His boyhood environment could not have been more English in gentility. At a predominantly wealthy, middle-class southern county of Kent, sometimes known as the Garden of England; young Adrian Elms was the only dark-skinned student at an otherwise all-white Huntley School for Boys in Tumbridge Wells, a prosperous town close to the border with Sussex. He was bright, did well in class, and on the field he was a very talented footballer. He made every effort to be popular among other students. He was a source of good humour, attended reggae dance nights and enjoyed life to the full. He was often referred to as "black Ade" as it is said that all the other pupils at the school had never seen a black child before coming from Tumbridge Wells.
Despite his extroverted exterior, I have wondered what effect all of this had on the boy. Perhaps rather like an exhibit in a museum, he attracted attention, and so put in an extra effort in both academic and sport alike to equal them in their acceptance. But the mild racism he felt was a victim of, slowly ate into his soul. Because no matter how well he did at school, no matter how high a standard he managed to achieve, somehow he felt that he wasn't really one of them. He looked different, he felt different, and as such he was convinced that he was different. And within his subconscious, he was aware that he was not fully equal to them. A bright and clever academic? Therefore he might well have been aware of the history of prejudice shown to non-whites by the "noble" Caucasian. Centuries of Negro slavery in the New World, the presence of the Ku-Klux-Klan in the USA, Apartheid in South Africa, decades of white aggression by the Far-Right at English football stands, and various other acts of discrimination, including the murder of Stephen Lawrence by a gang of white racists in South London in April 1993. Such discrimination is present to this day - the latest being the aggressive xenophobia which has experienced a surge straight after the Brexit referendum. And that niggling feeling that being dark-skinned has made him trail behind his white-skinned colleagues on the Darwinian evolutionary scale, seeing himself as still closer to the ape than the more-advanced Homo Sapiens he shared the classroom with.
Little wonder that he was viewed with a level of suspicion by everyone else in the school, so he believed.
And throughout his school days, he had no interest in religion, especially Christianity. He might have been repulsed by the idea of a white, unloving English God, whose Son might well have indeed "walked upon England's mountains green, and on England's pleasant pastures seen" - despite this Son of God being Jewish, and therefore a potential, could-have-been victim of Adolf Hitler's pogrom to "solve the Jewish problem". And no doubt, a boy's school such as Huntley had based its entire curriculum on Church of England liturgy to be a good British subject of Her Majesty the Queen and of her entire white-skinned Government. So little wonder, some years after leaving school, whilst drinking in a pub, he responded to a racist snide with violence, slashing the perpetrator's face with a knife.
And so led up to the events of the past few days. A terrorist attack in the heart of Westminster in the name of Allah, taking the lives of four victims and injuring many others before he himself was shot dead by the Police.
In the name of Allah? Or is it more to do with his rage against the British establishment, from which he had always felt some kind of exclusion, simply because of the colour of his skin? And using the name of Allah as a cover or excuse. Adrian Elms, or should I say Khalid Masood, never loved Allah - at least not in the same way as a Christian believer loves his Lord Jesus Christ. Instead, for the terrorist, Allah was a power source for hatred, disguised under a "holy" name of Jihad. To love the Lord Jesus is intertwined with loving both believers and unbelievers, and doing good to all, even to God's enemies as Jesus instructed in his hillside sermon (Matthew 5:38-48). The vivid contrast of attitude and behaviour between a devout Christian and a radical Muslim seem to enforce the idea that all religions leading to God cannot possibly be true.
And the hysteria which ensued after the London incident. As one English patriotic newspaper journalist wrote: "We as a nation is lost. Loss of hope, loss of the spirit to fight." And yet let's face it. The London attack was a minor issue - a tragic one, sure - but still comparatively minor. Yet I can't help sense a national panic on a giant scale. Day after day, the aftermath of the incident makes for headline news on both television and newspapers. A comparatively minor incident? In the London attack, only four people died, five including the terrorist. On 13 November 2015, 130 people died when a terrorist struck a nightclub in Paris. Then on 22 March 2016, 35 died when a bomb went off at Brussels Airport. But those two European attacks are minuscule when compared with the combined Twin Towers and the Pentagon attack on 11 September 2001, when up to 2,996 lives were taken. All three of these incidents were carried out by radical Muslims. Now imagine what state our nation will get into if a plane piloted by an Islamic terrorist was to slam into the Shard, Britain's tallest skyscraper, or into the Gherkin, a prominent building in the City, or for that matter, into the National Westminster Bank tower, also in the City? Imagine the giant plume of black smoke rising heavenward for hours on end. Indeed, how would our media react? And how long would it go on for? Food for thought, perhaps?
