London bombings changed world forever

Gill Hicks marked a decade that had passed since the 7/7 bombing by walking with a pan-religious group.

Gill Hicks marked a decade that had passed since the 7/7 bombing by walking with a pan-religious group.

Today marks 10 years since four bombers detonated their explosives on London’s tube and busses, killing 52 people and injuring 700.

But their legacy lives on, tens of thousands of people have been estimated to have post-traumatic stress disorder.

Of course, the world has changed in many ways since the early 2000s when several terrorist attacks in New York City, Madrid, London, Bali and later Boston and Paris hardened the west against Islamist extremism.

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These bombings also changed the way people lived.

Australian woman Gill Hicks has carried on after the bombings left her without legs.

“My life and those around me changed forever on July 7 2005,” Hicks said.

Gill Hicks marked a decade that had passed since the 7/7 bombing by walking with a pan-religious group.

Gill Hicks marked a decade that had passed since the 7/7 bombing by walking with a pan-religious group.

“I believe in the power and brilliance of humanity – my life was saved by strangers, people who never gave up, people who risked their own lives to save mine.”

“To them, I was a precious human life – my rescue wasn’t dependent on my faith, my colour, my gender or wealth.”

She joined a group on Monday that will walk from London’s King’s Cross to Tavistock Square alongside the religious leaders in a “moment of quiet remembrance” to pay tribute to the 52 people who died.

The small procession was part of an initiative calling on people in London to “walk together” on the 7/7 anniversary on Tuesday by finishing their morning bus or Underground commute one stop early and walking the last few minutes.

It has been backed by London mayor Boris Johnson.

Think-tank British Future, which helped to organise the event, said the idea was inspired by the scenes on London’s streets 10 years ago when public transport closed down and thousands walked home.

Ms Gill will carry a floral tribute reading “Together” along with Imam Qari Asim, of Leeds’ largest mosque Makkah Masjid, the Rev Bertrand Olivier, vicar of All-Hallows-by-the-Tower in the City of London, and Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, from Movement for Reform Judaism.

“Walking Together allows us the time and space to talk, to share and to know the ‘other’.

“Our unity can offer the strength to not only deter anyone from following the path of violent extremism, but to also build a sustainable peace.”

Ms Gill isn’t the only one who has dealt with the aftershocks of the mass-bombings.

Walking for kilometres

Hundreds of people avoided taking the tube after being caught up in the bombings, the UK National Health Service’s institute of psychotrauma head Patricia d’Ardenne told BBC.

“We spent a lot of time escorting people who were very fearful of getting back on the Tube. They were walking five, six, seven miles a day to avoid it,” she said.

She guessed thousands of people were suffering PTSD. Police estimated 4000 people were involved in the bombings one way or another.

Attacks increased spying

A counter-terrorism team in the London Police went from 60 staff in 2005 to about 3000 now.

The London Underground CCTV system now covers more stations, and its images are more accessible from the central control room, the Independent reported.

“That’s a huge difference from where we were 10 years ago, because then there were only a very few stations that you could access from the control room. Now that’s much more widespread,” Mike Brown, managing director of the London Underground told the Independent.

They have also patched up blackspots in its radio and made their system compatible with emergency services workers.

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