Friday, February 29, 2008
I was 13 years old when first experienced a feeling of exile. The summer of 2001 was an especially violent period in the conflict between the United Kingdom and the IRA. In August of that year, after several other smaller, but nevertheless deadly, IRA attacks in London, a bomb was detonated in West London at Ealing Station, which wounded hundreds and destroyed an entire city block. My family and I were in London at the time of these attacks. With no knowledge of or interest in this conflict, we found ourselves wrapped up in a violent political dispute in a foreign country. Though we were in no immediate danger, the experience was, nevertheless, frightening. We began to adopt the same attitudes toward the terrorist attacks as the Londoners. We began to regard these attacks as a way of life in London. As I experienced these events alongside the English, I felt very far from home. The feeling is difficult to express in words. I felt exiled from America. I felt a separation from my homeland. I felt a strong bond with the citizens of London because of our shared experience. Though several years have passed, I still feel a connection with the City of London.