Today felt abnormal.
Saturday night bore witness to a horrific terrorist attack at London Bridge, a location I walked through all the time. Until today, I had always considered it a scenic route. A peaceful route.
It was first introduced to me in April 2016 by my good friend and neighbour, Laura. To this day, I remain grateful for learning about this route, as it not only saves me time and lungfuls of pollution, but it has also been a daily reminder of how great London is… A great display of London’s architecture as well as a slice of street life you wouldn’t normally see on a sightseeing bus.
Perhaps that’s why the terrorists chose it. Or perhaps it was just one of a number of highly populated areas for them to target. I don’t know.
But I do know I won’t stop using it.
There was a vigil today near the site of the attack, where the public gathered to show respect and solidarity. On social media, I saw hashtags along the lines of #LoveAlwaysWins and #LondonStandsTogether. These were declarations of defiance in the face of terror. Hashtags like these make me proud to be a Londoner.
But I have to confess… my contribution to them felt like hollow words. Today, the city felt defeated. The bridge that was usually teeming with rush hour bustle was eerily empty.
Maybe that’s okay. Maybe we’re still reeling from the whole thing. But I know we will rise again. We have to. Because if we turn on each other as hateful media magantes would have us do… if we start preaching hatred towards those we accuse of being hateful… it’s going to make things worse.
You can’t ‘out-hate’ hateful people, not without becoming just like them.
I said it after Manchester and I’ll say it again. Love is the best thing we do. And only love is going to walk us through this. Right now across London, people are loving each other. Families are eating dinner. Couples are kissing. Children are playing. Humanity is happening.
Hatred won’t succeed. It’ll make us bleed. It’ll make us suffer. It’ll make us turn against each other. But in the end, it will lose. Because hate isn’t the best thing humanity does. Love is.
The sun will rise over London again.