Springingtiger's Blog

Very Black Friday

I think any Friday that a helicopter crashes into a crowded public house deserves to be called Black Friday. By that definition yesterday was a very black Friday.

Tragedy brings out the best and the worst in people and this was no different. People were expecting the helicopter to explode,  but they went into the building to help people out. Politicians like Ed Milliband tried to put a political spin on events,  but the bottom line is that Glaswegians do that. This is a city where the neighbours rally round. In Glasgow when the Sheriff’s officers turn up to poind the poll-tax defaulters, the neighbours turn out to make things difficult for them. When I describe Glasgow as a “People’s Republic” It is not entirely a joke; Glasgow is a city of the people, I don’t think I have ever known a city whose personality is so imprinted in its people.  We have Poles and Pakistanis, Irish and Italians,  Scots and English but within a generation all become discernibly Glaswegian.

While last night’s tragedy brought out the best in some people,  it also revealed the worst in others like the man in Ayrshire whose tweet expressed a hope that the pub was full of Celtic supporters, blacks and police.  Ironically while he was expressing his hatred and doing nothing useful,  the Central Mosque opened its doors and facilities to the people of Glasgow and the rescue workers. We have a lot of Muslim Glaswegians and, when the chips were down, they didn’t judge the victims for their use of alcohol, they just threw open their doors to them. I am sad that the BBC focused on the contribution of the Holiday Inn while ignoring the mosque, an omission rectified by Channel Four News.

I am proud to live in Glasgow. I am proud of the Glaswegians who have made this city my home.  It has been remarked upon that there are surprisingly few photos of the crash from people’s phones on the Internet,  the people left their  phones in their pockets to leave their hands free to help. Some have criticised those who have made jokes,  but as someone said on Twitter,  “the jokes will fly again”. Some jokes are cruel and inappropriate,  but humour is,  and has always been, the Glaswegian response to adversity and the blacker the events the blacker the humour.  It occurs to me, and I am sorry if this offends anyone,  that cities disasters often reflect the city;  in New York terrorists flew planes into a financial centre,  in Glasgow the Polis dropped a helicopter on a pub. Tragedy brings out the best in people,  it did in New York and it has in Glasgow also,  after the tears and the prayers and the funerals, the jokes will fly again. Hitler’s luftwaffe couldn’t dent the spirit of Glasgow, one helicopter won’t do it either. Glasgow won’t forget Black Friday but along with the sadness they will help cause to look back with pride.


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