Four years ago today four suicide bombers took the lives of 52 people in London. They may have believed that it was some sort of blow a blow for justice against the evils, real or perceived, committed by Britain against fellow Muslims but it was murder, simply murder. The bombers made no attempt to strike against the machinery of state. They chose instead to destroy the lives of ordinary Londoners.
While I was never that keen on Ken Livingstone I think his words after the sickening event struck a chord with many people:
“I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.
That isn’t an ideology, it isn’t even a perverted faith - it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved.”
It was a vile and sickening act. Almost as bad in my view were those that saw the attack as some form of justice.
Today Prince Charles dedicated a memorial in Hyde Park to the 52 people killed exactly four years ago, victims of the 7/7 bus and underground bombs.
"The families of the victims, the survivors and the stout hearted emergency services remain very much in our thoughts and prayers.” He said "You are a moving example of holding together bravery in the face of such inhuman and deplorable outrage and you offer us hope for the future,"
The memorial, which consists of 52 steel pillars, each 3.5m tall (11.5 feet) and is located between park's Lover's Walk and Park Lane
Tessa, Jowell, Minister for London, said that each column represented "a unique person and a unique grief. Each one casts a shadow just as they do - each one standing tall and proud just as they did, and each one will in an individual way absorb and reflect light just as they did."
Architects Carmody Groarke said that stainless steel pillars symbolised the random nature of the loss of life - how it could have been anyone travelling in London that day. Director Kevin Carmody said the firm worked closely with the families through monthly liaison meetings to ensure the finished product was what they required."It took a long time to get to the strong ideas like symbolising the single and collective loss of life," he said.
26 of the stelae were grouped to represent those killed on the Underground near King's Cross.Other clusters represented Tube bombing victims at Aldgate and Edgware Road, with the remainder symbolic of those who died on the number 30 bus in Tavistock Square.
"Hopefully people will have an almost magnetic propulsion towards it," said Mr Carmody. He said it could be viewed from afar as a single entity but that as they moved closer, people would discover the significance of the four groupings and individual columns. Though the stelae are anonymous, they are inscribed with the date, time and location of the bombings they represent.
A representative of the bereaved families' group said: "The memorial is a fitting tribute, honouring the 52 lives lost on 7 July 2005, ensuring that the world will never forget them. It represents the enormity of our loss, both on a personal and public level. We hope this memorial will speak to visitors so they can understand the impact of these horrific events."
Saba Mozakka, 28, from Finchley, north London, was one of six family members to sit on a liaison board during the memorial's design. Her mother, Behnaz Mozakka, 47, a biomedical officer, was killed on a Piccadilly line train near King's Cross station while commuting to work.
Ms Mozakka described the memorial as "truly incredible". "I'm very happy. It's very poignant," she said. "It's an amazing tribute to my mum and the 51 others who were so viciously and brutally taken from us."
Grahame Russell, whose 28-year-old son Philip died in the Tavistock Square bus bombing, said the ceremony had been "extremely moving, extremely poignant. The speakers were outstanding. You could see by their faces and the way they spoke that they understood the way we feel."
In addition the prime minister, London Mayor Boris Johnson, Conservative leader David Cameron, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and senior figures from the emergency services were present.
I will have to pay a visit to the memorial shortly. 7 July 2005 was an awful day. I arrived in the City around the time of the bombing and spent several hours hemmed in unable to get out again. On that day I never felt more useless or superfluous in my life.