I understand that the conventional response to these vile acts of terrorism is not to admit defeat; to ‘never surrender,’ in the words of Churchill. And by golly, if anyone can stand proudly in the face of such adversity, it is the British.
I am also aware after years of therapy that anger is a reaction not to be encouraged, for it takes its victims hostage with little chance of escape until they are ready to address it, and invariably it offers little real consolation or answers, anyway.
But I feel angry about Manchester. As I sit here in front of my computer trying to engage my stiff upper lip, I am far more conscious of my trembling lower one, and what I really want to say at this time are all those things that we’re not supposed to voice because they are inflammatory and ultimately serve no purpose. And yet… I AM SO ANGRY for the victims, for the families, indeed for anyone caught up in yesterday’s latest act of terror, which includes medics and the police and the terrified bystanders, as well as the Moslems who I pray, will not find themselves targeted in the wake of this terrible tragedy.
Naturally, most of my anger is reserved in solidarity for the victims and their families, whose lives have been shattered so suddenly at the hands of this deviant – a man who believed that his warped values were worth more than the lives of innocent children, and who chose such a cowardly way to gain notoriety for his sad little cause.
And I know that there is a time for acceptance and stoicism and ultimately, for forgiveness, but those families need us to be angry right now as well, for what this man’s selfish act has done to them and for the way in which it will blight the generations of their families that succeed them – because it will.
Manchester is not a war zone. This atrocity has not attracted such extensive news coverage because the dead are predominantly white or privileged, it is because the choice of target is so inhumane. Because as appalling and inexcusable as it is when innocents are caught up in the bigger picture of war, this perpetrator chose a pop concert in a safe zone to detonate his hatred. Many of those young girls leaving the arena were slaughtered taking their first independent steps towards adulthood, their parents waiting for them in the wings.
My life has already been able to move on, as it always does after such events. In the end, there is little I can personally do to change the actions or the face of such hatred. So there is a wisdom to that very British advice about ‘carrying on’ and not giving in, no matter what. And I will hold my head up high soon – just not yet – for it gives me no pleasure to know that I can move on where others can’t, and I’m coming to resent the sense of weary acceptance that we are forced to adopt about these assaults on our freedom.
No, terrorism won’t stop us from going about our business, but we have a right to feel angry. And I am angry.