Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • I could never have imagined

  • that a 19-year-old suicide bomber

  • would actually teach me a valuable lesson.

  • But he did.

  • He taught me to never presume anything

  • about anyone you don't know.

  • On a Thursday morning in July 2005,

  • the bomber and I, unknowingly,

  • boarded the same train carriage at the same time,

  • standing, apparently, just feet apart.

  • I didn't see him.

  • Actually, I didn't see anyone.

  • You know not to look at anyone on the Tube,

  • but I guess he saw me.

  • I guess he looked at all of us,

  • as his hand hovered over the detonation switch.

  • I've often wondered: What was he thinking?

  • Especially in those final seconds.

  • I know it wasn't personal.

  • He didn't set out to kill or maim me, Gill Hicks.

  • I mean -- he didn't know me.

  • No.

  • Instead, he gave me

  • an unwarranted and an unwanted label.

  • I had become the enemy.

  • To him, I was the "other,"

  • the "them," as opposed to "us."

  • The label "enemy" allowed him to dehumanize us.

  • It allowed him to push that button.

  • And he wasn't selective.

  • Twenty-six precious lives were taken in my carriage alone,

  • and I was almost one of them.

  • In the time it takes to draw a breath,

  • we were plunged into a darkness so immense

  • that it was almost tangible;

  • what I imagine wading through tar might be like.

  • We didn't know we were the enemy.

  • We were just a bunch of commuters who, minutes earlier,

  • had followed the Tube etiquette:

  • no direct eye contact,

  • no talking

  • and absolutely no conversation.

  • But in the lifting of the darkness,

  • we were reaching out.

  • We were helping each other.

  • We were calling out our names,

  • a little bit like a roll call,

  • waiting for responses.

  • "I'm Gill. I'm here.

  • I'm alive.

  • OK."

  • "I'm Gill.

  • Here.

  • Alive.

  • OK."

  • I didn't know Alison.

  • But I listened for her check-ins every few minutes.

  • I didn't know Richard.

  • But it mattered to me that he survived.

  • All I shared with them

  • was my first name.

  • They didn't know

  • that I was a head of a department at the Design Council.

  • And here is my beloved briefcase,

  • also rescued from that morning.

  • They didn't know that I published architecture and design journals,

  • that I was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts,

  • that I wore black --

  • still do --

  • that I smoked cigarillos.

  • I don't smoke cigarillos anymore.

  • I drank gin and I watched TED Talks,

  • of course, never dreaming that one day I would be standing,

  • balancing on prosthetic legs,

  • giving a talk.

  • I was a young Australian woman doing extraordinary things in London.

  • And I wasn't ready for that all to end.

  • I was so determined to survive

  • that I used my scarf to tie tourniquets around the tops of my legs,

  • and I just shut everything and everyone out,

  • to focus, to listen to myself,

  • to be guided by instinct alone.

  • I lowered my breathing rate.

  • I elevated my thighs.

  • I held myself upright

  • and I fought the urge to close my eyes.

  • I held on for almost an hour,

  • an hour to contemplate the whole of my life

  • up until this point.

  • Perhaps I should have done more.

  • Perhaps I could have lived more, seen more.

  • Maybe I should have gone running, dancing, taken up yoga.

  • But my priority and my focus was always my work.

  • I lived to work.

  • Who I was on my business card

  • mattered to me.

  • But it didn't matter down in that tunnel.

  • By the time I felt that first touch

  • from one of my rescuers,

  • I was unable to speak,

  • unable to say even a small word, like "Gill."

  • I surrendered my body to them.

  • I had done all I possibly could,

  • and now I was in their hands.

  • I understood

  • just who and what humanity really is,

  • when I first saw the ID tag

  • that was given to me when I was admitted to hospital.

  • And it read:

  • "One unknown estimated female."

  • One unknown estimated female.

  • Those four words were my gift.

  • What they told me very clearly

  • was that my life was saved,

  • purely because I was a human being.

  • Difference of any kind made no difference

  • to the extraordinary lengths that the rescuers were prepared to go

  • to save my life,

  • to save as many unknowns as they could,

  • and putting their own lives at risk.

  • To them, it didn't matter if I was rich or poor,

  • the color of my skin,

  • whether I was male or female,

  • my sexual orientation,

  • who I voted for,

  • whether I was educated,

  • if I had a faith or no faith at all.

  • Nothing mattered

  • other than I was a precious human life.

  • I see myself as a living fact.

  • I am proof

  • that unconditional love and respect can not only save,

  • but it can transform lives.

  • Here is a wonderful image of one of my rescuers, Andy, and I

  • taken just last year.

  • Ten years after the event,

  • and here we are, arm in arm.

  • Throughout all the chaos,

  • my hand was held tightly.

  • My face was stroked gently.

  • What did I feel?

  • I felt loved.

  • What's shielded me from hatred and wanting retribution,

  • what's given me the courage to say:

  • this ends with me

  • is love.

  • I was loved.

  • I believe the potential for widespread positive change

  • is absolutely enormous

  • because I know what we're capable of.

  • I know the brilliance of humanity.

  • So this leaves me with some pretty big things to ponder

  • and some questions for us all to consider:

  • Is what unites us not far greater than what can ever divide?

  • Does it have to take a tragedy or a disaster

  • for us to feel deeply connected as one species,

  • as human beings?

  • And when will we embrace the wisdom of our era

  • to rise above mere tolerance

  • and move to an acceptance

  • for all who are only a label until we know them?

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

I could never have imagined

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 AU TED gill mattered label enemy carriage

【TED】Gill Hicks: I survived a terrorist attack. Here's what I learned (I survived a terrorist attack. Here's what I learned | Gill Hicks)

  • 3831 259
    PAPAYA posted on 2016/09/04
Video vocabulary