Comment: ‘Hope must now triumph over hate’

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The death of little Mikaeel Kular has shown society at its best and its worst.

What began as a harrowing case of a child who went missing from his bedroom sparked a huge outpouring of emotion from people across the Lothians and in particular from north Edinburgh, the community where Mikaeel’s family lived.

More than 200 people joined in a search for Mikaeel last week, many of them parents and grandparents. Others lit candles and prayed for his safe return.

On Saturday, after the news of his death was revealed, hundreds more took part in a memorial service that underlined the strong binds in the area. Many of those taking part looked at their own children and imagined the pain of losing a loved one.

Earlier in the day, community groups paused to remember the happy young child, while runners at the weekly Parkrun along the Cramond foreshore stopped for a minutes silence.

But even as these poignant tributes were going on, internet trolls across the UK were using the death as an excuse for sickening taunts on social media, many of them racist.

The police have said they will take strong action against those who break the law.

We support this action and call for the courts to give the strongest possible sentences to individuals who are found guilty of online abuse.

Hope must triumph over hate. Mikaeel is now gone but plans for a permanent reminder of his life in the Muirhouse and Drylaw area are being considered.

Mikaeel is not the only young child to die but his disappearance brought out the very best from those in Edinburgh.

That alone is a sign that community spirit – often thought to have disappeared – is alive and well in north Edinburgh.

Together we should remember little Mikaeel and celebrate the ties that bind us all together.