This is not, as Owen Jones discovered the other night on Sky News, a generally accepted view. But it is true.
I won’t dwell on what happened on Sky News (except to enquire politely of Owen why he continues to dignify the show with his presence). And, as he has said, the same refusal to accept the homophobic impulse of the attack was not unique to Sky. Even the New York Times apparently did not initially mention the LGBT target, and of course our own Daily Mail divided its front page between xenophobia and a pearl earrings offer.
When the news came through on Sunday afternoon, the BBC news channel decided to continue showing fatuous pictures of a street party. I had to go to Al Jazeera to find out what was happening. It took me away not from football but from this Youtube video of a speech made at the memorial service for Muhammed Ali by Michael Lerner, which I subsequently shared on Facebook.
Rabbi Michael Lerner was a hero of mine in 1966 or so. The chair of the SDS chapter at Berkeley and subsequently imprisoned as one of the Seattle Seven, his voice was one of the most eloquent in opposition to the Weather Underground and was primarily responsible at the time for my rational rejection of (although, I confess, a romantic adherence to) the path of Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn and Mark Rudd.
On my shelves, I have still a copy of his book The Politics of Meaning: Restoring Hope and Possibility in an Age of Cynicism. And although I was sceptical of his insistence on ‘spirituality’, flicking through it again after all these years, I am impressed by his mitigation of our materialist arguments by the incorporation of cultural and yes, ‘spiritual’ values. Self-interest is not the be-all and end-all: humanity is better than that. As Muhammad Ali showed us.
And as Michael Lerner told us, "the way to honour the memory of Muhammad Ali is to be Muhammad Ali today in our own lives”.
You can watch his remarkable, passionate and moving speech above. If you haven’t seen it, you should.
When events in Orlando and around the world prompt despair, here is hope.