My Heart is Reeling.

Never in my darkest nightmares did I imagine to be faced with an awful act of terrorism as this one, let alone one so close to my own heart, hitting not only the front doorstep of my home city, but a livelihood so close to my heart as well.

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I don’t necessarily know if this is going to be the best thing to do, voicing my irrelevant 18-year-old opinions in a blog post. But there’s just so much that a 140 character tweet can’t hold. And feeling so helpless at a time like this really plays on thoughts and emotions. This is an outlet. And I know there may be people disagreeing with what I have to say, but something horrific has happened and I don’t want to live quiet in fear. I am typing and I cannot stop. I can’t really focus on much else with all of this on my mind.

Obviously the greatest tragedy at a time like this is the 22 people who have lost their lives, and those with injuries that will possibly haunt them for life. Men, women and children. An eight year old girl. Parents. A police officer. Every aspect of the entire event resonates horror, too saddening to even comprehend. There are also the children still missing, my heart can only hope these families find some closure. My thoughts and prayers go out so so much to every single victim, family member and friend directly affected. I am so so sorry you’re having to go through this. In darkness we must find strength, although that may seem to be the hardest thing to search for, never give up.

Another victim is definitely Ariana Grande herself. Although I can see the perspective that she should not have been prioritised by so many in terms of wellbeing or the effect this has had on her, it is still important to consider the effect this is going to have on her. At 23 years old, probably the biggest female singer of our generation, under constant scrutiny of the media, this is an event that will never ever leave her mind. She is undoubtedly at no fault whatsoever, but you can understand why she would deem herself to be. I cannot imagine how she must be feeling, but can only hope that she finds the closure she needs and is not defeated by this awful tragedy. Ariana represents so many modern-day values, supporting everything that is right with the world, a respectable idol for so many in more ways than one, with a constant respect for her fans, and even those that are not. I hope that she can grow in strength from this, no matter how long it may take. She may need time off and I hope that can only be respected. Although the media are trying hard to find faults and photograph her, but that’s for a later rant. I hope we can find a way to disassociate her name from this and focus on every other good she does. Her pledge to pay for the funerals of the victim begins only to represent the kind soul she holds. I hope she can only be respected further.

I mentioned this event being close to me in more than my hometown. I can relate so deeply to the importance and safety of a concert. As a fangirl myself, I know and see so many young people today, who allow music and live music to stand for their happiness, support them in their hardest times and pave the way for a livelihood they could not live without. Music creates friendships both online and in real life that someone could not truly understand without experiencing it. I know because I am living in it. Creating friends, watching shows, making memories is something I know all too well, and I cannot believe will now be haunted by such devastating consequences. Not only that but at my local arena, where so many of these memories have been made. My hope is that this does not discourage these moments. That fans can stay strong and see through the fear they’re experiencing, especially anyone at the show on Monday, or due to go to one in the coming months. If anything heightened security should relieve this pressure, not spark it. In times of injustice we can unite and protect each other without hiding in fear of living our lives. And Manchester has come to represent that.

This is why I love my city. Why you will never meet a Mancunian ashamed of the values and culture we hold so dear to our hearts. Monday and Tuesday’s events saw so many acts of kindness, in a time where humanity is seemingly bleak. From taxis offering free rides, to strangers offering their spare beds, and people walking the streets to provide water and food to the services and volunteering. This is what we believe in. The incredible turnout at yesterday’s vigil also shows this. Just hours after the shopping centre was suspiciously evacuated, not even a day after our city was shook, we can come together. Manchester is one of the most culturally diverse cities also, which is why it upsets me further that ignorant people can STILL blame terrorism on entire religions. We can disassociate the KKK from Christianity, why is it so hard to disassociate ISIS from Islam?

Which brings me to the media. Which has represented many of the things I hate about humanity when so many others can represent what is good. From journalists seeking to find the best to those representing the worst it’s a fine line. I can appreciate those reporting only on what has been proven, overstepping no boundaries and seeking to tell the truth. What I cannot appreciate is those journalists pestering the families of victims and waiting outside hospitals, or using a national crisis to voice their own racist opinions, or writing headlines that are just straight up wrong. And personally I think these papers need boycotting. Especially todays Daily Mail holding an article about how ‘Ariana and her outfits are a symbol of everything Islamists hate.’ I have never been so disgusted in my life in some of the things I have read. This has been emphasised to me further in a thread I read on twitter about how the media makes trauma worse which you can see here. Don’t give these outlets the attention they crave, wait for the official sources.

I’d also like to note the lack of media attention to the other incidents of yesterday, such as the ISIS takeover in Marawi, Philippines, The bombing in Bangkok as car bombing in Syria, All killing innocent children and civilians as well. Although obviously these Western world attacks get the majority of media coverage due to their close vicinity, I do not think it’s fair to not mention these attacks at all. I can guarantee there are people reading this completely unaware of said attacks. This is what contributes to heightened Islamophobia, as the attacks on their own homes and people are shunned away in favour of our own. ISIS does not represent a religion.

Finally I’d like to address some twitter threads I’ve seen about safety in an incident like this, because until a resolve is found, which I pray to god we reach soon, one can only raise awareness of how to correctly cope in an awful situation, and find protection in a hard time. This thread states the safest way to react being caught in a stampede like situation. And this tweet directs how to access medical ID, your phone emergency contacts just a click away. At times like this I think the good of social media is overlooked. Twitter and Facebook helped to circulate and identify missing people, safe places, phone numbers etc. And drawing attention to the alternate catastrophes in the Eastern world, which personally I think gives my generation a greater knowledge and outlook on situations like this, and the ability to stamp out narrow-minded opinions. Although it can also sadly be responsible for heightening fear, fake news, and thriving off the mentioned media negatives, the good cannot be overlooked.

Do not be afraid. Do not let events like this live your life in fear. In times of tragedy allow yourself to represent and seek out the good in humanity rather than focus on the bad. We can be so much more than this and hopefully one day, we can overcome this evil that we cannot let define us.

RIP beautiful angels. Pray for the World.

PS. please support the idea to get Ariana’s song ‘One Last Time’ to Number 1.

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