Friday, January 13, 2006

Coming to terms with a suicide bomber

"I just miss her so much" - six words that speak a thousand.

The man who spoke them was this man on the left, John Falding. His girlfriend, Anat Rosenberg, was killed when one of the 7th July suicide bombers blew himself up on the number 30 bus in London. John was speaking to her on the phone when the bomb went off. Since then, he says, time has just collapsed.

I interviewed John during a trip to London to make a report for the 6-month anniversary of the bombings.

His face would light up when he talked about fond memories that he had of Anat - of her love for life, her loyalty or about the fact that she was always late for everything because she was trying to cram so much into her day. But then an incredible sadness would wash over his face when he returned to the reality that Anat will never be late for anything again.

I wanted to know how John was coming to terms with her death. I mean, how do you come to terms with the fact that your loved one walks out of the door one morning, and never returns - because someone has decided to blow himself up and others along with him, misguidedly, in the name of religion, Islam or otherwise?

Would you be angry? Would you want revenge? Not once did John get angry or use the word ‘hate’ when talking about his feelings towards the person who killed Anat. The man I interviewed was determined not to take the same path of hate and violence that the suicide bombers trod. After all, he says, it was hate that killed Anat.

John has thought a lot about what made the no.30 bus bomber, Hasib Hussain, do what he did but has come no closer to understanding. He says it's like trying to comprehend the extent of the universe, to try and understand a mind like that.

But he says he has learnt one thing: time does not heal. You just learn to come to terms with the pain and the sense of emptiness and loss.

You can listen to more of the interview I made with John by clicking here

There’s been a lot of soul searching in the UK since the 7th July, as to what made apparently integrated, happy, western-thinking men become suicide bombers - and how it can be prevented from happening again.

And as you’ll hear in the second part of John’s interview, there’s also concern that anti-terror measures proposed by the UK government, could have the opposite of their desired affect.


At 2:14 PM, Anonymous David Campbell said...

I first met Anat a few years back. She introduced me to some remarkable films at the cinema. Anat was an exceptionally warm person - and extremelly intellegent. She was also very witty. She was quite striking to look at with beautiful thick dark hair and a porcelain complexion. I take flowers to the park once a month and still chat to her....once you had met Anat you couldn't ever forget her.
I met John at a rememberance gathering for Anat - and I remember thinking how lost he looked.
Anat will never be forgotton, and I for one am trying to hold on to her strentgh. She was a strong, opinionated woman who knew what she wanted and knew how to get it -I am holding onto that....when I get stuck I often think "what would Anat do"? It helps me a lot...
Anat - you will always be with us, we miss you.

At 7:34 AM, Blogger Borscht said...


I finally had a chance to listen to this, as I'd been saying for a couple of weeks. Forgive me for the wait.

First up, I have to postively commend Mr. Falding for being able to comment upon this with such a degree of shining composure, it speaks a great deal to the man's character.

Anat's vivaciousness -- I can only imagine -- made her a one-of-a-kind type of individual which MUST be immortalized in the here and now with some kind of a memoir -- I was so glad to hear that Mr. Falding is penning something as I write this. That would be a book I'd be honoured to read.


I enjoy your collection of works as well, SJ, more generally. For as long as I've been listening to EQ, they've been rather educational. I encourage you to perhaps post more frequently to the blog, as it would pepper up some of the exchanges we presently have going on?

Thanks for taking the time to add the extra links -- when I'd heard the original stream with just the snippets of Mr. Falding's commentary, I'd instantly wanted to hear some more. Nice to know the 'more' was here.


At 11:32 AM, Blogger Sarah Johnson said...

Dear David,

Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts on Anat. It seems that Anat made a deep impression on the people she met. My talk with John has certainly lingered long in my memory too.



I’m glad you got the chance to listen to the interview with John Falding – like you, I was deeply impressed by his composure.

And rest assured I am posting as and when I get the chance (admittedly less than I’d like at the moment) but more will follow soon, so watch this space…

At 7:13 PM, Blogger Borscht said...

Hi Sarah! -- will indeed be on the lookout. Thank you for taking time to get back to us.

You know what I'd like to hear something about...this.

Now that would make for an interesting EQ segment.



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