Two students in London share their feelings following an attack by militants who killed seven people in Britain’s capital. “It could have been me.”
Video shot from Lorenzo Raffaele’s London flat on June 3.
It could have been me.
– Lorenzo Raffaele
On the night of the London attacks at London Bridge, I had gone out with friends to watch the football match at my local pub. We headed back to my flat to have dinner.
I live on Borough High Street, less than half a mile away from London Bridge station and minutes away from Borough Market where the main incidents occurred.
Shortly after we had arrived back at my apartment, we heard sirens wailing and people shouting. We went out on my balcony to take a look, and all we could see were people running away from the station, with police vans and ambulances moving in the opposite direction. Policemen were shouting and telling everyone to run and move away. We were initially confused as we could not understand what was going on nor clearly see the station.
Then, after about a minute or so, we heard shots from down the road, where London Bridge station and Borough market are. We were all scared. Nothing was on the news, yet judging by the increasing number of police forces and emergency services running to the area, we assumed it was a major incident.
As we stood outside, police vans, ambulances and fire trucks kept arriving one after the other. We even saw a helicopter approaching. A security cordon was drawn up, with all cars and people diverted.
At this point I felt anxious, and when the first details started to come out on the news, we realized that the officers were dealing with an attack like the one seen in Westminster a few weeks ago. Standing on the balcony, we kept seeing vans and police cars arriving. I had never seen so many policemen in my life.
About an hour later, the area was in complete lock-down, and police forces were moving in groups of tens or so, searching the area for suspects. I saw them stopping a man who was released afterwards.
We stood on the balcony until 1 am. We were all shocked. My friends were, of course, afraid to go home and stayed at mine. Seeing people running away in panic with police shouting truly hit me.
Every day, I walk down the area that was hit. London Bridge is the station I use whenever I have to move around London. It was only by chance that this Saturday night I decided to watch the football match in the pub right below my flat and nowhere higher up the street. Had I decided to move, I would have been caught inside the area affected.
Action is needed
– Emma Bapt
Tiredness was palpable in London the day after Saturday evening’s attack at London Bridge. Tiredness on people’s faces in the tube and in the streets, and also my own tiredness of yet another horrific attack the world has had to face.
By chance, I was not in London at the time of the attacks since I had decided to go visit a friend in Guildford. Some would say pure luck. Arriving at London Waterloo station on my way back the day after the attack brought a heavy feeling of sadness, that in a matter of less than 24 hours during which I was gone, London had been the target of another terrorist attack. The usual frenzy at Waterloo station was missing.
The night of the attacks, I received most of my information from a friend who lives on Borough High Street, just minutes away from the site of the incidents. Yet attacks such as these always take several hours to hit me. This time, it occurred on Sunday morning when I read the number of deaths and those injured: seven dead and 48 injured.
I felt the now familiar sense of relief of knowing that I was safe. But people with families and friends died yesterday, and many more were injured. It could have been me.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said, “Enough is enough.” I agree, since without further action, terrorist attacks will not only continue to occur but also continue to spread fear. Unity, for certain, is important, but action to stop the recurrence of these events is primordial.
Lorenzo Raffaele is an Italian undergraduate student at King’s College London, studying Business and Management. He is interested in banking and finance, enjoys sports and composes music on the guitar in his free time. He is hoping to work in finance in the future.
Emma Bapt is an undergraduate student at King’s College London, studying History and War Studies. She has lived in London, Singapore, Hong Kong, Milan and Paris. She is interested in learning about the dynamics of conflict and looking at peace-building around the world. She was News-Decoder’s summer intern in 2016 and founded the News-Decoder club at college this past year.