A response to the terror in Westminster

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23 March 2017

A statement on behalf of Liberal Judaism

We are all shocked and saddened by the events that took place in Westminster yesterday, Wednesday afternoon, and extend our deepest sympathy to the families of all those who died. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and the more than forty people who sustained injuries – some critical.

Trauma affects us all. Whether we live or work in Westminster or further afield, any callous attack on innocent human lives is shattering. Many of us will have crossed Westminster Bridge from St Thomas’s Hospital, and looking towards the Houses of Parliament found the words of the poet Wordsworth coming involuntarily to our lips:

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty…

Yesterday the city felt, not the calm and stillness of Wordsworth’s sonnet ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge’, but the fear and insecurity that such attacks attempt to instil in us.

And when those first moments of acute anxiety and disorientation have passed, then comes a sense of wanting to reach out, to reassure, to assist and help, to praise and express gratitude for all those who work in the emergency services: the police and paramedics, the doctors and nurses, the security guards and the ordinary men and women, passers-by whose instinct is to support and comfort those in distress.

Today reminds us that human nature can be altruistic, compassionate, kind and gentle. Today reminds us that we are not ‘singular monads’, detached from each other in a strange world, but part of a network of human beings who need each other to reaffirm the life-affirming values that lie at the heart of our humanity.

 

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