People gather for a vigil in Manchester. Credit BBC News via YouTube.
The most upsetting aspect of Monday’s terror attack was the victims at the centre of the tragedy. The bombing occurred as crowds were exiting Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert, a pop star with a decidedly young fan base. As details continue to emerge, we’ve learned that many who died were only children.
As we remember the lives lost and pay tribute to the courage of Manchester, it’s worth considering the victims’ connection to Grande’s music. Far from being a cut-copy pop starlet, Grande has escaped the pitfalls of childhood fame to become a forthright role model. In the past few years, she’s spoken openly on issues related to feminism and equality. Recently, she admonished a man who objectified her in the street, later taking to Twitter to write: ‘We are not objects or prizes. We are QUEENS.’
Given the location of the bombing, Monday’s attack was arguably an attack on our country’s future. But as long as people – no matter their age or background – embrace the spirit of Grande’s words; value themselves and those around them, and resolve to stay strong, resilient and unified, our country’s future looks very bright.
The last few days suggest we are doing just that. Since the attack, we have seen countless stories about the people of Manchester coming together to help those in need. Taxi drivers have offered free rides, locals have invited strangers into their homes, and thousands of Mancunians gathered in Albert Square on Tuesday to show solidarity and support for the city. These gestures can only be made by people who have the strength to resolutely reject hate and division, just as hate can only be spread by the weak and cowardly.
Terrorist attacks like the one on Monday seek to divide us, to spread fear and weaken communities. Unfortunately for extremists, they are targeting a generation who will not allow this to happen. Young people today are growing up to value openness and inclusion. They are socially aware, cultural engaged and they gravitate to figures unafraid to call out injustice. As time passes, we will only become more unified.
The humanity evident in the response to the attack on Manchester is just a sign of things to come.