Sitting outside last night, singing “All you need is love” in the company of Muslims, Jews, Christians and others, was a slightly surreal experience. The Big Iftar in Southwark, held in conjunction with The Great Get Together, was drawing to a close, and as people admired the illuminated Shard, and revelled in the evening breeze after a long hot day, it was an idyllic moment.
How much more jarring then, this morning, to wake up to the shocking news of yet another terrorist ramming attack! People, enjoying a coffee during the night time hours of Ramadan, deliberately targeted by a person who hated them, unseen, for their religion.
Worse still, he seems to have driven into a group of people who were helping someone who felt unwell, aiming at those gathered round him on the street.
It’s very hard to reconcile the two scenes – how can it be that our city can hold such extremes of love and hatred?
Yet, each time there is an attack, more and more people turn out to help, more and more people, irrespective of religion or ethnicity, condemn it and pledge to stand firm and united against hatred and division.
Hundreds of thousands of people took part in a Great Get Together event over the weekend. The tragic loss of Jo Cox has had a huge positive impact on the country.
The haters and terrorists are few in number – whilst the pain they cause to their victims and their families must not be underestimated, on a countrywide scale, it is hugely outweighed by the love, shared values and determination of the British people.
Love might not be quite all you need, but with enough of it, we can change the world.