I Went To Londonistan And All I Got Was This Lousy Shrapnel Wound

By sizemore Last edited 153 months ago
I Went To Londonistan And All I Got Was This Lousy Shrapnel Wound

Yesterday's Media Guardian (annoyingly requires registration or bugmenot) reports on how the media in the US has dubbed our fair city a threat to America because of our silly notion that we shouldn't become a police state. Here are some of the quotes that we hope to see in the next DK guide to London:

feeding ground for hate... crossroads for would-be terrorists... thrived as a busy crossroads for terror... Bombers travel freely, police cannot... easily the most jihadist hub in western Europe... an indoctrination and recruiting centre... one of the greatest terrorist threats to the United States...

Ho hum.

Here is the best bit:

So entrenched is the British capital as an outpost of the Muslim diaspora, that London is now commonly referred to as "Londonistan" - a word used several times in different papers

Londonistan? I wonder if they'll bother re-editing their papers to read Leedsistan seeing as it seems none of the men responsible for the attacks had anything at all to do with London.

Yep - America is threatened because this country (one of the few to stand by the US on the ridiculous War on Terror) is so fucking lax when it comes to bringing down the jackboot on the throat of it's people.

Feel free to give us advice in the comments on how we can change things here in order to make America a safer place to live - because that's a concept that the whole world can get behind.

Last Updated 13 July 2005


I don't know why this stuff even surprises me anymore.

BTW, I like it that the Anti-Sex League woman in your illustration has such a low cut top ;)


As someone who is almost one of them, let me tell you without any hesitation that Americans are crazy.


Didn't the US once give Osama and his Bin Laden bad boys a whole ton of money, guns and training once? Why do they keep forgetting that bit? Doesn't that make the United States Govt one of the greatest terrorist threats to the United States..?


It's true, London's a very dangerous place, as any member of the US Air Force based in the surrounding areas will tell you.

You've got admit it through, the US are good when it comes to looking after their own.


Yes the American TV & print press here can be a bunch of loonies.

And frankly I gave up watching and listening to them a long time ago.

They only understand their tiny little box of a world - the assumption that the US is the center of the universe is ridiculous - I have many a time contemplated moving away from the US and going somewhere else. I am still thinking about it.

Some days I feel like my wife and I are the only ones who care to find out what is really going on in the world by reading the news and sites from all over the world. We are raising our children to learn about their world with an open mind.

My favorite sign here in the US is "Somewhere in Texas a village is missing an idiot."

Thanks for your site - keeps me sane. I raise my pint of beer towards you.


Thanks Peter - the whole team is going out for a pint or two this evening. We'll raise a glass on your behalf. Cheers.


I'm an American working in London this summer. What are you talking about when it comes to America "bringing down the jackboot on the throat of it's people"? (By the way, it should be "its," not "it's.") There has been hardly any actual restriction on civil liberties in the U.S.--despite overwraught hype about the Patriot Act (the concerns about Guantanamo and other detention camps *are* serious, though). I know you're trying to be colorful with the "jackboot on the throat" language, but it just comes off as silly.

Moreover, there *is* significant reason for concern about the growth of jihadism in Britain. The terrorist attacks of last week are evidence enough, of course. But read the Home Office and Foreign Office dossier ("Young Muslims and Extremism") about how "Britain might now be harbouring thousands of Al-Qaeda sympathisers." (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/a... These concerns are not the creations of the American media (flawed as that media may be). Just yesterday the BBC showed footage of a moderate Muslim leader here in Britain being attacked by extremists.

Sure, many Americans are insular and not well-versed in what happens outside their borders. Is it really that surprising, though, given the geography and all? In my experience, Europeans can unfairly stereotype Americans just as much as Americans can unfairly stereotype Europeans. There are plenty of misperceptions to go around.

Not that it matters, but I can't stand President Bush. It's just that I can't stand gratuitous America-bashing, either.

P.S. To Mark, yes, everyone knows that the U.S. supported the mujahedeen when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in the 80s. It was a huge blunder to not stay involved there after the Soviets pulled out. But who could have predicted that the muj would turn into terrorists? At the time, was it really such a bad idea to help arm those who would resist communist imperialist aggression? Policymakers face difficult choices, and hindsight is 20/20.

Yusuf Smith

[Didn't the US once give Osama and his Bin Laden bad boys a whole ton of money, guns and training once? Why do they keep forgetting that bit?]

They now claim that they supplied money to the "local" mujahideen factions. Not sure if these includes those with Pakistani connections. The Arab mujahideen didn't need American funding. At that time, OBL was not persona non grata in Saudi, but was wealthy (being the son of a Saudi construction magnate) and admired for his contributions to the Afghan jihad efforts.

paul berger

I have to agree with Tom and Yusuf here. I'm a Brit living in New York. And your use of the phrase "a threat to America because of our silly notion that we shouldn't become a police state." is taking even the Guardian story out of context.

Badically, what US terrorism experts are saying is that London (and the UK) is a hub for Islamic terrorism AND that the US visa waiver program, which allows people from friendly countries like the UK in without checking them out first, poses a threat to US security. And they could be right.

