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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, August 13, 2005
    The silence and the roots of violence
     


    The silence. This one for a young man horribly killed for his skin colour just two miles up the road from here a fortnight ago. We have a lot of silences these days. I alternate between being moved on such occasions and thinking that they're rather empty gestures.

    Empty gestures, because they seem to signify nothing except a fleeting sorrow, perhaps, solidarity contained between two blows on the referee's whistle. Sometimes you can tell when the crowd's empathy with the subject is strained, those times when silences are interrupted by shouts, ringtones, the chatter of people making their way to their seats.

    Today's silence was poignant because the horror at its heart impacts directly on the footballing community: one of those accused of this brutal racial murder is the brother of a Premiership footballer. Premiership football is a small, elite world and I spent my silent minute looking across at the players thinking that some of them would know this person, some of them will be friends of the family.

    Today's silence was as reverent as any could be. It was beautifully observed - even by those who just four days ago, from the same seats, were screaming vicious racist abuse at opposition players.

    The roots of violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principles.
    - Mahatma Ghandi, via Pip