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Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Reflection from a survivor of the 7 July London bombing
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 POSTSCRIPT Moses Soyode The earth shook and all the buildings shuddered, as the shock wave of the blast wove its horrifying pattern of devastation and destruction. The bomb on the Number 30 bus had just gone off, and things would never be the same again. However, unlike the sentiments expressed in the words of the African writer Chinua Achebe, things did not fall apart. The centre, however shaken, still held firm. It is an intriguing phrase: "Time heals everything." This is because nearly one year on, even though I am now permanently blind in my left eye, spiritually I feel I have been liberated. Before 7/7 I drifted through life with this fog of guilt always dominating my somewhat limited horizon, always feeling guilty for being 'lucky'. But since the tragedy I now feel free from guilt. I am free from the lingering doubt I always experienced prior to the bombing, that I was somehow partly responsible, (as a citizen of the west), for the chaotic, conflict-ridden and war-ravaged state of the world. But now I can see better and further, and in 3-D, even though I only now have one eye. I now know that we are all victims, rich and poor alike, of the closed mind of the fanatic. Before 7/7, hard as I tried, I could not conceptualise the agony Jesus must have experienced, on his lonely journey to Golgotha. However, after the shrapnel slammed into my left eye and the excruciating pain started to envelope my whole body, a weird thought occurred to me: "Imagine! His suffering and agony must have been a million times worst than this!" Jesus knew this was coming, yet he did not back out, nor did he insist on taking Peter with him! I suppose this is the Big Difference between Islam and Christianity. On the one hand you have a belief system that stresses the importance of jihad, and the killing of unbelievers and kaffirs, as a key path to paradise. On the other we have a value system that welcomes and draws the unbeliever to its bosom, because someone has already died for him or her. No need for jihad because God sent his son Jesus to die for all unbelievers. Hasib Mir Hussain took my left eye, my good eye, with him to a very dark place. I hope he uses the eye as his torch, because the gloom in the pit where he is ensconced is eternal. Every Sunday I ask Our Lady Mary, the great help of Christians, to pray for me. I will now start asking her to one day give me the strength to be able to pray for Hasib Mir Hussain, for the courage to forgive. Moses Soyode, born in 1961, is the author of Messenger Boy, published in 1998. It is a strange coincidence that the main protagonist in the fictional book also set off on a new journey of self-discovery after a shattering experience in the shadow of a red bus.
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