I woke up this morning to news of the London bombings on NPR, as, I imagine, did much of the west coast. I’m devastated by this news, not least because of how much I love that city, but primarily, at the moment, because of the number of people I care about who are through there all the time. GZombie is elsewhere in England right now, thankfully, and meg is back home, and R., who was there for six months last year, is of course currently in DC. My niece, on tour with a school group, was slated to arrive in London today, but her group is being kept outside the city instead. My friend C., who lives in London, I’ve emailed, but have for all the obvious reasons not yet heard from.
I got online and went looking for information about what’s happening there, and of course the New York Times and CNN are heavily reporting on the attacks, but their reports, as always, feel like they’re leaving something out. Perhaps the actual experiences of those present.
This image, though, found on flickr, conveys something through all its multiple mediations (image taken with someone’s mobile phone; broadcast over television; photographed on the tube; posted on the internet) that the press can’t capture. A member of a listserv I’m on posted a few minutes ago that
BBC has created an online environment where people who are “blocked” in the areas of explosions are sending hundreds of e-mails, pictures, but also mms, sms and calls to tell what’s going on – and ask what’s going on – I was told by a friend who works at BBC. I am reading on the Internet those stories from central London… http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/4659237.stm
I’m not sure what to say about this yet; it feels wrong to begin theorizing this soon. But there’s something important in these multiple, mobile modes of communication and broadcast, something that seems to me to relate to television and other broadcast modes of the mainstream media in much the same way that blogging does — a vast diffusion, a popularization, an emergence… And there’s a parallel I want to draw between this kind of guerrilla activity and that of terrorists — both attempting to wrest power from traditional structures — but with the obvious dichotomies of purpose and effect.
My thoughts go out to all those in London, and in the rest of the world as well. Here’s hoping that someday, somehow, the diffused, popular modes of communications we see coming into being might actually bear changes for our social structures — and for our safety — as well.