Not that I wish any of these things of course! But I cannot help the feeling of deep curiosity for the national reaction and aftermath of such a catastrophe - if our media goes into panic mode after just five deaths. As the aforementioned journalist, Daily Mail writer Katie Hopkins wrote,
Because all the while those forgiving fools in Brussels stood with their stupid hands raised in hearts to the sky, another mischief was in the making. More death was in the pipeline...an entire city of monkeys. Blind. Deaf. And dumb.
She then criticised Islamic London Mayor Sadiq Khan for being the son of a bus driver and called him a fool for praising the efforts of the Police, Ambulance and Medical staff for ensuring the safety of the surviving victims.
I find such an article incredulous, but it has won support from many in the comments forum which follows. London, a city of monkeys? Or was she referring to Brussels? I think she was referring to both cities. Blind monkeys! Deaf monkeys! Dumb monkeys! And if it was London she had in mind, then the whole city of the blind is led by a one-eyed king, and tragically the one-eyed king is a son of a bus driver. Maybe if his father was an influential banker, a magistrate, or even a royal escort, she might have seen him in a different light. Who knows. But a city of monkeys? Oh yes, of course. The majority of Londoners are Remainers. And also very cosmopolitan. Blame the liberals for allowing large crowds of immigrants into our country and through multiculturalism, practically destroying it.
Except - that this London terrorist was not an immigrant. He wasn't even born Muslim. Instead he was born right here in England, I believe from Christian parents, as far back as 1964. So this perpetrator was properly British, and not an immigrant. He had the same national status as I have. My parents were both Italian. So biologically speaking, I'm a full-blood Italian. But I was born here in England. In Westminster to be more precise. Both of us were home-born, and therefore having nothing to do with our entry into the European Common Market in 1973. We were both already here before then, and I was even old enough to vote In. Yet I have always been legally British. I hold a British passport, I'm registered as a legitimate British citizen. I worked for nearly half a century here in the UK and contributed towards the good of society which included paying of taxes and National Insurance. Both the English Lake District and the Dorset coast I consider as favourite natural beauty spots, along with being impressed with both Roman and Medieval history. And I have explored the UK from John O'Groats to Lands End, and Wales too. But according to Hopkins, because I voted Remain, I'm a liberal, a fool, a blind, deaf and dumb monkey, lost somewhere on Darwin's evolutionary scale. Indeed, her attitude is an insult to every Londoner and to every Remain voter across the country.
The opposing contrast between this female patriotic and the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth could not be more dynamic! God loves all mankind enough to give his precious Son to suffer a cruel death to atone for all, Muslims included. If it takes immigration of Islamic people into this or any other western country to heighten the chance to hear the Christian Gospel and believe, then I'm all for it. I long to see Muslims come to Jesus for salvation. It is so easy. The only requirement for the Muslim is to change his mind (repent) and believe in his heart that this Jesus of Nazareth is the risen Christ. Resurrected physically from the dead. That what makes the Christian faith so unique. Jesus is risen! Risen from the dead. This cannot be said about Mohammed, nor of any other religious founder or leader. Jesus is the risen Christ. And by believing, eternal life is given, and is saved from an eternity in Hell, separated from God. Only faith in Christ can change the world, not patriotism. If every single Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, European, American - both North and South - the British Commonwealth - if everyone repented and has a heart-faith in the risen Christ of Nazareth - only then there will be a big political and social improvement throughout the whole world.
Instead, Hopkins preaches hate - as much hate as the Muslims hate westerners. Really, in a sense she has become as one of them. She has even admitted that in her younger days she would have gladly picked up a gun and shoot. Really, I can well ask: Is there any difference at all between a patriotic Englishman (or ~woman) and a radical Islamic?
Such hate on both sides will not solve anything. Instead, hate will only bring death, and Hell will follow. This is a very serious matter. Eternity is a very long time indeed, and if God has already provided a way of escaping eternal separation, then it would be tragic for one to step into a lost eternity out of patriotism or religious extremism, when one can simply believe in the risen Christ and be eternally safe - not just from eternal punishment but into a loving relationship with the heavenly Father through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, with flawless love flowing between every redeemed saint residing in a glorious new world! The same offer of salvation applies both to the English and to Muslims, along with all other nationals and hate groups.
Just in case I may have appeared as glib over those five deaths in London (including that of the terrorist), I mourn for them. It was a needless tragedy. But what makes it a tragedy is that all these deaths were premature - each life cut short. It is equally tragic to have happened in London as it did in Paris, Brussels, and in New York. But the truth is that we will all die. Everyone of us. It is a matter of sooner or later. As the Bible testifies:
It is appointed for all men to die once, after this the judgement...(Hebrews 9:27).
But this is so unnecessary. God promises eternal life as a free gift to every believer. Why not take his offer and be eternally acquitted? It's far, far greater in value than patriotism.