Saturday, March 25, 2006

Ding Ding ,... Round Two!

Remember this? Guess what... he didn't reply! (sorry to put a downer on an otherwise good day.)

This is what I sent to him, I don't think I was asking too much. Keep in mind this was 2 weeks ago and before Charles Clarke responded to Rachel Norths Dad, and most of these points were raised 2 days ago at the London Assembly testimony hearing, and hopefully will be corrected as a result of that.

Dear Shaun Woodward.

I am Steven Lovegrove, and live in your constituency. Last summer I was caught up in the July 7th London Bombings on the Piccadilly Underground Line, I was three metres from the bomber and suffered head injuries and mild concussion. I and many other survivors are suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and feel a lack of closure with how the follow-up has been conducted. I feel strongly that there should be a public inquiry. While this is a national issue, as you are my MP I feel I should contact you. I am not trying to point the finger at anyone, I just feel we owe it to those who died in vain to at least try and learn how we can react better in a similar situation, or prevent another similar crime.

For example: communications on the day between police, ambulance crews and London Underground were poor, paramedic crews and ambulances mostly went to Kings Cross, however, the worst injured were taken in the other direction underground to Russell Square and had to wait for proper medical attention.

I also feel that the issue of young British men turning to such extreme acts needs more attention. It is a real worry to me that these young men, the same age as me, felt driven to do this. Surely it makes sense to have an open review of how we can better prevent these incidents while we still face a considerable terrorist threat. I feel it deserves greater scrutiny, after such a needless and massive loss of life we must attempt to learn from it.

Only good can come from a public inquiry. So my question is: Why do we as yet have no inquiry?

Or, could you, on my and many other survivors and bereaved families behalf make the case for one. Surely our opinions should be acted upon as we witnessed and have to live with the horrors of that day forever. I would greatly appreciate your response.

Yours Sincerely,

Steve Lovegrove

Today I got a reply from 'write to them'

The majority of MPs
respond promptly and diligently to the needs and views of their
constituents. They deserve credit and respect for their

Likewise, we're keen to expose the minority of MPs who don't seem to
give a damn.
It seems Shaun Woodward is in the minority of MPs 'who don't seem to give a damn'. I will ask him why he doesn't. (when I have time).

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Forgiveness and release.

‘I cannot forgive the murder of innocent civilians’.

These were my words only a few days ago, I still stand by this, however I have found it within myself to mostly forgive. It was obvious I wasn’t settled as my mind was a frenzy of thoughts, predicaments and difficult questions. Then I came to a conclusion and the frenzy halted. This seems to be the way I deal with anything July 7th related, I will feel normal for weeks and then have 2 or 3 very intense days of emotion or reflection.

My answer to the question of; ‘Do I forgive the bombers of July 7th?’, is a complex one, but I feel a logical one. I feel we can’t forgive everything, if we forgive everything unconditionally then forgiveness becomes disposable. As I’ve said before, I find it impossible to believe anyone could forgive genocide or a serial child killer. So some acts are beyond the line of what we forgive. For me the murder of innocent civilians at random is beyond that line and therefore unforgivable. I can’t forgive the needless murder of 52 people. However, it is not that simple.

It comes down to who the bombers were and why they acted where I draw my conclusion. The three youngest bombers: Hasib Hussain: 18, Germaine Lindsay: 19, and Shehzad Tanweer: 22, surely did not know the true result of their actions. They were too young and naive and were brainwashed. Their desperation and (I feel justified) anger was preyed upon by the fourth bomber, Siddique Khan. At 30 years old, Khan must have known the enormity of the mass murder they were about to commit, and was willing to manipulate others into committing a crime I am sure they would now regret. They would have naturally looked to Khan for leadership, he exploited this.

I initially said they ‘forfeited their chance to show sorrow’. As it is impossible for them to show sorrow I have to give them the benefit of the doubt and believe that they would be sorry and regret what they have done. When I look at their pictures I don’t see monsters, I see men I could quite easily find myself having a beer with, they are not evil people, they did however take part in an evil act. If I was to meet Germaine Lindsay tomorrow I believe he would say he misses his wife and child, could understand how it feels to lose a loved one and wishes he could turn back the clock.

So, I do forgive the person who injured me, tried to kill me and stole six months of my life. I also forgive him for killing 26 people as he didn’t truly know what he was doing. As far as I’m concerned, I have forgiven the person who created the July 7th I personally experienced, I feel a big release for this. I also forgive Hussain for killing 13 and Tanweer for killing 7. I stumble when I reach Siddique Khan.

