Manchester. The city that I call home, the city that I love. The city I grew up in. The city that started the industrial revolution. The city that gave you Emmeline Pankhurst and secured the vote for women. The city that designed the first programmable computer. The city that houses the first free public library. The city that split the atom. The city that brought the world some of the most iconic musicions there ever has been, and ever will be. The city of music.
Music, one of our only forms of escapism from the sometimes, dare I say, often, difficulties that life can bring. We live in a world where you can go out to enjoy a night of music, get excited to see your favourite artist and sing along to your favourite songs in the company of your favourite people; and never return home.
Last night Manchester sufferred devastation. And today I am thankful that my loved ones are safe, and devastated for those who cannot say the same. My thoughts are truly devoted today, to those affected last night. In an instant, lives were taken, lives were changed. All in an act of hatred. A premeditated, inhumane, act of hatred. Targetting a group of people enjoying themselves at a concert, at a concert for an artist who’s fans were mainly young and vulnerable girls, a suicide bomber struck.
The current death total is 22, 50+ injured, some of the victims are in critical condition in hospital. Whilst the suicide bomber died instantly at the scene, arrests are continuously being made of people suspected to be in connection.
The city’s response
Whilst my heart fills with a deep, deep sadness for the lives lost of innocent human beings, my heart beams with pride in seeing my city come together. Hotels taking in children, taxis giving free rides, people opening their homes to those in need,messages of support. Because thats what terrorists do. Their mindless, bloodthirsty acts take lives, they scar people, they change lives. But they bring people together. And I bet they hate that.
Just a few examples of how everyone came together;
There is no religon that encourages or condones terrorism. There is no reward, no heaven for the taking of innocent lives, for the “sacrifice” of your own. Remember; these people are not muslims, the taxi drivers giving free rides, the people helping; they are muslims.
And what makes Manchester so great is not its achievments, its music, its quirks, its unique shops, bars and restaurants. It is its heart and soul, its spirit. And what that is made up of, is its people. Because without its people, music is meaningless, buildings are just bricks, St Ann’s Square is just St Ann’s Square. And I for one, am proud to be amongst those people, today more than ever. You can cause damage, you can cause destruction, you can take lives, but you can never take our spirit.
Just an example of the staggering levels of support at St Ann’s Square last night and today.
Looking to the future
These terrorists are not changing anything, they are not proving anything; and we will never live in fear. When I think of Manchester Arena I think of sitting on the steps outside the first day I met my boyfriend. I think of the nights i’ve spent there seeing my favourite bands, I think of the joy it has brought to me, and to everyone I know. And that is what I will continue to think of when I see it. Whilst we will mourn those lost and question the state of the world, we will not allow evil people to take our joy, to tarnish our memories. We have to carry on, we cannot live in fear. Thats what I have to remind myself, thats what i’ll tell my future kids in years to come if this problem perseveres. You wanna go ride the tube? Go. You wanna go to that shopping centre, to that gig? Go. We have every right to do whatever it is that we want and not live in fear. Every right.
I have seen so many “Something needs to be done” comments. And I agree. But what can we do? I know i’m not the only one sitting feeling helpless. Although we cannot tackle the evil ideology of terrorism,there are simple things each and every one of us can offer, things that the world is in desperate need of. Kindness. Be kind always. Smile at people, including those who do not smile back. Be kind to those who may not be to you. Help people where you can, pull together, let your loved ones know that they are loved, and cherish each day. Small acts that may seem like nothing, can make for a better tomorrow.
New Mural in my beloved Northern Quarter.
22/05/17- We will never forget. Rest in Peace, Manchester’s angels.