A vigil was held in Nottingham city centre on 16th November in remembrance of victims of terrorism in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad.
A crowd at least ten deep gathered around the Brian Clough statute near the Old Market Square to listen to speakers express messages of “solidarity” and “democracy”.
The vigil was organised by Nadia Whittome, who expressed her wish “to promote a message of hope to counteract that of hate”.
Talking to Impact after the event, she said: “About 400 people attended, which sent a really strong message of love. I didn’t expect any less from Nottingham”.
“Small things go some way to changing attitudes and promoting a message of hope”
She added: “Small things go some way to changing attitudes and promoting a message of hope to counteract that of hate. I think the easiest and most powerful thing we can do in this respect is have conversations with people.”
During the gathering, speakers read out several letters written by local MPs to express their support, despite the fact that they could not attend in person.
Glenis Willmott, member of the European parliament for the East Midlands, wrote: “It is at the most difficult times that people’s true nature shines through, and I have been proud of the reaction of people across Britain, Europe and beyond, who have made clear that they continue to stand by fundamental principles, such as tolerance, openness and compassion”.
“We stand in solidarity with those affected by these crimes”
She added: “We stand in solidarity with those affected by these crimes. And we stand in solidarity tonight with people across Europe and around the world who will not allow the perpetrators of these crimes to spread hatred, violence and fear”.
Lilian Greenwood, Labour MP for Nottingham South, also sent a message of solidarity to “the victims of terrorism across the globe”.
In her letter, Lilian spoke of her “pride” at representing a “multi-cultural city that values the diversity of people living here” and emphasised that “Nottingham has a proud history not just of tolerance, but of celebrating the rich mix of heritage and culture from around the world”.
She added: “Sadly there are those who would use the tragedy in Paris to spread division and fear. They must not succeed. We must stand united as a community in opposition to hatred and violence wherever it is found”.
“We are here for the people who are being killed”
Nottingham Trent University student Izzy Lee also stood up to speak, having written her own poem to pay her respects to victims.
Several members of the Kurdish People’s Assembly (KPA) were also present at the event, holding signs which detailed the number of victims from each attack.
Kadir Balanur, a member of the KPA, spoke to Impact about why they were there. “We are here for the people who are being killed. We are here to say to the United Kingdom that we can stop ISIS”.
“We are here to stop them. We are here to say we are not scared of them”
He added: “They have done this two or three times in Turkey to Kurdish people. They are fighting in Syria, in Kabone – in all of the Kurdish areas. We are here to stop them. We are here to say we are not scared of them. We are here to support Paris. We are here to support Kurds. We are here to support solidarity”.
As the event wound down, members of the Kurdish People’s Assembly urged the crowd to place their candles at the foot of the Brian Clough statue and held up a banner which read: “We stand in solidarity with the victims of ISIS terrorism”.
The event came after the University observed its own Gathering for Humanity earlier in the week on Portland Hill to show support for victims and those affected by the recent attacks in Paris.
Image: via Impact News