The Manchester bombing is a devastating blow to us all. And there is something we can do about it [EDITORIAL]

Manchester MEN attack

The hours after a bombing are fraught. Families and friends in a frantic search for loved ones, the rest of us in a frantic search for meaning. Most of us are feeling totally powerless, hurt beyond words, and lost. We don’t have to have this all figured out, and there is something we can do about it.


In the wake of this awful moment, we can be pulled in so many directions.

The first is silence. A respectful silence, that honours the weight of lost and fractured lives.

For some, this might mean an urge to call for no politics today. We can ask: please do not politicise this tragic event. And this is entirely understandable. There will be those who seek to profit politically from what happened in Manchester.

But at the same time, a terrorist attack is a political act. The creation of the 999 service that people called for help was a political act. The pay, training and effectiveness of the emergency services that raced to the scene was a political act. The distance required to travel to the nearest hospital, and the treatment received when injured victims arrived was a political act.

A terror attack is not simply a horrific act of murder. It is an act of politics too.

So when we begin to search for meaning amid the rubble, those inquiries are inevitably political. And people will have differing opinions on the political causes and most effective solutions. And that conversation is not only legitimate, it’s the foundation of any democracy.

Read on...

As individuals, some of us choose to throw ourselves wholly over to grief. That is a personal choice, and legitimate too. What we can do in the face of these different and equally valid reactions to shock and grief is to respect each other’s right to their own reaction; and to be generous in how we interpret the spirit behind those reactions.

Hate and anger

For those of us not directly affected, there is a role to play in creating the atmosphere in which we move through these coming hours, days and weeks as a society. As parents, carers, friends, and siblings.

Fear can very quickly turn to hatred and anger. Speaking personally, this is how I metabolise fear. Often before even being conscious of fear, it has warped into something else – sadness, rage, vengeance. Something more stirring and less debilitating than terror. But it’s not healthy for me, or any of us, to stay there too long. As a mentor of mine once put it: being overcome with hatred is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

It rarely solves anything. And it can isolate us from each other. Right at the moment where we need connection so badly. And social media will inevitably contain the outpouring of scared people’s anger today.

And it’s human to feel that fear and anger. But for those of us on the periphery of the attacks, it’s also an act of courageous humanity to deal with ourselves. To make sure we are the calm and steady hand of support, rather than petrol on the flames.

We can do something positive in the midst of chaos

There are phenomenal ways of reacting to an attack – and they are on full display in Manchester right now.

First, immediate and practical help. If you have a free room, or need one, you can use the hashtag #RoomForManchester. People with free space are taking in those who need a bed for the night, or the week, in the wake of the bombing.

Local taxi firms are giving free rides to those who need to get around the city to visit loved ones in hospital and so on.

Local Sikh temples have opened their doors to provide free meals for families and friends who cannot face being alone at home, or cooking.

And people are queuing up to give blood which might just save the lives of people caught up in the attack, and others.

And the longer term things we can do? We can talk more about those as the dust settles.

It might not feel like it, but we do not have to fix this right now. The first task we have as citizens is to support each other through this nightmare. To remember our values, and to hold to them unwaveringly. Parents have lost children, sisters have lost brothers. Those injured and bereaved by this bombing have had their world torn apart. The rest of us have a duty to hold our world together, and make it a better place for the bereaved and injured to return to from their grief. So be kind today, and be kind every day. Because the world needs more of that.

Featured image via Twitter

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed