I'm not really one to post spontaneously, nor am I someone who shares my innermost thoughts and feelings freely, but I'm still processing what happened in my hometown of Manchester last night. Normal service will resume tomorrow but it just felt wrong to talk about anything else right now.
Terrorism can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time and atrocities are committed across the world every day. This isn't something we should ever forget. Nor should it be something we actively fear and allow to limit our lives. It just hits you on a new level when it happens in places you have fond memories of, somewhere you used to walk past everyday to work, to people you could know and love... Although no one I know has been affected, I'm sure all of us with loved ones in Manchester had that nightmare 'are they ok?' moment. Luckily for most of us they were, but it could have so easily gone the other way.
It's easy to make what has happened political and for people to make this about their own agenda; twisting a tragedy to fit whatever divisive narrative they're trying to spin. Please do not buy into it. Terrorists create fear not only by making us scared to go about our day to day lives but by dividing us, turning us against our neighbours, planting seeds of mistrust in our minds towards one another. However I think we have to stand together now more than ever.
In the darkness of what has happened we saw some glimmers of hope that show just why I'm proud to be from Manchester. People helping one another and reaching out in whatever ways they can is what we are all about and it was incredible to hear to stories of the emergency services and just normal civilians looking to do something of assistance. I'm sure our city will come out of this stronger and more united than ever.
My heart goes out to everyone affected and everyone who is hurt each and every day by senseless hate and violence. Regardless of politics, geography, culture, language and everything else; we all deserve to live in a world that's safe, where we are free and where we are judged for who we are, not what we are. It's times like these that my belief in that world and our ability to one day reach it is truly tested, but I don't want to give up and I hope you won't either.