Monday, July 11, 2005

No hatred or bitterness

I struggled on Thursday to get my mangled thoughts onto this screen, to express what I was feeling, which was sadness tempered with fear. But not fear of what might happen to me, to my family, or to any other innocent people - you can't live your live being afraid of what might happen. I would go to London tomorrow and get on that tube.

What I fear most now is that people will use the bombs in London as an excuse to perpetuate the hatred, to lash out at those who don't deserve it, and to feed the furnace of anger in those who do. There is no uglier human trait than the desire for vengeance, and particulary the desire to fulfill that vengeance with bloodshed. Leave those black thoughts to the terrorists.

Uncle Steve's blog contains a list of quotes about the bombings. Most are compelling anecdotes from Londoners showing the world that life goes on, with the aid of copious amounts of tea. It's brilliant to see people reacting with this gentle, exasperated humour rather than resorting to hateful tirades and overzealous flag flying.

The quote that stands out most though, is more poignant. It was originally by Edith Cavell, a nurse who was executed by the Nazis in the second world war. Before she died, knowing her fate, she said,

"Patriotism is not enough: I must have no hatred or bitterness for anyone."

Put the kettle on, then.

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