As the news broke, bit by horrifying bit, earlier this week, the hearts of the capital collectively sank – yet again, it seemed, an act of terror was wreaking devastation, this time right in the political heart of the city where the Houses of Parliament stand. As the rolling news gave us more and more information, sometimes getting it wrong, some facts finally emerged. Tourists and locals were being raced to hospital in ambulances while four were dead, including a valiant policeman who was fatally stabbed.
One of the worst things about the aftermath of such events is the way that division is sown. At Tantric Soul, we firmly believe that our great city is for everyone. We embrace Londoners of every faith (and those of none), race, creed, age, gender and sexuality, whether able-bodied or disabled. Every walk of life, provided no one’s being hurt, is a welcome asset to London. Indeed, it’s hard to think of any other city quite so wonderfully mixed, with the exception, perhaps, of New York.
Acts of violence and hate, regardless of whatever ideology does or doesn’t lie behind them, are just that. They are not cues to us to take against whole groups of people, as if the acts of one represent the feelings of many. There is no plausible reason to believe that the Westminster terrorist was acting on behalf of anyone but himself and other lunatic radicals – not a whole race or faith. He was certainly not representative of whole swathes of other Londoners.
If we alight upon one person’s actions and use them to discredit and slander entire groups, we effectively collaborate with the terrorist because it is this very kind of hate and division which he or she wishes to perpetuate. How much better it is just to continue our lives and redouble our efforts to love one another. This is the Tantric Soul position on events such as these. Our doors are always open to you, no matter where you come from – we believe bigotry, intolerance and racism belong in the gutter.
So, today, as we put the pieces back together and extend our thoughts to the injured, the dead, and their loved ones, we also reaffirm our commitment to love. It may be axiomatic, but it’s still worth reminding ourselves of the simple truth that hate does not extinguish hate and darkness does not alleviate darkness. The only thing that can dispel hatred is love and it is only with light that darkness can be brought to an end.
The events of this week have also demonstrated how important it is to reserve judgment until all the facts emerge. Some news reports misidentified the attacker and other mistakes were broadcast. We must still our passions until we know exactly what happened and – even then – we should refrain from blaming groups of people who had nothing to do with the attack.