Sunday 28 June 2015

Songs of Praise in Mill Hill

This morning we had the BBC filming at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Mill Hill. They had come to film a mass of remembrance for Anthony Fatayi Williams, a young Londoner killed in the 7/7 attack on the London Underground. It is ten years since the terrible events. Marie Fatayi Williams, mother of Anthony, received international acclaim for her incredible speech of forgiveness for her sons murderers. At the time Mrs Fatayi Williams said "Hatred begets only hatred. It is time to stop this vicious cycle of killing. We must all stand together for our common humanity". Her inspirational comments, calling for forgiveness and spelling out the senselessness of such atrocities struck a chord with people across the globe. Mrs Fatayi Williams has subsequently been interviewed numerous times for radio and TV speaking out against hatred and violence.  She is a member of the Sacred Heart congregation and has often spoken warmly of the support the parish has given her. The BBC came to Mill Hill to film her at mass and to interview her, to help promoter her message that violence is not the way. 

Like Anthony, I was travelling to work on the Underground that day. I was lucky enough to miss the carnage. I arrived on a train from Mill Hill to Kings Cross, only to find that the tube was suspended. I had to get to Debenhams head office in Oxford Street, so I jumped on a bus. It got no more than 100 yards, when a very aggressive policeman kicked everyone off. It turned out that the bus in front had been blown up in Great Russell Street. As I walked down the Euston Road, I saw people walking up, dazed and covered in detritus from the blown up bus. At that time I didn't know what had happened. I only found out in Tottenham Court Road, when I stopped at a cafe for a cup of tea and saw the news. I've had a few close shaves with bombs over the years in London, most notably the Victoria Station bomb and one in the City. Like tens of thousands of Londoners, these things happen in places we see every single day we work. With the Victoria bomb, I walked across the Station forecourt ten minutes before the bomb went off. As these were pre mobile phone days, I only even started to hear about it at lunchtime. 

What I've come to realise will not make happy reading for terrorists. The truth is that there is no point committing atrocities in London. The citizens are too resilient. They get on with each other. I doubt that there are any Londoners of 100% English stock. We are a mixture of every race and creed under the sun. We work with and socialise with people of all creeds and colours. Only an idiot would think that a few bombs would change that. The likes of Tony Blair and David Cameron will not change their policies because of a few nutcases letting off bombs. They are generally unaffected by such atrocities, it is the ordinary people suchg as Anthony who suffer.

Such terrible events brings out the good in people. Mrs Fatayi Williams is testimony to this. The church was packed and Mrs Fatayi Williams laid on a buffet in the hall after. It was full with people from all around the world. We all get on. It was a lovely service. Fr Noel who said the mass, commented that it would be nice if the BBC could come every week as it had been a lovely mass. That got a laugh. The truth is that our community stands together and it is nice for that to get some national TV coverage.

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