This wasn’t the post I was planning to publish today. I am not usually one for social commentary or current affairs. I always feel like I don’t have a right to comment on things that have not directly affected me but these words have been swimming around my head all day.
The post I was intending to publish was about how I’ve been a Take That fan for 25 years and how much I enjoyed seeing them at the Manchester Arena on Friday night.
And then last night, as I was editing video of the concert my husband came downstairs and told me the news. There had been an explosion, at a concert which was full of children and families, people were dead. I was shocked, and saddened but initially there was hope that maybe it had been some sort of tragic accident and not another bomb, another terrorist doing something unthinkable in the name of religion.
But by the time I got up this morning it had been confirmed that it was a bomb, a lone suicide bomber. Whether he was acting alone or as part of a wider organisation isn’t yet clear. What is certain though is that 22 people are dead, another 59 injured in hospital. Among the dead, an 8 year old girl. It is just incomprehensible that someone could target children and families on what should have been an incredible night out.
Three months before I started university in 1996 the IRA blew up Manchester city centre. Somehow nobody died that day but I spent the next three years living in a city slowly emerging from scaffolding and boarded up windows. Manchester has recovered from terrorism once before and I’m sure it will again. You only have to look at the news, at social media, to see how the people of the city; the paramedics, police, taxi drivers, bus drivers and all the other people who were there last night and today came together and did whatever they could to help.
What happened last night is senseless. I will never understand what these terrorists are hoping to achieve with their bombs and their seemingly indiscriminate campaign of violence and killing.
The events of the last 24 hours have affected me more than I expected. I am normally resolutely immune to tragedy. I see terrible things on the news and I think ‘well, that’s terrible’ and then I get on with my day. But today is different.
It was only four days ago that I was there, in that arena. It could so easily have been me that didn’t come home to my family after what should have been a night of fun and enjoyment. And I cannot comprehend how the families of those that were killed, or seriously injured must be feeling. Tonight I cried for the lives lost. The lives of people I didn’t know, and never will.
But I refuse to be scared. We cannot be scared. We must continue in our lives, make the most of what we have.
My boys are too little to be aware of what has happened this time. I have not needed to have a conversation about good and evil. But there will be other times to come I’m sure, when I will need to reassure my boys. Tell them that no matter what happens there will always be good people and bad people.
And that they should always look for the good people.
Be one of the good people.
My thoughts tonight are with the families of those that didn’t come home.