I can’t forgive Siddique Khan for the murder of 6 innocent people, one of whom happens to be the daughter of Rev. Julie Nicholson. I also can’t forgive him for planning, and manipulating others into committing the murder of 46 further people. I am not singling Khan out as a hate figure, I still don’t hate him or feel anything negative towards him for that matter. As for the other people, the planners, the financers, the explosives trainers and the preachers who are too cowardly to fulfil their wishes themselves, I don’t forgive them either. But as I don’t know who these people are I have nobody to not forgive. So I am therefore at peace.

I feel I have forgiven as far as I should, and I feel better for it.

NB: for more on the forgiving the 7/7 bombers see Holly Finch, Yorkshire Lass and Rachel North.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The unforgivable act?

Should Goebbels and other perpetrators of the Holocaust be forgiven?

Should Japanese war criminals, who tortured my Dads friend during construction of the Burma railway, be forgiven?

Should Ian Brady, a man who finds pleasure from denying his final victims mother a body to greave over, be forgiven?

Should I forgive the bombers of July 7th 2005?

I believe the answer to all of these is no. All these criminals were adults, they surely knew the difference between right and wrong. If they thought murder and torture was right, then they are evil and deserve no forgiveness. In the case of the bombers, their attack was premeditated, they had months, if not years to contemplate their actions. If they were here to see the result of their actions I believe they may show repentance, however, in committing suicide they forfeited their chance to show sorrow. I can sympathise with being a young man growing up in this scary, daunting and harsh world, at one point I was striving to forgive. However it wouldn’t benefit me and would be a lie. I do not hate them, but I am content to not forgive them.

Many Christians believe murder to be ‘the unforgivable act‘. I agree.

I cannot forgive their actions.

Update(14th March 2.00pm) : On reading this back I have changed my mind on some points, I don't believe they were evil and I am definately moving towards forgiveness, but I don't think I can forgive in entirity. Please follow my comments and future posts, I will leave this post up as it is a reflection of my feelings at a specific time, but feelings I am moving away from.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Dear Shaun...

This infuriated me, Charles Clarke is elected to represent his constituents but refuses to answer a simple and justified question, and at the same time insults the questioner. I have just written to my MP Shaun Woodward outlining my concerns for a public enquiry into the July 7th bombings. I encourage anyone else who feels strongly about this to do the same. You can do it here. I will let you know WHEN I get a reply as I wont give up till I get one.

Return to the murder scene.

On Thursday I finally went back to London to meet my fellow passengers, as soon as I got off the train I noticed I was getting risk-assessed all the way through Euston station. I could forgive them: rucksack, padded army jacket, young, male, nervous, sweating, getting off a train from the north and heading for the underground. That probably makes me about 85% potential suicide bomber, however I wasn’t going underground. Once outside I realised I was now nervous around parked trucks and vans, I would think: ‘why is there a bakers van parked outside a bank?’ and half expect the boom of a bomb.

After checking in I headed for Kings Cross tube, I was actually excited about going back. Excited? You do remember what happened there don’t you?! Anyway, I got to the Piccadilly westbound platform and while it didn’t really phase me, the whole place seems a lot dingier, more claustrophobic, hotter and deeper than I remember. I thought I would be worried about which carriage I got on, I wasn‘t (as long as it wasn‘t the first), I was more worried about who was on that carriage, I would keep walking till I found some straight laced business types and stick with them. A train came, I was on, before I knew it we were at Russell Square, and I carried on to Leicester Square. It felt like nothing had ever happened there, I expected to panic and be upset, but no. I had spent two weeks psyching myself up to do it, there was no more fear left and I had waited 8 months, maybe it was just the right time to do it. Also, statistically the chances of me being in the wrong place at the wrong time twice and the chance of it happening again in the same spot are tiny, I feel almost invincible. Other survivors and I, are the least likely people in Britain to be in the same thing again, if we are then we know how to react. Like I said... invincible.

So, I found myself walking from Westminster (where I saw a woman getting arrested for making a silent protest with a banner, that’s democracy for you!) along the north bank. Upon stumbling on Cleopatra’s needle I found it’s story actually quite relevant, If you already know it sorry but I will remind you. While being transported by sea from Egypt in a custom built iron tube (ironic huh?), it hit rough seas, a crew was sent from the towboat to the needle to get the crew but they sank and died. The tether was cut and the needle was lost in the Bay Of Biscay, they thought it was lost forever only to find it five days later floating and unharmed. It eventually got to London and was erected on the bank. Then the plinths were damaged by the first ever German bombing raid by aeroplanes, the scars remain un-repaired on the plinth and sphinx. So, its journey was interrupted and resulted in fatalities, however it finally completed its journey and stands tall and proud, the bomb scars only add to its long history, hope you see the relevance. Enough of the history lesson.

