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On shit knife and shit bomb attacks

Posted by Simon Parke, 05 June 2017, 4.20pm

Shit bombs attacks, shit knife attacks and shit pavement attacks in vans.

Understandably, they sharpen and harden the rhetoric of division.

Politicians, especially in election season, contort themselves to be more outraged than the other.

‘How outraged are you?’

‘Well, I’m very outraged.’

‘Only very? I’m extraordinarily outraged.’

‘Oh, so am I, so am I.’

‘And we must clamp down on these people!’

‘Only clamp down on them?! We must to do more than clamp down on them!’

‘I mean I’d intern them without trial.’

‘Well, I’d crucify them and be done with it.’

That’s the trouble with truly shit behaviour, as recently on display in Manchester and London.

It asks us to make hard what is in fact porous; and it asks us to make separate what is in fact whole.

The universe does not change in the face of atrocity.

from God to the goat;

from war to dinner party;

from Trump to Tutu

from Muslim to Christian

from hard left to hard right

from tea time to torture

from despair to awe

It is all one connected fabric.

There are not two tapestries comprised of different thread, one for you and one for them; but one thread holds us all and links us all.

And here is the problem with the label; for it separates everything and divides everything when everything is connected.

As John Donne put it:

‘No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.’

Labels are island words, separating that which is a part of the main.

I understand they will always have an immediate short-hand value.

‘I live in Doncaster.’


‘Well, I don’t actually live in Doncaster - I live just outside, in Kirk Sandall, but it’s easier to say Doncaster because people know that.’

Fair enough.

But the wheels fly off the truth of labels once we go a little deeper.

People sometimes ask me if I’m a Christian.

I’d find it easier to answer if I knew what the word means, I have no idea, everyone has their own definition.

But then I might use the word as short-hand on a census form as some sort of lazy approximation, meaning not very much.

This is the thing about labels. They really don’t mean anything.

So as Manchester and London display life-enhancing resilience in the face of blunt trauma separateness, we will not follow this separating path within ourselves.

There are not two tapestries but one and one thread connects us all. 

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