Brighton MP Caroline Lucas spoke words of comfort at a rally to remember those injured by the Manchester terror attack. In the face of carnage, she described her shock, desperate sadness, anger and heartache and paid tribute to all who had helped those wounded and dying.
Hummingbird, a community of refugee campaigners, organised a rally at St Bartholomew’s House last Wednesday 24 May to remember the 144 people who were killed or injured in Monday’s terrorist attack.
Mrs Lucas said: “Tonight we too are defiant and we are strong.
“In honour of all those who have lost their lives at the hand of terrorists, we will not give in to fear. We will live our lives. We will meet our friends for the evening at Brighton Festival, walk on the beach, check in on our neighbours and play with our children.
“And perhaps most importantly of all, we will not point fingers of blame nor will we retreat behind our differences.
“Thank you to Hummingbird for bringing us together this evening.
“We may struggle to find the words for how we feel right now but we have found one another.
“And thank you all for being the very best of humankind with your love, your light and with your hope.”
Immam Usman from Brighton’s Al Madina Mosque in Bedford Place quoted Persian Poet Saadi saying that human beings come from the same source and are one family who share each other’s pain. In response to the targeted attack, he quoted a blood donor from Manchester who said:
“They want to turn us against our neighbours and it’ll never happen. Not here.”
Like many, Mr Usman said: “I hope and believe that people here in Brighton and Hove would react in the same way, knowing as Jo Cox famously said, that we have more in common than that which divides us.
“We need to stand together and fight the things that might divide us: poverty, isolation, scapegoating.”
Mr Usman encouraged people to follow in the footsteps of Mancunian Poet Tony Walsh and “choose love.”
Labour Councillor Emma Daniels who is lead member for communities and equalities at Brighton & Hove Council said: “Our resolve must be to show defiant love in the face of hate. To refuse to stop loving, to stop dancing, to stop laughing.
“To love defiantly means also to be watchful and help people who may be targeted in the wake of this attack too. People who are Muslim are no more responsible for this attack than I am for the murder of Jo Cox.
“You cannot make sense of a senseless act of murder but we can fight back with love and remember Jo Cox’s words which murder could not silence: ‘We have more in common than that which divides us.’
“I am inspired by the simple yet beautifully radical act of our staff this morning in playing ‘the Stone Roses’ in our library.
“Turn your music up people and love defiantly.”
Elaine Ortiz from Hummingbird and Alex Davidson from the Trade Union Council also spoke.
Monday’s attack took place on the anniversary of the death of soldier Lee Rigby who was hacked to death on a London street four years ago.
After the rally, Brighton and Hove’s Christian community held two reflective vigils at St Luke’s Church on Old Shoreham Road and Hove Methodist Church on Portland Road.