Dave Duncan: How I beat ISIS by being a good bloke
Dave Duncan, from Otley, wanted to help the family of Lukasz Urban, the Polish trucker murdered by Islamist Anis Amri and his ISIS cohorts. Amri used Mr Urban’s truck to murder 12 people and ruin the lives of many more at a Berlin Christmas market. Dave Duncan, himself a trucker, set about raising nearly £200,000 for Urban’s relatives.
“It could have been any one of us there that day,” says Mr Duncan, who having presented Mr Urban’s family with the money was invited by them to attend the driver’s funeral in Banie, close to the Polish border with Germany.
“The Polish truckers’ own tributes are what being a truck driver is all about,” he adds.” “We have to watch out for one another, as in most cases nobody else does.”
“We’ve got to be as clear-headed about human beings as possible, because we are still each other’s only hope,” said the author James Baldwin. Dave Duncan’s clarity of thought is manifest in his intensely human act of kindness.
Poland’s ambassador to the UK, Arkady Rzegocki is touched by Duncan’s humanity. He will thank him at an official ceremony. “His compassion moved many both in the UK and back in Poland,” he told the BBC. “It is an inspiring example of British-Polish solidarity which never fails in times of crisis.”
Great story, isn’t it. A British man shows the Poles that he and the donors to his cause also understand the meaning of solidarity. Are we divided? No. ISIS can’t win. We win.
“Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now,” wrote Jack Kerouac in 1957.
Naomi Shihab Nye put it well in her poem ‘KINDNESS’:
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
Nice one, Dave.