Those guys from Leeds could have flown into the US last week without ever having to submit paperwork to the US embassy, on the assumption that as British citizens they posed no threat.


Tom - I think you'll find it was gratuitous America-media-bashing. I have too many American friends to start bashing your whole country.

I never said that the USA was doing anything in regards to jackboots and throats, just that your media was scared that we weren't. It was a colourful turn of phrase though wasn't it? Welcome to the blogosphere :)

To anyone else who thinks we are America bashing go and check out our sister sites - the majority of which are American and staffed by wonderful people. We will however carry on mocking any stupid concerns coming out of the States just as we do when they are home grown.

It looks like we are going to have PLENTY to get our teeth into right here at home now that the stupid plans regarding ID Cards, EMail snooping and whatever other crap they found in Blunkett's old desk are being dusted off.


Those guys from Leeds could have flown into the US last week without ever having to submit paperwork to the US embassy, on the assumption that as British citizens they posed no threat

And there's something wrong with that?

Are you suggesting that ALL British passport holders are now going to have to jump through more hoops just so the USA has less to worry about?


Ok, as another American, I have to say that I've not seen any coverage of London anything like this. And as a New Yorker, I can report that everything I read here about the attacks (including on Gothamist) has been very much sympathetic. I think we all generally share the general preception that this kind of attack is, in some ways, totally unpreventable. In NY, we live with an underlying sense of unease about terrorism, but we'll be damned if we see the freedoms that make this city (and yours) great compromised in the name of false perceptions of safety. I say ignore the fox news type coverage... please remember that 49% of our 280 odd million people think they're a bunch of idiots.


we'll be damned if we see the freedoms that make this city (and yours) great compromised in the name of false perceptions of safety

Thanks Melissa. We have a friend from Brooklyn staying with us right now and that was exactly her feeling too.


Alas, the "cablers" (I'm assuming they are mostly responsible for this alarmist response Britain's refusal to usher forth Patriot Act V. Euro) have 24 hours to fill up their quest for ad-revenue happiness. Many of us in the U.S. have learned to ignore their 24-hour crap.


Sorry if I misinterpreted your point, Mike. As far as the "jackboots" line, I thought it implied that's what the U.S. was doing it to its people and thus expected other countries to do the same. Of course, the U.S. *does* expect other Arab countries to do that to suspected terrorists (i.e., awful extradition policies). But given the fact that some societies actually *are* horrific police states, such "colorful" hyperbole is not useful, in my view (not to mention it's a tired cliche). Not trying to be a fuddy duddy here--but it's like how the Amnesty's over-the-top use of "gulag" to describe Gitmo provided an easy response for those who want to defend or ignore what's going on there.

And in part I was responding to some of the actual America-bashing comments from your readers above.

I suppose my basic point is that your post seemed to mock concern about jihadism in Britain. I just don't think it's a ho-hum affair. And I don't think not wanting to be blown up is a "stupid concern." I love snarky bloggers as much as the next guy, but what exactly is the "stupid concern" you mean to mock in your post? That British terrorists could attack the U.S.?


Tom, Yusef, fair points about my comment. What hindsight has also taught us, and something governments on all sides seem to consistently ignore is that interventionist foreign policies require more than just an ideological committment to bashing the bad guys and need a deeper grass roots understanding of cultural issues, especially when they're deeply rooted in committed religious beliefs, such as you have in the Middle East but far less in the West. That's one of the many reasons why Iraq became such a mess so quickly. Faults go all ways, hell, us Brits have a fairly ignoble colonial history of doing the same. Just because we think we're the good guys doesn't mean others don't. I think we tend to forget that sometimes.


That British terrorists could attack the U.S. is a stupid concern because of the inclusion of the word 'British'. Sure they could, but so could Welsh terrorists or French terrorists or Isle of Man terrorists or even American terrorists. The emphasis should be on their chosen occupation and not their place of birth.

If America wants to make itself less of a target for any terrorists it needs to quit shoring up its defences (which can always be circumnavigated) and do exactly what this country SHOULD be doing and analyse the motivation behind the attacks.

Push 'hating our freedom/way of life' WAY down the list and examine the foreign policy that is HELPING people to turn the heads of teenagers all over the world against the USA and UK.

Stop people travelling by all means, but lets start at the root and maybe stop our troops going abroad to star in the next pro-jihad video.

I'm going to duck out of the comments on this one now until tomorrow (there's a pub out there with my name on it) but anyone can pick this up with me via email (mikesizemore@gmail.com) if they want a more prolonged discssion as comment boxes are more than a little limiting.

paul berger

Mike, I'm not sure if you will check back in here, but just in case you do. I wasn't suggesting that all visitors from the UK should jump through more hoops so that Americans have less to worry about. My point was that you seemed to be implying that the story reported in the Guardian was wrong: that because the terrorists were from Leeds somehow London had been vindicated.

It's a fact of life that the UK, and London in particular, has been a base for many radical Moslems who believe that OBL is a hero and that they are engaged in a holy war to re/establish Muslim theocracies throughout the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia.

