The appalling events of Manchester is another reminder of how no one is safe from terrorism. How even the young; children and teenagers are considered fair game in the eyes of a terrorist. At the time of writing this an 8 year-old girl is still missing. A girl not much older than Oldest. Her family are desperately searching for her and I can only begin to imagine the living hell that they must be going through. We now know that one lone terrorist chose to detonate a bomb at the end of a pop concert. This cowardly attack deliberately targeted children and their families. This one twisted mind chose to turn a scene of joy into one of murder, into a scene where blood ran.
This terrorist attack was timed to cause massive devastation. It was timed to kill families. It was timed to rip out the heart of British culture. They wanted to destroy our society: they wanted to take away our liberty. They deliberately chose Manchester. A city that is the UK’s new cultural capital. A city that represents everything that is great about the UK. It is a city with a reputation for being forward thinking. It is a city that is cool. It is also a city that is used to reinventing itself. A city that was once the heart of the industrial revolution and is a now a city with the arts at its heart. Manchester is a city that is constantly evolving: constantly overcoming challenges.
Manchester is a very special city. I am married to a proud Mancunian. The fact that he is proud is nothing unusual, all Mancunians are proud. They love their city and its heritage. As a city they have weathered their fair share of terrorism. Bomb threats were common place during the IRA years. They carried on as normal. They still went shopping and they still ate out. Mr C tells me that they believed life had to carry on as normal otherwise you had let them won. 21 years ago Mr C remembers hearing the IRA bomb going off in Manchester city centre. He remembers that the double glazing popped. He remembers that the next day he carried on as normal. The bomb might have flattened shops but it didn’t destroy Manchester’s spirit. They used it as opportunity for creating a new and better shopping centre. Again Manchester will rise: Manchester will not be broken.
We are sadly becoming accustomed to these scenes. Yet, what the terrorists always underestimate is how we as humans react. How the emergency services ran into the scene to help. How ordinary people opened their doors to help. How taxi drivers helped ferry people away from the scene at no cost. How one woman herded up lost children and took them to safety. Yes, the terrorists can kill but they can’t stop us from standing united, they can’t stop us from caring. As long as we continue to come together they will never win. This was a senseless and sickening attack. They deliberately chose to kill the young. In killing the young they are trying to take away our hopes for a peaceful future. In killing the young they wanted to poison innocence.
Another act of terrorism and this time young lives have been lost but Manchester is carrying on as normal. People are coming together. We have seen people reaching out over on social media, we have seen people uniting to help. Losing your child in a situation like this is something that no one should ever have to experience. We all need to stand together, remember those that need our support and celebrate those who demonstrated their bravery. In the aftermath of this terrible event we must be united. We must not turn on each other. Life should carry on as normal but with an added awareness of care and compassion. Love your family, friends and neighbours. It is our ability to love others that makes us human, that means we can still hope for a peaceful future. Don’t let the terrorists destroy our hope and love for each other.
We can stand united. We can stand shoulder to shoulder with Manchester.
Manchester City Council has launched the We Love Manchester emergency fund, an appeal in partnership with the British Red Cross, to support those affected by the attack and their families. If you would like to donate or further information then please click on the link below.