What can a person say when confronted with abject horror? This is where we stand, hours on from a fresh example of religious terrorism and the largest and most significant hate crime the modern west has ever seen.
Sometimes it seems as if words are not enough. They feel brittle and inconsequential when trying to reflect on horrors like the one which befell Florida this weekend, where a gunman took an automatic rifle to a gay bar in Orlando and murdered 50 at least people, as well as injuring 53 others.
And yet however hard it is to write about, it also feels like a duty – because it is a duty – for all of us, as concerned ethical human beings, to stare back into that darkness, however sore and uncomfortable it makes us, and to call it out for what it is.
This was a homophobic attack, motivated by a pure, white hot hate for LGBT people, perpetrated by a killer who had pledged his loyalty to the Islamic terror group ISIS.
Hate like this, terrorism like this, makes all of us afraid. Fear is only natural. But fear will not protect us. And fear carries with it a terrible power: the power to twist us and make us less than we are.
We must always stand up to hate. Whatever its motivations. And now more than ever, we have to think and reflect on everything we set out to achieve: a better world, informed by values of reason and empathy, love and kindness, and the courage to stand up to hate.
This evening, we will be marching in solidarity with LGBT people and victims of terrorism wherever they are, in Old Compton Street in Soho. Local humanists will also be participating in vigils and events throughout the UK this week. Whether you can be there with us in person at one of these events or not, we hope you are with us in our project for a better world.
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.
Vigils and demonstrations around the UK:
- Bath: https://www.facebook.com/events/533517766849885/
- Basinstoke: https://www.facebook.com/events/1039280166155672/
- Birmingham: https://www.facebook.com/events/152308238506130/
- Blackpool: https://www.facebook.com/blackpoolpridefest/posts/1029763750404680
- Bournemouth: https://www.facebook.com/events/1243772762329378/
- Brighton: https://www.facebook.com/events/139076499845471/
- Bristol: https://www.facebook.com/events/1756083158009318/
- Carlisle: https://www.facebook.com/CumbriaPride…
- Coventry: https://www.facebook.com/events/1700857120161081/
- Cambridge: https://www.facebook.com/events/1718149111771099/
- Cardiff: https://www.facebook.com/events/292373941103640/
- Derby: https://www.facebook.com/events/1003217246422753/
- Edinburgh: https://www.facebook.com/events/284864201857897/
- Exeter: https://www.facebook.com/events/1106440869409456/
- Glasgow: https://www.facebook.com/events/1725693814371210/
- Guildford: https://www.facebook.com/events/150963525319845/
- Leicester: https://www.facebook.com/events/1792323950997719/
- Liverpool: https://www.facebook.com/events/1441715589187247/
- London, Soho: https://www.facebook.com/events/1017280595022769
- London, Vauxhall: https://www.facebook.com/events/296051880736192/
- Luton: https://www.facebook.com/events/588576297983799/
- Manchester: https://www.facebook.com/events/649545835201821/
- Newcastle: https://www.facebook.com/events/1632372410417335/?ti=icl
- Norwich: https://www.facebook.com/events/1732977896941212/
- Nottingham: https://www.facebook.com/events/608653759296539/
- Oldham: https://www.facebook.com/events/1541342946173165/
- Oxford: https://www.facebook.com/events/522462964613072/
- Plymouth: https://www.facebook.com/events/1710373212557858/
- Sheffield: https://www.facebook.com/events/1698643950395549/
We will update this list throughout the day.