I”ll ride with you

I was 23 years old when first arrived in London. It was two days before the Harrods Bomb that killed 6 people and injured 90.

I had planned to go to Harrods that Saturday. Not sure what changed my mind. Lucky for me something did.

Instead I went on Monday, two days after the bomb. Me and thousands of others, far more than a usual Monday.

I loved the resilience of the British people. True they were fairly well steeled to terrorist acts. But on that Monday the place was buzzing, mothers and their prams, citizens of all kinds…out and about clearly stating to anyone who would listen. “We refuse to be terrorized. We refuse to stay at home. We will not live in fear.”

When people do not submit to fear, fear having no oxygen, cannot live on.

This morning, as I was getting caught up with the overnight news of the death of two of the hostages of what is now known as the Sydney Siege, I read about the social media movement, “I’ll ride with you.”

Tears streaming down my face. Touched, moved by the acts of people all over Australia offering to ride with/sit with anyone who chooses to wear a head scarf or other forms of distinguishing attire. To sit with them in solidarity. An act of saying, “In my city people of all faiths and religions are welcome. I will stand with you against the small minority of  zealots from all races and religions who seek to inflict their views on all through acts of spoken, written and lived violence.”

“I’ll ride with you.”

Imagine how many conversation have started from this act? People who would never have spoken to each other previously. Walls tumbling down, friendships formed, opportunities for deeper mutual understanding and assimilation.

“I’ll ride with you.”

“Let me be the one who says we will not let our community divide into more hate. We the people will stand together against those small numbers of zealots from all sides.”

“I’ll ride with you.”

“When we unite we are stronger. I’ve got your back.”

“I’ll ride with you.”

“Don’t be afraid. We cannot say yes to fear. We cannot let fear rule us. Not today, not tomorrow. Not ever.”

“I’ll ride with you.”

Bravo Sydney, Bravo Australia. I am riding with you.

 

***All homage to Rachael Jacobs  and Tessa Kum for being the instigators…and to the thousands who participated in having this be a statement of Sydney and Australian solidarity.

 

 

 

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