+ A

U.K. needs to act on terror

June 26,2017
On June 3, there was a terror attack on London Bridge and in nearby Borough Market in London. A car rammed through pedestrians, and attackers stabbed people with long knives, killing seven and injuring 48. Londoners had to run for their lives as three assailants were randomly attacking people.

It was a horrific scene and one person shown on the television news garnered special attention. Online users captured the scene and tweeted the photo of a man who fled from the terrorists holding a glass of beer. He was enjoying the weekend night at Borough Market, and he was making sure not to spill his drink. The post got more than 100,000 likes and was retweeted tens of thousands of times. One noted, “Why ISIS will never win. Attack just taken place but fella on right refuses to spill his pint. Nazis, IRA tried. Didn’t win.”

The extremist terrorists want to destroy the routine represented by beer. Recently, a van plowed through a crowd near a mosque in north London. A white woman worried if going to a park was safe, since there could be retaliatory attacks. Another Muslim woman said that her daughter could not go to work because she was afraid to be attacked. Londoners admit the rupture is what the extremists want. At Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester last month, a suicide bomb attack killed 22, but thousands gathered as she performed again in memory of the victims. Grande said, “We won’t let hate win.” Prayer vigils for terror victims are held around the country.

But the government didn’t properly help the people fighting terrorism. As ISIS is declining in Syria and the Middle East, large-scale attacks by trained terrorists have decreased. Instead, attacks on soft targets in Europe are increasing, plowing through pedestrians with vehicles. In March, a car rammed through pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge, where there is no partition between the road and pavement. There have been a number of attacks in the U.K. where cars ran into pedestrians. But bollards are hard to find. The British authorities are building fences on the bridges over the Thames after another terror attack resulted in casualties.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is under criticism for not meeting with victims when she visited the site of the fire at a 24-story apartment building. The apartment had been refinished with flammable insulation material, which caused the fire to spread quickly. It has been revealed that the Conservative government ignored calls to strengthen the fire safety regulations for years. As the Prime Minister is facing pressure to resign, courageous citizens do not tolerate the government that reigns over them. We are living in the era when our daily routines could be easily stirred unless the government swiftly moves.

JoongAng Ilbo, June 24, page 26

*The author is a London correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.

KIM SUNG-TAK