by Paula Smith
Although not the first terror attack to hit our nation, the Manchester attack is particularly hard hitting because of the nature of the attack – it was clearly aimed at children. Parents want to protect their children at all costs as much as possible and now it seems they have been the prime target of an atrocious crime. The disturbed individual placed him- self in a place where he could maximize the amount of young victims.
The suicide bomber chose the second largest indoor concert arena in Europe to carry out his act of hate. The emergency services were contacted just after 10.30pm on Monday the 22nd and the response was immense and rapid. Reports from Manchester are that the acts of kindness shown by locals and even those who attended the concert are reinforcing the solidarity coming out of the city right now. The business as usual attitude has been demonstrated today and the residents are quick to say that they will be defiant when faced with terror.
This is the worst attack in the UK for twelve years and although not a stranger to such attacks the United Kingdom is shocked but showing a united front. Now that the names of the victims are being revealed it makes it all the more raw and real – the youngest being eight.
The sense of a united country is being shown in other ways too regarding religion – Authorities including the Mayor of Manchester are being clear that this single act has no connection what so ever with any religion. Young Muslims attending the vigil were adamant to state the importance of their presence to mourn the deceased and also to show unity as a religious group who share absolutely nothing with those sick enough to carry out such acts. This multicultural city seeks to be strong, united and determined.
Like many cities Manchester provides for the young and vibrant population living there but now that arena is the scene of a horrendous crime. The popular group ‘Take That’ were expected to play within the next few days but of course that has been cancelled. Today’s youngsters cannot help but be aware and potentially exposed to the risk of these attacks perpetuated towards them as an audience. This attack mirrors the attacks that occurred in Paris also at a concert.
How do we talk to our children about these atrocities? The BBC screened a program on a children’s channel earlier, which addressed the subject in a comprehensible manner with the aim to inform and not frighten. It is important our children do not experience anxiety as a result of attacks but that they are conscious that such acts are rare.
Reports of a homeless man helping those affected is very touching. Money is being raised for his case. He said he would not be able to live with himself if he did not help out. His support involved assisting children who were seriously injured. This man and others like him contribute to keeping people strong, defiant in the face of hate and united when faced with tragedy.