My three day week became a two day week as Wednesday greeted me with a bout of sickness and a day allowing my body to recover. Thursday was Penny’s birthday and Jafer and Kenan have visited for the weekend and we will celebrate later tonight in Flavours of India along with Yazeed, our visitor from Saudi Arabia.
And birthday celebrations are part of the life cycle which we must honour if we are to make sense of events. Like many of you I have been silent about events in London on Wednesday. The news was like a punch in the gut. In the absence of information on the day a man killed five people and injured many more we have speculation. Channel 4 even provided us with a name of a suspect. Who turned out to be still in prison, as far as his solicitor knew. By the following day the identity of the killer was known and he turned out to be a British born convert to Islam from a black British family who had a normal childhood in a village not far from where I live in Hastings, it’s about halfway to Tenterden. I don’t have simple solutions to making the world a safer place. Because there aren’t any. Mr. Masood was not here because of freedom of movement within the European Union. Mr. Masood was in the UK because he was born here. Mr. Masood’s family in all likelihood migrated to Britain because they were part of the British Commonwealth. Which used to be called the British Empire. So Mr. Masood and I have something in common. We are both in the UK as a result of historical events before our lifetimes. But don’t worry, I am not going to kill people.
In the same week as this atrocity we had the news of Martin McGuiness’s death. When I travelled through Northern Ireland in 1985 I arrived in Belfast at 6:17 pm one weekday. The last train to Dublin left at 6:00 pm. It was the sight of tanks on the streets that compelled me to hitch hike to Dublin rather than spend a night in a Belfast youth hostel. With a combination of luck I made it to Dublin with a couple of men who picked me up outside Newry close to the border with the Irish Republic. Thankfully the tanks are off the streets of Northern Ireland today. But it didn’t happen without effort and compromise.
Whilst feelings are raw and emotions are high a lot can be said in haste and regretted at leisure. So I will limit my blog to one message.
Stay safe but don’t retreat into the darkness. Enjoy life.
Edit: since this blog was written it has been clarified that Mr. Masood was mixed race, with a white British mother and that he became radicalised in prison.