A Bit About Britain’s normal Tuesday post has been abandoned. Of course, life goes on while tragedy is all around; but banging on about interesting places to visit is irrelevant, and disrespectful, today, when people are mourning and suffering just down the road. At least 22 dead and 59 injured, including children, at an Ariana Grande gig. A pop concert, for heaven’s sake!
So Manchester joins London, and other cities in other countries all around the world, who have been the victims of evil, twisted, people in the last year or so alone, including Afghanistan, Belgium, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Turkey and the USA. Terrorism threatens us all.
Twitter is full of expressions of anger and puzzlement. Pictures of the missing, most of them kids, are being circulated; it is heartbreaking. The Prime Minister has called an emergency COBRA meeting. The Conservative and Labour parties have rightly agreed to suspend election campaigning for the time being, and the also-runnings have followed suit. Their messages would be eclipsed and no one would be interested anyway. This tragedy also puts the playground viciousness and immature grasp of reality you see in social media into perspective.
The people of Manchester have been offering shelter, refreshment, transport, help of all kinds, to the victims. The emergency services are working overtime. Unfortunately, Manchester is no stranger to terrorism. It was as recently as 1996 that the IRA exploded a bomb at the Arndale Shopping Centre on a busy Saturday. You can’t negotiate with people who embrace violence, with psychopaths consumed by blind hatred, warped outlook and perverted ideology. You have to beat them and, simultaneously, marginalise them. At the same time, I worry about those who can only interpret the world in black and white, see it in their way and no other, who seek to blame an entire community, belief, religion, or race for disgusting events like this, and their own, lesser, problems. The talented late Jo Cox MP was also a victim of hatred; I did not generally share her political views, but she was right that we all have far more in common than the things that divide us.
Meanwhile, I cannot comprehend what those affected by this are going through. It is horrific, a nightmare. All people of good heart will be thinking of them.