It’s with a heavy heart that I write this particular blog post. In the early hours of Tuesday morning my heart shattered as information came in about a terror attack in Manchester, struggling to find the real story I stayed awake for hours picking through the pieces waiting for information, praying that this wasn’t what it seemed and all those involved had made it out safe and well. Alas, this was not true and the reality was so much more horrific than I ever could have imagined. I shed a tear as the information flooded in, death after death, casualty after casualty. A horrific attack on a night meant for joy, a night that many of those who lost their lives will have been excited about for months. This night marked the 22nd of May 2017, a night that will never be forgotten.
I’m only going to dedicate one paragraph to the people responsible for this as they don’t deserve the media attention. As the information came flooding in we were informed that this tragic night was the result of a terror attack. I’m not going to delve into details because I am sure most of you will have read about it and came to these revelations yourselves. I am, however, going to talk about humanity. ISIS are a plague on the world, a spineless, cruel, evil parasite, ripping life from every corner of the world. But we remain unbroken. Our world is made up of a diverse culture, all religions, all countries, all colour, yet we stand as one. Over the upcoming weeks as the world stands again and the dust settles, as the families grieve and the pain is so very, very real, all I ask is for you to remember this; ISIS DO NOT represent the Muslim community. Terrorism has no religion. We are an integrated society and I believe this is something to be proud of. Religion is a wonderful thing, religion is a personal thing and for most, religion is a safe haven. Don’t fight the hate that surrounds us with more hate. Fight back with love and acceptance, fight back by showing that we are a untied nation and we will not be broken. Accept those around us for who they are and show the cruel among us that this is a world that we are proud of and that they cannot take it from us. I don’t have an answer regarding how we stop terrorism not will I even begin to try and fathom one. I do however have hope and sometimes, hope can be the most powerful human emotion in the face of adversity. Please, don’t give up on humanity. Don’t lose faith in the human race. I promise you, there is something left to save.
As the horror continued to flood in I started to notice humanity find their feet. I witnessed kindness prevail as people offered up their homes to those stranded in the Manchester area. Literally, opening their doors to strangers hoping to help in any way they possibly could. Offering meals and a safe haven during such a trying and difficult time. We saw people desperately helping others locate lost friends and family members, some even taking children to safety in a nearby hotel. Staying with them, comforting them as the shock of the events sunk in. Taxi drivers turned off their meters, offering free taxi rides to people in the area, getting them as far away from the danger as possible. Our emergency services working tirelessly into the night, pushing themselves to capacity in order to accomodate the high intake of the wounded. Fighting to save their lives. These are the heroes who often remain nameless but are never forgotten. I ask you to focus on these people. These people are those that represent the world. So whoever you are, whatever role you played, I thank you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness and bravery. Thank you for giving me the eternal hope of a better tomorrow.
There was something different about this attack. Every terror attack I have ever been alive to witness has hurt me, my heart aches for those affected and my gut churns with every horror filled detail that emerges. But when I awoke to the news that the fatality numbers were growing and among those were children, my heart stopped. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a massive children’s right advocate. Child protection and safety is extremely important to me and when I read that children as young as eight had lost their lives, I was absolutely crushed. I still am. As a previous nursery teacher I have had the pleasure of witnessing these wonderful, chaotic, funny little humans our world is graced with grow into themselves. Learning, developing and growing into tiny little people right before my very eyes. I thought about all the children I have come across in my time as a childcare professional and my heart broke. The thought that even one of them may not be around to influence the world shocks me to my core. So much potential, so much to give, all of that to be taken away? Its beyond comprehension. To the parents and families of those who didn’t make it home, from the bottom of my heart, I am truly, truly sorry for your loss.
Being an eternal optimist in a world that persistently reveals the negative is not an easy task. I am shaken, I am today, broken hearted, but I remain the same optimistic 20 year old I have always been. In times like this I find it very important to look to the unsung heroes. Those who rose to the occasion and revealed the good and the pure that leaves me with the constant hope for a better tomorrow. The good in our world far outweighs the bad, however, I understand on days such as these this is hard to see. But the sun will rise tomorrow and a new day will beckon and in this new day I look to you and ask for unity. I ask that you hold my hand and those around you as we stand up to the evil and cruel that is working so hard to hurt and divide us. Hold your head high as you shout back at the cruel that we may be shaken but we will rise again, stronger and more united than ever. Every nation, every religion, every country. We stand as one. We will not be broken.
“I am sorry that this world could not keep you safe, may your journey home be a soft and peaceful one” ~ Rupi Kaur