Less than a year ago, I wrote about what kind of a place our world and Britain is now. I can’t quite believe I’m writing about another terrorist attack.
Last night, 22 people have been killed and 59 people have been injured (figures at the time of writing) after going to a pop concert in Manchester.
Full details aren’t out yet, but I think we can assume that a lot of the 22 will be young people. The first name to be released is that of a 18 year old girl.
18. Just 18.
The second name is that of an 8 year old girl.
Her life had barely started.
Young girls, going to see their favourite singer. For Saffie Roussos, it may have been her first pop concert. They will have had the tickets for months, ever since they went on sale; they might have been a Christmas or a Birthday present.
Families torn apart at a pop concert. How many times has the Manchester Arena been filled with families, fans, music lovers. Why this concert? Why any concert? Why pick an event where people gather to see their music idols?
I’ve been to so many concerts in my life. I have loved each and every one of them. Hundreds or thousands of people come together, from all walks of life, to spend one night singing along to their favourite songs, and being entertained.
The concert was Ariana Grande’s. I knew she was close to my age, so I googled it for this post. She’s 3 weeks older than me. That’s it. Through no fault of her own, by simply performing and entertaining her army of young fans and their families, she will now have to cope with this for the rest of her life.
All the families will have to cope with this for the rest of their lives.
I woke up this morning, checked my phone to see this awful news. I felt shock, deep sadness for the victims, pain for the families, and anguish for Ariana, her team, and everyone who works at the arena.
But then I felt immense pride. Pride in all my friends in Manchester. The messages of spare rooms. The offers of tea and food. My friend who is a nurse in Manchester. And then pride of every person defiantly sending the message out to the world that we won’t be torn down by this.
I rolled over, snuggled up to my boyfriend, and told him I loved him. I felt very blessed and lucky to have woken up with my love. Everyone will hold their loved ones close today. We do every day, but some days we hold them dearer and tighter.
We mustn’t forget the joys of this world. In Hull today, we have glorious sunshine. I walked to work, listened to the birds and looked up at the blue skies. We are so lucky to live in a country where people come together against the evil ones that do things like this. How blessed we really are to have such incredible spirit and emergency services.
Love is more powerful than a suicide bomber. We must still feel happiness and pride in our cities, our country and our people. Awful things will still happen, but it is how we repair and march on that really matters and makes us who we are.
My deepest sympathies go out to all those affected by what happened in Manchester.
Featured image credit to Getty Images/BBC news.