Gill Hicks. In London during 2005 Gill was running late for work. On the same train as Gill - only one person between them - was Jermaine Lindsay, who was a suicide bomber.
In a heartbeat, Gill's life changed completely. In the first moments after the bomb detonation, Gill thought she must be dead. Then the sound of many people screaming brought her to the realisation that whatever had happened had affected everyone around her.
In the dimness, Gill realised both her legs below the knees were lost. She couldn't breathe as both her lungs had collapsed. She had burn injuries, a set of car-keys embedded in the back of her head, broken bones and burst eardrums. She used her scarf to tie tourniquets around her own legs.
In those moments of confusion and near-death, Gill heard two voices. And they were offering her a choice.
A choice between life and death. And Gill describes them both as being inside her head.
The first voice was female and Gill describes this as the 'voice of Death' which was very beautiful and inviting. It said, "Gill, look at your injuries. Come with me now." It was a very tempting offer.
The 'voice of Life' was male and urgent and angry. "No, you won't have legs, but there's still much for you to do." Gill knew in that moment, instinctively, that her life would be different and focused on making a difference for peace. She was signing an invisible contract with Life where she couldn't read the fine print.
Click on this link to the ABC radio\Conversations with Richard Fidler. Listen to Gill tell her incredible story yourself.
Gill started a subversive movement called MAD for Peace (Making a Difference) in which Gill works to build empathetic communities.
Empathy = a key component in creating sustainable peace.
This woman, Gill Hicks, has copped a deep loss due to a violent act by someone else's choice. Gill is not bitter about this. But she is angry and she thinks that's okay. And so do I. She is considered and thoughtful and has determined that this mindless violence must not be perpetuated by her. Her best response to this awful and cruel act is to build understanding communities who value empathy.
Wow. Like building empathetic communities is the easy option. Wouldn't it be much easier to just be angry and revengeful? I think so. But Gill is not interested in the easy option. She is a quality woman.
I admire her guts. I am blown away by her resourcefulness, initiative and beauty. Fantastic effort, Gill.
Listen to her story. You won't be disappointed.