Manchester: People, Spirit and Community

Manchester. One of the keystones of the west coast, a bastion of culture and artistic influence, credited as the home of the infamous ‘Oasis’ and a plethora of other artists. Just two days ago it was home to a smash hit star amongst the youth; Ariana Grande. Unfortunately,  it was also home to Salman Abebi, who detonated a makeshift explosive device at the aforementioned pop stars’ concert late Monday night. The device killed Salman immediately, and as of now has claimed the lives of 22 others, some as young as just under ten years old.

It’s times like these that put the morality of people around us into the spotlight, and certainly, make me choke on my previously held opinions. I had often thought, being as young and naive as I am, that the can-do attitude of the British public was long gone. The time of the Blitz bombing campaign was merely a memory to many an individual living in our sovereign state. But alas, here we find ourselves under attack once again, the harsh realities of conflict brought home to our doorstep. These disgusting acts of terrorism reminding us of events past and present, such as the London 7/7 attacks that shook our nation so long ago.

manchester 1.jpgBut with all the harsh baggage that is associated with these terror attacks, we must look to the acts of kindness within the community, and the sheer generosity of those involved in the effort to provide for those in need. In short, we must have nothing but praise for the community of Manchester and wider Britain, as, within the hour, people were opening their homes up to those in danger, providing housing, meals and a safe place for concert attendees to contact family and friends. The Sikh community is some of the first to lend a hand to those in need. It is apparent to me, and so much more that the British sense of nationalism and helping those in need still exists today. Certainly, in such turbulent times, we can all agree that this is a fact that will help all sleep a little easier at night, knowing that our fellow countrymen are prepared to sacrifice luxuries for those around us. Truly it is a response that can be aptly likened to the wartime spirit of our island nation.

As for the political response, a great maturity was shown by both the Conservative and Labour party, as it was an agreed that campaigning for the upcoming June 8th election had been postponed until further notice. Although within the hour of writing this piece, Jeremy Corbyn has issued a statement that the attack will not “derail our democratic process” and that Labour will continue to campaign as of today, likewise most other major parties have followed suit. An act which I might add seems quite immoral from the viewpoint of a millennial. I can understand the wish to show strength in that we can continue, but I would argue that we should put aside our political agendas until at least end of the week. World leaders have been quick to offer solace to the people of Manchester, with Donald Trump accusing those responsible as “losers” quoting that they would prefer the term “monsters”.

Of course, this event will be used to push political agendas, it is part and parcel of the policy that shapes so many European nations today. In a slightly nihilistic tone, I might add that to the common man, it seems rather petty to dispute such trivialities such as university tuition, when the safety of people within our nation is at stake. In response, the alert level in the UK has been raised to the highest possible point, suggesting an ‘imminent’ attack. Additionally, nearly 1000 soldiers have been deployed to public areas around major towns and cities, and most security services will be on high alert for the weeks to come.

Moving forward, we must offer praise to those within the emergency services and forces, who on an everyday basis move with such efficiency to ensure the safety of our citizens, and we must ensure that such an act never allowed to happen again. How is it that an extremist was allowed to return from an unstable region, and avoid the eye of the authorities? Only time will tell, for now, we wait in a frantic climate, but in an assurance that in the worst case scenario, we can rely on the members of our communities to spring into action, and take it upon themselves to provide a warm and helping hand to those in need.

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