If you ignore all the BS spouted by rags like the Sun, Daily Mail etc, you are still left with a number of uncomfortable facts which need facing.

By talking about the concept of Londonistan (used in UK and European newspapers as well as US ones) American newspapers are just pointing out to their readers that the visa waiver program is a chink in their armour; that although some of their closest friends live in the UK, so do some of their most vehement enemies.

PS I hope this doesn't appear like flaming. I'm just in a bit of a hurry this morning! Best. Paul.


I can't see any flaming from over here so let's carry on...

I'm not sure what London needs to be vindicated from. The city was the victim here, no? Leeds and its people are no more to blame than London and Londoners. This was down to a few people and those that led them to the point where they believed that carrying a rucksack filled with explosives was a good idea.

There is a platform for free speech here and it may well have been used to spout hatred for the West, for the USA and for London, but I firmly believe that rather than clamping down on stopping people from speaking we should be building a stronger case against their argument.

It's very difficult to do that when our governments are playing right into the hands of those who wish us harm by giving them their motivation.

And by taking away the rights of its people (by tapping email, forcing ID cards on us etc) then the governments in question are 1. helping the terrorists disrupt our freedom and 2. benefiting from terrorism by pushing through any hair brained scheme they believe will give them more power.

paul berger


I'm not advocating taking away anyone's civil liberties or clamping down on freedom of speech.

I'm simply saying that Leeds--London--the UK in general is a significant centre for people who support Islamic terrorism. It is home to thousands of peaceful Moslem people who deplore what happened last week. But, unlike the US, it is also home to a number of people who spout inciteful anti-Western rhetoric every week.

Do you agree?

If so, do you agree that these people pose a threat to Europe and the United States?

I'm not advocating what should be done about them. But I do think it's important people recognize that they exist. That's where terms like Londonistan, where we began this discussion, originate.


A sad and dangerous thing is,
the world at large does not realize Islam is not
linked to terrorism. Its some terrorists that link terrorism to Islam.

There's a huge difference.


Book stores brace for record Harry Potter rush !!!


Paul - I'm sure that these people do exist but I'm still not sure that their rhetoric would be half as powerful or influential without our respective government's help.

I guess I'm saying that OUR forign policy is a bigger threat than these people. The really sad thing is that no matter how many innocent people die in London or Madrid or Bali or New York those numbers are still tiny when compared to those that continue to die in Iraq.

Afshan - I'd love to be able to say that was the public concensus but the very first tube train I rode after the attacks had this woman on complaining about the 'bloody Arabs'. I despair.

Fizel - thanks for the heads up. I'm sure we'll get around to mentioning Mr Potter at some point tomorrow.


Of course, most of the innocent Muslims being blown up in Iraq these days are being killed by radical jihadists, not U.S. or British troops. And those jihadists also didn't care when Saddam murdered thousands of Muslims. (check out, e.g., Kanan Makiya's Cruelty and Silence: War, Tyranny,
Uprising, and the Arab World).

And, yes, of course there will be ignorant and racist comments by white Westerners, just as there are ignorant and racist comments by Arabs. It's how people are. I want Afshan to be right, I really do. But if lots of people who claim to be Muslims say that Islam tells them to kill infidels and scream "praise Allah" while they saw off a civilian's head, well, it's not surprising if people think Islam has something to do with it.

I think the best way to get Afshan's message out would be for those Muslim communities to be far more proactive in denouncing Al Qaeda and rooting out and undermining the jihadist ideology of hate. It's not enough to just say that Islam says it's wrong to kill civilians. I empathize with the majority of Muslims who abhor such a perversion of their religion, but the Muslim community needs to do more. The community needs to denounce the terrorist killers and reject sympathy for them (pity for pathetic misguided killers is ok, maybe, just as long as they're considered to be brainwashed idiots who smear their own community). That doesn't mean they need to pretend to accept of US or British policies they disagree with--but rather try to develop nonviolent ways to change policy. Look at the big heroes--Gandhi, MLK Jr., etc.--Islam needs someone like that.

Also, if you buy into "blowback" theory, I don't see how "our" foreign policy is a bigger threat than jihadism. If it weren't for Al Qaeda, we never would have gone into Iraq. Our foreign policy in this area is a response to them. They're the "root cause."

I think it's almost racist to say, well, what do you expect "them" to do in response to bad policies? I don't expect anybody to resort to murder. If a Muslim killed my mom, that's not an excuse for me to go out and kill an innocent Muslim. No decent person would make that excuse for me, no decent person would say, "It was wrong to do, but...." No person should make that "It was wrong, but..." excuse for suicide bombers, either.

Friedman's column in the NY Times today on root causes is also pretty good.

Anand Kumar

Official Website of Shri Srinivasa Ragavaswamy charitable Trust in South India working towards constructing a temple for Sri Srinivasa Perumal (balaji) with Raja Gopuram which is named as Kovai Thiruppathy.


I haven't been up to much today. I've just been letting everything happen without me. Basically nothing seems worth bothering with. I've just been hanging out doing nothing. I just don't have anything to say right now. More or less nothing happening.