Selasa, 30 Maret 2010

Moscow is grieving

Yesterday morning two bombs were set off on the metro at Lubyanka and Park Kultury stations killing 39 people and injuring over 70.

It happened early in the morning, way before me and my friends would have been taking the metro so we are all fine. Fortunately my friend texted me to tell me about it so I managed to text my family and put on facebook that I was ok before my friends and family saw the news. I can’t imagine the panic that went through my family and friends’ minds before they saw on facebook that I was ok. I was overwhelmed by the amount of texts I got from people checking I was ok, it’s lovely to know you’re all thinking about me.

Yesterday the embassy advised us not to get the metro so I was forced to stay in my house all day. This meant that the situation didn’t really hit me. I didn’t really think about what had happened because I think I’ve always seen Moscow as quite a dangerous city and I don’t think I was very surprised that this had happened.

But as I watched the news and saw images of the metro stations it really brought it home that this had happened in MY Moscow. Even though I sometimes find it hard living here Moscow is one of ‘my cities’ now. Huddersfield, Birmingham and Moscow – that’s where I live! I regularly go through Lubyanka and Park Kultury and seeing images of the explosions made me feel so protective of MY city!

As you all know I am way too politically ignorant to understand who did these attacks and why (one of my major downfalls that I really should address!). At the moment it appears officials are blaming the attacks on militants from the North Caucasus. Anabelle explained to me today that these attacks are significant because Russia felt like they were getting out of a time of terrorist attacks in Moscow (the last attack happened in 2004), but now people are having to question whether they are over or whether they are an ongoing threat.

Today I took the metro to meet Anabelle and I have to say, I was really scared. I’ve never felt unsafe on the metro before but today I really was worried. I noticed that others around me were also acting differently. No-one was listening to music or reading, everyone seemed a lot more alert. Announcements regularly came through speakers reminding everyone to stay alert and the words ‘Moscow is grieving’ were on screens on every station. My train had to go through Lubyanka and when we stopped on the platform everyone went silent. It was incredibly eerie, but felt like an apt sign of respect.

Anabelle and I went for lunch and a bit of a walk but were both quite tired so decided to go home after a couple of hours. We both had to pass through Lubyanka so we decided to get off to go and see the flowers that had been laid there (and I think we both silently wanted to go and somehow show our respects to what had happened there). We got onto the platform and even though it was full of people it was almost silent, apart from the sound of people sobbing. The platform is already filling with flowers and candles. I got quite emotional, especially as it really hit me that this had happened in MY Moscow, not in the scary/comedy Moscow that I describe in my blog but in the city that I live in.

The metro may have felt different today but I’m sure in time it will feel normal again. Moscow has not stopped and neither will the people who live here.

Today is a day of mourning, so let’s remember the 39 innocent people who will never return home and the 70 who were injured.

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