The internet will be full to its digital rafters with better informed opinion pieces about the suicide bombing of Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena last night. Every one of us who mentions it actually adds to the impact because we publicise the actions of a murderer, but it is not easy to simply remain silent about a cowardly, despicable act that left twenty-two people dead and scores more injured.
These people were doing nothing more threatening to anybody else than attending a concert by one of their favourite artists. One of the dead was an eight year old girl, for fuck’s sake! How exactly does this glorify the alleged cause of the bomber? No God condones murder. No God demands that those who do not worship them be blown to smithereens whilst going about their daily lives. Only twisted, sick human reasoning, further contorted by what I can only assume is a form of psychopathy, can ‘explain’ the intent and the action.
Manchester has survived terrorist atrocities before: once it was the IRA who somehow believed their cause justified murder. Modern terrorists would do well to acknowledge that it was the political, not the activist, wing of the Irish republicans who finally understood that war on innocents never persuades a perceived enemy to yield. Laying down arms and sitting down to genuine political talks, agreeing on compromises is the only way those with a sociopolitical grievance will begin to work towards the changes they claim they aspire to.
Today campaigning in the run-up to Britain’s forthcoming general election was suspended to honour those killed and to minimise the immediate politicisation of the tragedy. As last year’s terrible murder of Jo Cox proved, it won’t be long before various politicians seek to gain currency from the Manchester Arena incident. When we should be respecting the dead and allowing the security services to bring anybody aligned with the bomber to justice it would be a further outrage if yesterday’s events become just another piece of rhetorical shorthand.