Alfie Gallagher pays tribute to Lyra McKee.
I became friends with Lyra McKee through our mutual close friendships with Anthony McIntyre and Ruth Dudley Edwards. That alone will tell you a lot about Lyra: she was a woman of extraordinary empathy and a relentless desire to understand and to befriend. It was what made her a great journalist, one of the outstanding of her generation. Somehow she still managed to be deeply humble, heart-warmingly funny and a tremendously good friend.
Despite our many years of online contact and cheerful banter, one of my greatest regrets is that Lyra and I only met once in person, a moment captured in the treasured photograph above. Foolishly, I presumed we had all the time in the world, and so life inevitably got in the way. A silly boy’s bullet proved me wrong.
I can think of no better legacy than the words of our mutual friend Carrie McIntyre: Be Like Lyra! Rather than indulge in the self-soothing comfort of woke self-righteousness or right-wing arrogance, try to be generous with whomever you disagree. Try to understand “others” and “opponents” rather than to caricature them, especially when you dislike or indeed hate what they stand for.
That is one of the many things that Lyra McKee taught me. Along with her profoundly insightful journalism, that is what she should be remembered for.
Alfie Gallagher blogs @ Left From The West