This opinion piece is the opinion of the author and not that of UK Defence Journal.
I’m going to agree with Donald Trump on something and it’s by describing those that carried out these attacks as ‘losers’ – because that is what they are now, that is what they have always been and that is what they will be in future.
Manchester Arena should have been like any other concert, enjoyable for anyone that goes, an amazing experience for those people that really like Ariana Grande and an electrifying night overall.
It was all of that until, at the end of the concert, a potential suicide bomber let off his explosive device in the foyer area of the Manchester Arena and plunged the entire stadium into chaos and fear.
The first victims, Georgina Callander and Saffie-Rose Roussos, have been named and there are more to come but even knowing who these two girls are is only going to be an indication of what is to come – Georgina was only 16 years old, was a big fan of Ariana Grande and, like many of the other people there, was excited to see her – Saffie-Rose was only 8 years old and was separated from her mother and sister (who were also at the concert) when the bomb went off only to be found later in the worse case scenairo. And that’s just where this is beginning, there are currently 20 other confirmed deaths and nearly 60 others injured and taken to local hospitals. You don’t have to go far to see the injuries, they are all over the news right now showing people being treated at the scene and taken from the scene.
As for the bomber, who’s motives have already been condemned by everyone from English Prime Minister Teresea May to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, we still don’t know the core personal motive or whether or not he was affiliated with the Islamic State – we probably won’t know for days to come. One thing is clear, and you can see this in the eyes of the people in videos that are all over the Internet now, it worked, it’s scared people, made people run for their lives and put fear into the heart of an event.
Even with the goal of terrorism being to strike fear into the heart of a community and aiming to pit us against each other, it didn’t work. We saw the bravery of those both at the concert and the emergency services who, knowing there was a chance there could be another bomb, ran into the explosion to help others in need. On top of that, it was generosity of those that opened their homes to people that had no where to go and were scared, even local businesses and taxi drivers who helped shelter or transport people away out of generosity without any need for payment.
Here are some things we do know right now; 22 people have died and 59 are injured, a man has been arrested in relation to the attack, Manchester Arena and its surrounding area has been cut off from public access and police and security services in Britain are working towards uncovering what happened and why it happened. On top of that, and in an election season, the general election campaign has been suspended into the foreseeable future out of respect.
This is going to take time before we all know the full picture and what we know so far isn’t a lot. Here’s the thing though, there are a few things we can do to make sure that we don’t spread misinformation or have the wrong conclusions before the evidence is gathered. Don’t share news articles that are ‘fake news’ – there were no 50 unaccompanied children at the Manchester Hotel nor was there a gunman outside the ‘Royal Oldham Hospital’; these things didn’t happen.
Also after these attacks, it’s not ok to create fake missing persons reports on Twitter just to generate re-tweets or followers (there are actual people missing) and it’s not helping people by tweeting or posting on social media news reports that are form reliable sources or outright false. Now, two last things, the memes are inappropriate (none of which I will post with this story) and also, if you think that using the laughing emoticon to like statuses about victims thinking that this is all funny then you are no better than the terrorist and his accomplishes that condemned an 18 year old, an 8 year old and 20 other people to death.
This is all hard to swallow especially since the victims are so young and this type of terrorist attack hasn’t hit the western world until now. We question now whether stadiums or concert halls are safe or whether we can allow our kids to leave home to do the things they want to do but that’s the wrong mentality to have. We can be scared and its fair to be but when we move on with life and show that we won’t be stopped in our every day lives by terrorism, we win.
Whilst Ariana Grande has cancelled her concerts, something I believe she should have pushed on with to show we won’t be bullied into stopping (also that she demonstrates with her style, independence and tendency to show skin, everything Islamic State hates), life is going to go on and in doing so we should never forget those who’s lives were taken, what has happened in Manchester or how those there (such as the brave first responders and those in audience) ran to help others; we can’t stop because that’s what the terrorists want.
Finally, before I finish this off, Islamic State has taken responsibility for the attack in Manchester. Just a few quick things about that; its highly unlikely IS planned or carried out the attack and more likely that they have taken credit for the terrorists actions; also IS is in a bad state literally, they are loosing ground against the Iraqi Army, their territories have shrunk and their recruitment is down. Whilst this puts IS in a more dangerous situation as they may strike out against others more frequency as they loose ground, they are nothing but a bunch of disgruntled men using social media to hate on everything. As Ariana Grande would say, ‘I got one less problem without ya’.