was on.

  9. Here is Jeff being wheeled away with great urgency by three people including a guy wearing a cowboy hat and a jersey with a logo on the right arm which matches that of the guy in the image from The Daily Mail as linked at 3.11pm.


    I recently asked how a shotgun could fit into the glove compartment of a Honda Civic but there were no answers. Can anybody solve the mystery of these images?

  10. //There are many reasons for the hype and coverage. //

    Thanks very much, Mairin – plenty of insightful and original ideas there.

    It’s like, as you say, when someone kicks the little lad and nobody notices, but when someone hits the big guy in the playground, all stop to watch.

    I think that, while everything you say is true, most makes it more likely for the US to be hit again. The more the US is at the front of the world stage, the more attractive it will be as a target.
    And these murderers are not afraid of being hit back; in fact there are few things that would please them more than a strong American reaction . They also want to show the world they are able and not afraid to take on the US.

  11. Well I suppose some of you might have been happier or otherwise more forgiving of the media if the 170+ injured had in fact been killed. This was the kind of event and situation when such might have been the outcome. Perhaps more interesting stories such as Ed Miliband allegedly inviting George Galloway to an hour’s meeting would have made more exciting headlines…but isn’t there a danger of just protesting too much? Last week we had lots of poo pooing of Thatcher, the funeral et al, now this tawdry shitraking. For what it’s worth, there’s an Israeli doctor apparently treating Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as well as various victims in the same hospital. Now there’s irony.

  12. Noel,
    “By comparison, who knows anything about anyone who was killed in, say, the Madrid bombings. That should be easy because there were almost 200 of them, over 60 times the number of fatalities in Boston.”

    It’s not callousness or less important, it’s about what we can identify with. The Yanks speak (a mangled form of) English, so we can understand (pretty much) what is being said.
    On the other hand, how many of us speak Spanish or Arabic or whatever.
    We empathise with what we understand. We feel for what is familiar, and whatever its faults (just like ours) the Yanks are a force for good in the world, warm hearted and generous.

  13. Mike,

    it is a gesture, and I think it is to be welcomed.

    Murder is murder, shouldn’t solidarity with innocent victims be encouraged to show the terrorists of many hues that we are against them?

    I could draw comparisions, but as Agi has provoked me into being one dimensional plus, I shall desist, but I am sure you know what I could say.

    Hope you and yours are well.

  14. LU,
    I am sure you will find enough provocation along the way, but thanks for making me feel like I’ve made a difference!

  15. Life is short…if we can all make a positive difference, then the world can be a better place.


  16. Allan, I’m not sure precisely what is the mystery about those three photographs, but I can help you. I believe you have got the timeline wrong – The second photo which you link to (the Daily Mail one) was quite clearly taken before the first one, not after it.

  17. Tom – in that case, the black woman moved away and the double-amputee took her place though I’m not sure how he would get there. Again, look at the datum – the woman in the red jacket.

  18. Allan, you’re making the mistake of using people as anchor-points. People move, and in that chaotic scene, they move chaotically.
    Look at the tangled, jagged dark section behind the black woman’s head in photo#2 – that’s poor Mr Bauman’s shredded trouser leg. He’s behind the woman. She then moves away. But that’s not how I know which photo was taken first. Start by using the ground as the anchor-point. First compare the paving stones and the position of the manhole/service hole, in order to be sure it’s the same scene. (It is. Also, the positions of pieces of debris, although some have changed slightly, confirms this). Then look at the blood on the ground, in relation to the manhole. There’s a lot of blood nearer to the manhole (link#1) which wasn’t there when the woman was there (link#2). Blood can be not there one moment and there the next, but not vice-versa.

  19. Returning to the topic of the post, Mike, you stated that you would happily have spent £20m rather than £10m on Mrs Thatcher’s funeral, yet you decry the simple gestures of solidarity which took place at the London marathon today?
    I do understand your point here, but gestures and outward displays of solidarity do have meaning and relevance, so long as the thought behind them is sincere. Hugging someone, going to a funeral, saying “I love you” (indeed, saying anything at all), the very concept of language itself – are not all of these things “gestures” in some respect? So, What is “real” and what is merely a “gesture”?

  20. Tom,

    You are trying to use logic and reason to argue with a conspiracy loon. You have no chance. Conspiracy loons are immune to such arguments.

  21. Perhaps, Fews, but this isn’t about point-scoring or proving myself right. We all make mistakes, and I might well be mistaken in my analysis. I THINK that the blood indicates the timeline of the photos in this instance (ie, photo#2 is the earlier one, the black woman then manages to move away, Mr Bauman moves a bit, and his bleeding accounts for the increased blood on the ground in photo#1).
    (By the way, I’m heartened to read that Mr Bauman has survived, although he obviously had to undergo amputations. I hope he manages to pull through).

  22. He’s not an actor, Allan.
    But you are…for some reason you are choosing to connect with silly stuff.

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