Monday, March 13, 2006

Off to Westminster Abbey...

Years after this Government have gone, families and survivors will still be living with the after effects of one rainy morning in July 2005, when suicide-bombing, for years a daily fear, a daily reality for people living in the Middle East, came to London and shocked us all.

It is the passengers on those trains and that bus today, their families, and all those who helped on July 7th, that I will be thinking of today. Of how ordinary people did their best in almost-unimaginable circumstances.

Unlike the other speakers in Westminster Abbey, I have been asked to comment on a man-made tragedy, not a natural calamity, like an earthquake or a terrible disease. The bombings, unlike the these tragedies did not strike out of a blue sky. Evaluating why they happened is a vital part of trying to prevent such carnage - 56 dead, over 700 injured - happening again. Evaluating what we did after they happened is a way of trying to ensure, that if - and many say - when - it happens again, the response, the aftercare, is as good as it can possibly be. Since the bombers' targets are indiscriminate and are aimed at any one of us, it is important, I passionately believe, that we try to stay together and work for the good, to stand against the bombers' nihilistic cause and to show by our actions that we are not the selfish, aggressive, corrupt people they say that we are.

I will never forget July 7th, and nor will many other people. I have read the words of Mohammed Siddique Khan and I utterly reject them. However angry you are, for whatever reason, there is nothing in Islam that condones the slaughter of innocents.

There is much work to do, and the bombings are another wake-up call that we all share the same world and must live in it together. We are fortunate in the West, we are wealthy and our wealth insulates us from many injustices and much suffering. Yet as ideas are shared across the internet in seconds, as the media beams global events into our front rooms, it is time, I think, to ask if we are living up to the ideal of ourselves as a democratic, free, fair, benign, kindly society.

Having seen the reaction of ordinary people on July 7th, I have no doubt that people are essentially kind, and compassionate and wise and fair. I hope therefore that our elected leaders also embody these qualities, and that the stories shared today from people from all over the world will be a testimony to the power of the human spirit. I feel honoured to attend.

Today is for my fellow-passengers.


Blogger fjl said...

Good luck x be completely confident as you will touch everyone's hearts.

March 13, 2006 9:58 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Rachel, good luck from me too.

I wonder if you could slip something in about opposing any future war with Iran or any other so-called rogue state - if this war does happen (and the big guns are definitely gearing up for something) then not only will the people of Iran suffer but we will have the renewed threat of suicide bombings over here.

These are very scary times we are living in and the morons on the TV and in the newspapers are for the most part being good little compliant puppets of the powerful as usual.

Keep up the pressure Rachel.

All the best,

March 13, 2006 11:16 am  
Blogger Davide Simonetti said...

All the best. I'm sure you will do great.

March 13, 2006 11:27 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

I won't be deviating from the script: as I don't want to make cheap political points when this is such an important day for the participants and it would be aggressive and disrespectful. The bombings didn't 'come out of the blue', that much is very clear, and compared to the other speakers who are talking on HIV,cancer, polio and the Tsunami, the bombings were man-made and far from being a natural disaster. The part of the service I am involved in is called 'Working for Peace' and I think that will be on our thoughts, peace, both internationally, and behaving peacefully on a personal level.

Thanks for al the support everyone. I am at work until lunchtime then I shall with with mum and dad at the Cathedral.

March 13, 2006 11:41 am  
Blogger Fiona said...

Have a wonderful day today. I'll be thinking of you.

March 13, 2006 12:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think speaking out against any future wars would be a cheap political point, aggressive or disrespectful - pretty much the opposite of all those things.

All the best anyway.

March 13, 2006 3:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope it goes well, thinking of you.

March 13, 2006 5:00 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home