How to respond. A week on, it feels as if the people of Manchester, in the wake of the horrifyingly pointless tragedy of the Arena, have taken the country’s politicians to school.
Miles away in the south, I am just another helpless watcher. As I am of yesterday’s news of the latest massive bomb in Kabul. Helpless. Useless. But watching my fellow humans in the UK manage themselves immediately after Ariana Grande’s concert in a city renowned the world over for the music it has filled people’s hearts with simply felt like a defiant, common sense dose of hope in dark times.
To all still reeling through a tunnel of shadows, my heart goes out to you. I cannot imagine. Yet your humanity, offered in your moment of shocking loss, is doing more for us than you know.
Those taken by this are suddenly gone. But they are not lost.
From my personal Facebook page, this is my post from the day after the event.
“I am so tired. Of all the bullshit. It all depends who is farting down your particular news tube to cloud your view of the world, I know. And to imagine we haven’t always lived in a steadily bobbing sea of bullshit is to admit you had it easy for a time. Which is to be grateful for, mercifully. Today, the no-BS, instinctive getting-on-and-helping of everyone in Manchester reminds us that the story of us sharing the British Isles, like the story of us sharing the planet, is no simple tale of cartoon villains and heroes, but much much more complicated and gradingly lit and shaded. Between my little helpless weeps here and there today, ordinary folk in Manchester have reminded me that humans thrive not on soul-dead disconnection from one another, but on helping each other. They have simply behaved like they see straight through the bullshit and have gotten on with what matters in the real moment. Bitching, sniping and cheating for your tiny corner of the pie feels like a deadening fight. Making a society of this, an economic system of this, slowly kills us all. Helping a stranger, holding a little one in a nightmare, feels like a life affirming triumph. Like real riches. It feels like hope up close. And it glitters from afar.
Make that who we are in all things, UK. Make it that. ”