Monday, 24 March 2008

Does peace stand a chance in Hackney?

This weekend residents in Hackney held a Palm Sunday Ecumenical march, commemorating Jesus’s entrance into Jerusalem.

They prayed along the streets as they marched.

Leading the march alongside church clergy was Councillor Faizullah Khan, who said: ‘As a borough, we have achieved peace and harmony through tolerance and understanding, and we can all help to develop and expand this.’

This is a borough with one of the highest number of gangs in London and serious crime figures.

Even the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has admitted she wouldn’t feel safe walking alone in Hackney.

We remember victims like Stevens Nyembo-Ya-Muteba, a father who was killed by teeangers in his block of flats for asking them to keep the noise down.

This same weekend of this march, a store manager
Jamie Simpson was knifed to death by three youths while cashing up.

But Cllr Khan still finds this a peaceful and harmounous place to live.

Is it that he is not aware of the bloodier side of the borough or that the march simply wasn’t the place or time to raise such gruesome issues?

Neither is likely to be true.

Regardless of that, the 150 local people and the various leaders who walked and prayed in the streets are proof that locals believe that peace can still be achieved.

They have not given up that hope.

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