To mark the 10 year anniversary of the London 7/7 terrorist attacks, HuffPost UK is running Beyond The Bombings, a special series of interviews, blogs, in-depth features and exclusive research reflecting on how Britain has changed since.
As I walked towards Russell Square tube station I felt as if I was in a film. Time had slowed down. It was as though I could watch myself as if I was a different person. Two people were wrapped in what looked like tin foil. A bemused man in London underground uniform told me with incredulity - 'They put a bomb on my train'. People were running towards me, their faces and clothes blackened. One man in a smart suit had blood running down his face. 'Are you alright?' I asked stupidly. 'I am okay,' he said. Then, pointing towards the tube station, 'They need you in there'.
I don't know how many times I had been to the ticket office at Russell Square tube - hundreds, I suppose. It was eerily familiar, but totally strange. The barriers were open. People sat against the walls, wrapped in the tin foil, some in blankets. No-one spoke. In the centre of the room were medics, some in white coats, some not. They were moving fast, shouting, calling for help, working in improvised teams. On the floor were the injured. One man, was wrapped in a blanket from the waist down, it was black with blood. I don't know if he had lost his legs. I knelt beside him. He looked me in the eye, and asked with courage and terror, 'Am I going to die?' A woman lay quietly, but trembling. I walked to the lifts - they were like a charnel house, the whole floor thick and sticky with blood.
It was a moment, and a morning of horror. I still don't understand it, still find it hard to go back there in my mind. It has changed me. There is still outrage, anger. Still a great sense of shock, of violation. But, to my surprise, a friend who was also there, spoke of seeing Jesus on the streets of Holborn that day. And there in the middle of the horror, He was. The courage of ordinary people. The dedication and tenacity of the medics, working to save life with none of the right equipment. The ambulance man about to go back down to the tunnels again, this time to get the bodies of those who had died. The policeman asking for prayer, shaking with the strain, but then 5 minutes later calm, directing the anxious crowd. The people who came in to open the church, to provide a place of safety and care, with food and blankets and hot sugared tea. The school teachers calmly reassuring the children.
Yes, a day of horror. But, yes, we saw Jesus walking the streets of Holborn that day.Suggest a correction