Last night’s London attacks is the third terrorist attack in the UK in the course of two months. Last night’s mindless slaughter took place at London Bridge, the precise location I used to study and work for some fifteen wonderful years of my life. It brings bloody horror a little too close for comfort.
The challenges facing us are complex when confronted with people who are acting out their frustration and anger by committing these atrocities of extermination. These are men and women who reveal stories of displacement, inside and out – a sense of not belonging; killing off that which is experienced as intolerable is all that’s left providing meaning and purpose. However, eliminating otherness, values and ideals which disagree and threaten our own sense of identity and rightful place in the world, has never been the solution. It never will be.
London is a wonderful city – a liberal melting pot of differences. A glorious mix of populations and cultures, London always lives in my heart as the rose amongst cities. A rose has beautiful petals and a stem with thorns, and it’s essential in times like these we ensure we don’t just focus on the thorns, but remember to delight in the beauty of the petals too. Like everything that is alive and growing, the whole – roots ‘n all – has to be tended to with respect and tender care in order to thrive. Fair weather and muck both aid growth, but too much of either stifle it, as does too little. So it is for people too.
Trite as it may seem talking about love and using metaphors of flowers in a context like this, I dare to be trite. Intellectual analysis, facts and knowledge are essential but rarely sufficient in and of itself. Heart always matters, especially at a time like this.