A week after the tragic events in Manchester and we are all still reeling from the shock, I felt compelled to write to express my total admiration for the all those involved in the devastating events that unfolded on the evening of Monday 22nd May 2017.
People who were going about their daily lives, as many are when these tragedies strike – treating their children to a pop concert by one of the most popular recording artists of current times, going to their jobs at the MEN Arena or driving their taxis to drop excited people at the venue – then, suddenly, in a single split second, their lives changed forever.
The immediate effects can only be described as devastating. The panic, horror and sheer terror that was undoubtedly felt by those at the centre of events can only truly be articulated by those that were there and I cannot comprehend how they must have felt at that precise moment, fearing that something terrible had just happened, without perhaps knowing just how terrible.
This brings me on to the reaction of not just those caught up in the epicenter of the tragedy, but to all those people that rallied round to help those affected.
The taxi drivers who turned their meters off to ferry people to safety; the people who opened their front doors to offer people shelter; other locals whose only thought was to head to the arena to see how they might be able to help and then every single person since who has offered their help and support, no matter how big or little that support, to those affected or involved in the incident.
There has been much talk since of the perpetrator and, quite rightly, police have acted quickly to close down the suspected network he has allegedly been working within but, what shines out like a beacon from all this terror and tragedy is the word ‘Love’ – not Hate – and that this is echoed from every community and every avenue of Manchester’s cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse culture.
We, like many organisations dealing with the impact of Hate Crime, have noticed a change in Hate Crime reporting since the tragic event. We have supported people who have been targeted because they are Muslim and have experienced some really nasty incidents. Some of these have been on the street but many have been online. Hate hurts however it is expressed and it’s another cowardly act. We must all work to ensure that the love and compassion we feel drowns out the Hate of others.
Let’s be clear, the perpetrators of this act of cowardice no more represent British Muslims than the brutal killer of politician Jo Cox represents white British people. That is demonstrated from the absolute condemnation from Manchester’s Muslim communities.
Stop Hate UK is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Manchester and denounce the terrible events of a week ago and I myself am proud to see a community coming together in such an amazing and truly inspiring way.
#westandtogether with Manchester