London.. the charming city that never ages

The British philosopher and critic Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) said: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”.

History may not always repeat itself, but it undoubtedly does repeat itself in London, as the city revolves around itself within a 40 kilometers perimeter. The river continues to flow as it did before, slow paced and indifferent towards the bridges that divided the city... Cafes are still offering 5 o’clock tea and people still arriving on time; the most famous clock in the world that is also nearby is always accurate, with no delays.

Tourists come and others go, but London remains the same; As Ghazi al-Gosaibi who passed away 15 years ago – may he rest in peace – said on the pages of this newspaper: “London does not know anyone: it neither loves or hates anyone; it does not rush to meet anyone nor is afraid to abandon anyone.” His piece at that day was entitled as the Gulf comic play: Bye Bye London.

British authority

I agree with Ghazi – as I always do – and I remember what the Iron lady Thatcher had said 30 years ago about the European unity, and this is what Teresa May also confirmed earlier this year: “We have not successfully maintained the limits of the state authority in Britain, so that we see a new authority being imposed on us from Europe, through a state being controlled from Brussels!

So, this is how they tell the British people about the decrease of their influence. They do not pay attention to colonies that have faded, but they smile wisely like those who brought the world’s treasures to their homes through an elegant retirement; they point to the mayor of London: In a country ruled by the church, the city’s mayor is Muslim, those who win the medals and make record numbers are Muslims, the world’s strongest league is still ours, but 2 teams might go into a match with no British players on the field.

History may not always repeat itself, but it undoubtedly does repeat itself in London, as the city revolves around itself within a 40 kilometers perimeter. The river continues to flow as it did before, slow paced and indifferent towards the bridges that divided the city

Turki Aldakhil

You may have heard the question asked to French coach Arsene Wenger about the absence of British players from Arsenal’s squad. His answer was that “Arsenal is a French island in a British city.” The river continues to flow, many travel and many others arrive; every newcomer has his own island, of which he may not go out, believing he is now a Londoner. Politicians have always met here, also money exchangers, tea vendors and clock sellers.

Every buyer will find what he is searching for and he will think that he coincidentally went shopping on sales day, forgetting that this is London, which Ghazi said after 30 years that it won’t rush towards anyone and won’t stand up to welcome to anyone.

The city of law

The old democratic country was home for free writers. Many intellectuals have resorted to it in the days of the church’s dominance, and this is where Jean-Luc wrote his great book: “A Letter of Tolerance” in Latin; it was printed in the Netherlands and translated into English in the same year (1689).

It was translated from Latin by Dr. Abdul Rahman Badawi, with an extensive introduction summarizing Jean Luc’s call for tolerance, saying: “No one has the power to impose on another person what he must believe in or what to do for the salvation of his soul because this is a personal matter that does not have to do with someone else.”

London has set the foundations of the philosophy of law, the first political literature and the social contract systems; its laws were known as “the laws of the world.” The world arranges its rhythm according to the steps of London as it is the city of law, the source of regulations and the provider of social and political contracts.

Terrorism forgets that the old clock has always been accurate, unaware of the seriousness of the British people that is derived from the stability of the river. Terrorists blow themselves up, trying to interrupt the dialogue of the parliamentarians… London washes away the dust, newcomers continue to arrive and the river continues to flow... like all Gulf people, I reiterate what Ghazi has said smiling: Bye Bye London... and I add: Goodbye to the beautiful city... that does not age!

This article is also available in Arabic

Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Last Update: Tuesday, 16 May 2017 KSA 11:00 - GMT 08:00
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.