Manchester, Opinion

“We are Manchester, we are together” – Harry Spindler

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By Harry Spindler

On the 22nd of May 2017, 21 people would travel to spend an evening with their friends or family and listen to an artist who makes them feel safe and happy; with a heavy heart we know those 21 would never return to their loved ones.

After Ariana Grande had finished her set and the concert-goers were leaving the Manchester Arena, a suspected suicide attack took place in the foyer of the venue. Many of the lives lost were children and young people; young people who had every right to believe that they could spend the night listening to their idol before returning home full of excitement and glee, to go to bed with a smile on their faces and happiness in their heart, something which has so cruelly been snatched away from them.

At a time like this, we must make sure that we stay safe and stay united. This is not a time for politics or religion to cloud our judgement on such an atrocity. The political adversaries during the current election campaign have called an armistice to send their prayers and thoughts to all those involved. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted:

Whilst on the other side of the trail, Prime Minister Theresa May was quoted this morning as saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, and the families and friends of all those affected.”

Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron aslo tweeted:

As well as the political party leaders, Sadiq Khan and Steve Rotherham, Mayors of London and Liverpool respectively, sent their prayers and wishes to those who lost their lives and their friends and family last night. Globally, statements have been released from President Trump, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron. Regardless of ideology or beliefs, this is not a time to divide ourselves. As one of the city’s beautiful murals says, “A haven for heathens, hoodies & hipsters. Hijabis & Hebrews. High-brow intellectuals and however-you-sexuals. It’s home to all.”

We cannot let those who want to divide our country and who seek to further their racist agendas profit from such an inhumane act. Don’t let your fear and horror of what happened last night justify heinous crimes and violent acts. Don’t let your feelings cloud your judgement, don’t allow racists like Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins spread their bile into your minds and make you believe that this is a Muslim agenda. This is the will of extremists who cannot be described by any lesser terms than psychopaths, terrorists and murderers. This is not Islam, the Quran does not ask their followers to commit such vicious acts just like the Bible does not ask Christians to do the same.

My prayers go out to the families of those who lost their lives; to the families who lost sons, sisters, brothers and daughters and to the friends who lost loved ones, but my prayers extend to those who follow their faith and who wake up this morning to racist and hate fueled messages from bigots and fools who have allowed their minds to be poisoned by the racist venom of those who would seek to exploit this act for their own gain.

The brief time that I have lived in this beautiful city I have experienced an abundance of comedy, culture and character from a strong group of people and never would I had expected such unity after an event like last night: taxi drivers offering free rides to those in need; Domino’s sending pizzas to hospitals to help keep our incredible NHS staff fed; citizens in the city queuing in their hundreds to donate blood and Mancunians offering a place to stay for those stuck in the city. We must unite together, not just in Manchester, but across the country, to show that we cannot be broken by fear and violence. Manchester valiantly stood strong 21 years ago against the IRA bombings of the Arndale and won’t be beaten by this, just as London stood strong after the 7/7 bombings, just as Paris stood strong against the November 2015 shootings and just as New York fought against division after 9/11. We are Manchester, we are together. Together we stand, divided we fall.

Manchester Evening News has today set up a JustGiving page, stating, “At least 22 people have been killed and 59 injured after a terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena. Manchester Evening News readers have been asking how they can help, so we have started this fund to help support the families in the aftermath of the attack.”

With an initial target of £50,000, that target was smashed within hours and has gone on t0 raise over £1,120,000. If you can spare even as little as a pound, you can keep helping those affected. Share the page and lets help one another in this time of need.

Just remember to stay safe out there, we live in a beautiful yet dangerous world and must take it as such. Stay Strong Manchester.

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