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A man wakes up and knows today is the day he will kill himself – and take with him as many as he can when he goes.  Perhaps he washes, perhaps he has breakfast, perhaps he says his prayers.  Then carefully he picks up his luggage for this final journey.  He walks to the station where he boards the underground train.  He looks at the sea of faces around him – and presses the trigger.  He believes he will wake in heaven to a martyrs crown and God’s blessing.

As pictures of the resulting carnage are beamed around the world, the words of the Good Friday reproaches re-echo around the mind:

O my people what have I done to you?  How have I offended you?

Intelligence officers will redouble their efforts.  Security experts will review their plans.  Military strategists will re-consider their options.  They will each do their very best and will have some, even much, success but they know one day someone will slip beneath their radar again.

O my people what have I done to you?  How have I offended you?

What makes a person believe that it is necessary and right to act in such a way?  What hurt, real or perceived, is so great that it justifies bring such terrible pain to your fellow human beings?  Some will reach for words like “evil”, “twisted”, “perverted” but such words are designed to write off, to dismiss the perpetrator as a nothing, a nobody but that resolves nothing for others still come forward to take their place.

O my people what have I done to you?  How have I offended you?

Some how, some where, humanity has deeply and profoundly fallen out with itself and past mistakes and misunderstandings reap a terrible harvest.  We have forgotten our common bonds, we have lost the ability to reach out to one another, we see each other with distorted eyes. Lasting offence has been caused and a gulf has opened up that has made us alien one to another.

O my people what have I done to you?  How have I offended you?

Until we can discover a new way to reach out to one another, until we can rediscover the true path of peace and justice, until we are truly able to truly listen to one another, address the inequalities and heal the hurt, all the intelligence, security and military powers will never be fully able to protect us.

Until then a lonely man still walks the path to Golgotha.  The crowds jeer and spit their derision; foreign soldiers seize him strip him and nail his hands and feet to the wood.  Then they hoist up on high – to them a nonsense pointing nowhere but with his every agonised breath he quietly proclaims that love not judgement is the answer.

O my people what have I done to you?  How have I offended you?  Answer me!