Given a chance, most of us can live in peace

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

ITORE my­self away from re­lax­ing with Mr F, the Sun­day pa­pers and a nut roast, to join the Hilling­don Walk of Peace on Septem­ber 21. Traf­fic was halted and peo­ple lined the route as we fol­lowed the mayor, Cather­ine Dann, and a pipe band up the High Street to­wards intu shop­ping cen­tre.

Many of the spec­ta­tors, I’m sure, as­sumed the bag­pipes meant we were march­ing for the Scot­tish who had just voted to stay in the UK.

Ac­tu­ally it was an Ir­ish Pipe Band that led the way but the march did have ev­ery­thing to do with unity.

Be­neath the es­ca­la­tors in intu, peo­ple from many faiths talked about their de­sire for peace.

We are led to be­lieve that it is cyn­i­cal, ap­a­thetic and prej­u­diced peo­ple who make up most of so­ci­ety, but when Uxbridge shop­pers saw ban­ners with slo­gans like Love For All, Ha­tred For None, they didn’t snig­ger, yawn, heckle or walk away. In fact they paused from buy­ing and brows­ing to gaze from the top tier of the shop­ping cen­tre to watch dancers and singers per­form­ing for peace.

They heard Mus­lims tell us that true Is­lam is about peace, tol­er­ance and equal­ity.

Best of all, faith lead­ers from many re­li­gions pub­licly signed a doc­u­ment to con­demn the ter­ror­ism, kid­nap­pings and mur­ders which have dom­i­nated the news.

Ev­ery­one lis­tened to hopes of keep­ing Hilling­don a safe, peace­ful bor­ough and there was real op­ti­mism in the air. It was great.

A few days ear­lier, I was at the launch of a new fe­male-fo­cused garage, de­signed to take the ma­cho out of me­chan­ics for driv­ers who of­ten feel out of their depth in a world of Jeremy Clark­sons.

A very knowl­edge­able Ran­deep Ree­hal, who has helped her fa­ther run a garage for many years, de­cided to set up The Pink Garage Company specif­i­cally for women.

For­mer mayor Mary O’Con­nor gave her support and praised Ran­deep’s adop­tion of Hilling­don Women’s Cen­tre as her char­ity, and we all toasted the company’s suc­cess in pink cham­pagne.

In a very busy week I also at­tended a book launch at Covent Gar­den. Tired and head­ing for home via Le­ices­ter Square Tube sta­tion, I took a few wrong turns and got hope­lessly lost. Even­tu­ally a friendly cou­ple pointed me in the right di­rec­tion. But oh, the shame. They were Amer­i­can. Catch up at www.getwest­lon­don.­thors/bar­bara-fisher

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