Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Vigil against terror

Last night I joined about 500 people at a vigil to mourn the killing of 130 and the injuring of many more people in Paris by terrorists. We gathered on a warm evening at the soldier's memorial park in Unley -  a gentle, peaceful part of the world.

Premier Jay Weatherill and French Ambassador Christophe LeCourtier

We were joined by French expats, the Premier Jay Weatherill, French Ambassador to Australia, Christophe LeCourtier, Governor Hieu Van Le, heads of Christian churches, representatives of the Islamic community in South Australia, and by senior Chinese officials.

Mayor of Unley, Lachlan Clyne

Gisele Blanchard, French expat living in Adelaide, sings the French and Australian National Anthems.

People signing the book of condolence and placing flowers and wreaths.

In multi-culturally diverse Adelaide, where Muslims came to call South Australia home as early as the 19th Century and where the oldest Mosque in Australia stands, where our Governor, himself a Vietnamese refugee, pulled from his childhood memories and sang the words of La Marseillaise, we stood for the values of diversity, tolerance and freedom.

We also stood for the innocents killed in Lebanon and the many thousands of Muslims killed by ISIS terrorists in Syria and elsewhere.  We stood for those impacted by and fleeing from ISIS terror; Muslims, Christians and Jews alike.

I don't know what the answers are. Do we go down the non-violence path preached by Ghandi and Martin Luther King Junior or do we attack ISIS with added force? I'm not sure how the philosophies of Ghandi and Martin Luther King would have stopped previous despots like Hitler or Pol Pot, so perhaps some degree of force to combat this madness is inevitable but there must be a political solution at some point.  I desperately hope our world leaders have the wisdom and capacity to bring this terror to an end soon.

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