I then made a return journey on the tube from St Paul’s to Kings Cross, but someone got on next to me with a rucksack, I just waited for it to explode, I could almost feel it going off and ripping me in two, but I still didn’t panic, I was getting off at the next stop anyway. I’ve realised I don’t’ have a specific problem with any section of the tube, just generally a bit nervous and aware of any dangers. Obviously to be expected.

That evening I met my fellow survivors for the first time, (or shoud that be second?) I would hope that a cross section of any train on any morning would throw up such a nice bunch of people. It was so refreshing to talk about IT without having to set the scene, I found it very helpful to talk about what happened and how we are all dealing with it in a slightly different way. One difference I noticed was how we refer to it, I refer to it as just ‘London’, for example: ‘I’m in counselling for London’. To me ‘London’ and ‘bomb’ are one and the same thing, I hope I don’t always associate it like that as I really do love the place. I would also like to add we didn’t sit there talking about bombs all night, very soon it was just a bunch of people chatting about anything. I left feeling very patriotic and proud of us all. I guess it’s similar to blitz spirit in WWII. They nearly murder us, so… we go for a beer and have a laugh! I’d say they've failed miserably!

Monday, March 06, 2006


Watch out Branson! As of today I am officially the owner of my own business, I have yet to name it, and am currently a ‘sole trader’, but I am toying with the name ‘splinter‘. Unfortunately several companies already have it, so I may need a variation of it, something to look into. My official line of work is ‘Industrial Product Design‘, which means I can work in any field of design, right through from concept to engineering for mass manufacture. This route wasn’t intentional, it was a way of working part time and flexibly while motivation wasn’t that easy to come across, but is now turning into a longer term venture. At present I am largely working freelance for others but have a few concepts which I believe are commercially viable and will follow up. Strangely, I am now more determined than ever, and after a real letdown last year feel I could now possibly make it on my own! To the future…

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Three metres.

A few months ago it felt like my mind was turning on itself and I was having some sort of breakdown, I couldn’t comprehend what had happened, then my subconscious mind stepped in and began to drip feed it to myself. In early January I struggled with realising the entire event was actually true. I exposed myself to all the images I found disturbing, constantly reading accounts of rescuers and survivors. This sent me into shock. I made myself memorise a few victims names as I was disgusted with myself that the only fatality I knew by name was Germaine Lindsay.

The same happened a few days later, this time the realisation I was in it. A week or so ago it hit me that people really did die, even though I saw a body it didn’t sink in. It’s very hard to get my head round the fact that 26 people were killed on my train, just feet away, 26, I keep saying it but it doesn’t really mean much, it’s just a number. I found myself finding ways of visualising it. For example: six and a half times my immediate family. 52 died in total, that’s half the number of people in my road. Half a road, the equivalent of 13 families, gone forever.

And now my mind is easing me into realising how close I was to the blast, I’m guessing somewhere around 3 metres by mentally pacing up and down the platform. In fact we got to a crowded platform, and realised there was no point moving up or down, it was packed all the way up. I guess Lindsay thought the same, but for some unknown reason took 4 or 5 steps to right, we’ll never know why. Any of us could have been killed, the only reason those 26 were killed was because of a busy platform. That makes me feel nauseous.

So I have now realised that I wasn’t going mad, my mind was and still is allowing me to come to terms with it bit by bit and never allowing myself to go into too much shock, just enough to come to terms with one specific aspect at a time.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Last night I found something very odd. In the bottom of one of my drawers I found a newspaper from September 12th 2001, the headline was “APOCALYPSE”, obviously it had had an image of the burning twin towers on the front page. I remember that exact day, it was a Tuesday and the first day of my Art Foundation course at my local college. My tutor announced; “From this day on you are a designer/painter/sculptor, this is the first day of your career.” Then it happened. I kept the paper as it must be the biggest single news story of my lifetime. I remember having a conversation with my Dad about what possible targets there would be in the UK. We decided it would be the tube, our exact words were: “sitting duck.” This all feels very weird, predicting it and then surviving it first hand. If you read my account of July 7th you will know I was in London to get a job. It was the last few days of my undergraduate degree, the morning of the first day our exhibition was open to the public and the day to meet industry and get a job. My undergraduate education has been sandwiched by terrorism, I don’t know what to make of it. There is nothing to make of it, it’s just one of those odd coincidences. Thought I would share it.