Eleven months ago, before I knew I would be moving to Glastonbury – and in the wake of terrorist atrocities – I came to Ynys Witrin for the day and joined a group of people at the edges of the Abbey car park. Morgana West had co-ordinated the Unity and Diversity event. Jon Cousins, then Mayor, gave a speech. The Unity Candle was lit. People listened as rain fell.
A Vigil is planned for this coming week; sadly, this is to remember the victims – and their families – of yet more acts of needless violence.
I share, once again, the piece I wrote and read out last July, with no apologies for repetition. It needed saying then; it needs saying now.
Light, Unity, Togetherness
We all start the same way: Whisked into being by the division of cells. We grow in the same vaulted maternal environment – and, although our entry into the world may vary (some plucked from surgical rents; others pushed down that most ancient of female tunnels), we all, eventually, exit through Death’s portal.
Cells are, in this way, far wiser than the people so many of us become. They do not care what colour our skin is destined to be; what beliefs we will, eventually, adopt in our lives; what we look like or how far back we can trace our families. Their job is simply to perpetuate the race through intelligent division; division which, ultimately, creates that special unity that, in turn, leads to another being.
WE create the artificial divisions. We, initiated from that burst of creative light, have a choice of paths. From the earliest ages, we can be gently taught the lesson of togetherness; can be encouraged by the elders in our tribes to view our common heritage as blessed and bountiful; can have our eyes opened to the human race, rather than its disparate and warring factions.
Each vast tragedy is an opportunity: A chance for the world to come to its senses; to recognise the power of beacons which, strung together on hillsides near and far, connect us and remind us of our shared humanity, our shared blood, our identical beginnings and endings.
Every time we wrench hands apart with Us and Them’s intrinsic violence, we are tearing the Collective Skin, causing a wound which is slow to heal; every time we choose the grenades of hatred and vengeance, we open those rips a bit more; every time we refuse to forgive, tar all of a nation with the brush of the fanatical or deranged few, fan the flames of fury, we add our own saltpetre to the incendiary device of lethal rage.
We all start the same way – and the tears we should be shedding, for the tragic waste of too many lives, and which all too often become caught up in the bitterness of self-justification and blaming others, would, if allowed to fall freely, unite us in sorrow’s springs (which, like our start and finish, are the same) and start the process of healing and true unity.