By this point, most of the world has been made aware of the atrocious events that happened last Monday at the MEN arena in Manchester. For me and my family those events were very close to home in both meanings of the phrase.
Physically, as we live a mere 6 miles from the arena itself, but more importantly emotionally – as one of the victims was a friend to so many people, including my wife.
I won’t write about Martyn here. I have no place to do so as I personally wasn’t acquainted with him, but even if I did I don’t believe my words would ever do the justice that his family and friends have done with their own words in the media over the past few days. This post is more about Manchester in the aftermath of these events and where it goes from here.
Everyone worldwide has been amazed at the compassion and solidarity that the people of Manchester have shown, the way in which everyone has flown in the face of what these mindless individuals hope to achieve with their senseless actions. I’m not for one minute suggesting this is a “Manchester” thing – I’m confident that should something like this happen anywhere in the world people of that community would react in the same way, it’s only human to have those feelings of grief and empathy and want to help others. There is something that Manchester does have that’s different though, I don’t know how or why, but Manchester has this raw passion for it’s own people and culture that is simply infectious. It’s sadly something I’ve only come to notice myself in the past few days, and I almost feel guilty for not seeing it all the years that I’ve lived here.
That feeling you get from listening to the poem in that video? That’s exactly what I’m talking about – I don’t quite know how to explain it in words, but you don’t quite get that anywhere else.
So what’s next?
This is the reason for me writing this post. This passion, this love, this “movement” that has put its arms around Manchester and brought its people even closer together. The same thing that has brought us all together regardless of age, race, religion, belief or background. The very thing that has sheltered us from the hate and discrimination of the minority that wish to divide and conquer.
What if it just… grew?
What if this spread beyond Manchester, beyond England, beyond the UK? What if we used this to create a snowball effect? What if we could put those same arms around everyone else in the world that stands united against the inhumane acts of these individuals.
All the politics and security in the world can’t stop these things from happening, they can only react to them once they’ve happened. But I truly believe we as a people can. We can show these people what real love, friendship and acceptance looks like – not by showing them that what they believe is wrong, but by showing them what they are looking at is right, and just, and true.
Let’s just get back to being human again.
Let Manchester manifest mankind.