7/7 London bombings remembered by relatives

Last Thursday the families and friends of the 13 victims of the suicide bomb attack on the number 30 bus on July 7, 2005 came together in Tavistock Square to remember the day that changed their lives forever.

Yet for the first time John Falding, whose partner Anat Rosenberg died in the attack, was not present.

“Meeting the friends and families of the victims was initially a great source of strength. But commemorating the event in this way has become too upsetting,” he said.

Instead this year Mr Falding had his own private ceremony.

At 9.47am, the exact time that the bomb went off, he walked to the private garden square near his home where he and Anat once danced together and laid a single rose in front of the cherry tree he planted in her memory.

“I want to have a quiet day where I can reflect,” he said.

Driven by the hope that his partner’s death will not be in vain, Mr Falding – who still lives in the same Marylebone flat that he and Anat shared – is currently involved in the Global Survivors Network.

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The network describes itself as “a collaboration of victims of terror attacks around the globe” and is comprised of people working to prevent future acts of terror through public events, an online community and a documentary film.

Since getting involved with the group, Mr Falding has gone to Jordan to help publicise Killing in the Name, the Oscar nominated documentary produced by his associate and co-founder of Global Survivors Network, Carie Lemack, whose mother died in the 9/11 attacks. The documentary follows Ashraf Al-Khaled – a man who saw his father and his father-in-law, along with 26 other members of his and his wife’s family, murdered by a suicide bomber on his wedding day – as he talks to both perpetrators and the victims of terrorist attacks across the globe with the aim of uncovering the true cost of terrorism.

“We held three screenings of the film in Jordan.” Mr Falding said.

“We showed it to diplomats, to school girls... and every time we showed it we received amazing feedback from the audience at the end of the film.”

For Mr Falding, the process of exchanging stories with other victims of terrorism from across the globe in the Global Survivors Network has been a tremendous help, particularly because he says it can sometime be difficult to talk to friends and family about the attack.

Since the 7/7 bombings, he has also worked with the government on their Prevent campaign, which aims to combat the radicalisation of young Muslims by showing the sheer futility of terrorist attacks.

“I just want to do a little bit to make sure that no-one goes through what I’ve been through”, he says when talking of all the campaigning work.

Today, six years after that horrific mid-summer morning in central London when 52 innocent people lost their lives, Mr Falding, who turns 68 tomorrow, finally feels able to have something akin to a normal life.