I’d planned another blog for today but after Monday night’s atrocity, I can’t bring myself to write about anything else.
When I first heard the news it said that it was a gas explosion. I didn’t question it. Why would a terrorist go to an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on a Monday evening? We don’t have terrorists in Manchester. And no matter how awful they are, they wouldn’t target children would they?
As the evening went on (my time zone is 5 hours behind the U.K. so while you were all asleep, it was unraveling on my evening news) I came to the horrific realisation that yes, yes they would attack children. They targeted and killed innocent families.
I’m sure we all squeeze our babies a bit harder now. I’m sure we’re all trying to talk ourselves down from wrapping them up in cotton wool and never letting them out of our sight.
I cried for most of that night imagining how excited these children would have been. How they should have tired for school the next day because they’d still been hopping around in the car at 11pm telling their poor dad how amazing Ariana was.
Parents who arrived to collect their children, believing that no harm could come to their babies between their seats and the foyer, were killed or left standing there unable to find their children.
It’s too sad. It’s a true act of terrorism. They’re targeting our kids and England’s future.
And we won’t stand for it.
‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ is a British phrase – nay, a British way. Us Brits are known for keeping calm and carry on. We don’t let terrorists stop us. We continue to go to work, go to football matches and concerts, shopping malls, on the underground. We come together and comfort each other, we mourn for our lost ones but we never let the terrorists win.
During the World Wars our men went to fight and our women went to work.
With any horror comes the offer of a cup of tea, a chat and it’s back to business. We will never forget these innocent victims. We will never get over them. Even if we didn’t know them, we’ve taken them into our hearts and prayers and we will keep them there forever. But we won’t let the terrorists win!
I haven’t even bothered to learn the suicide bomber’s name. I don’t care to. Let him be forgotten. Let him have died for nothing.
Instead, let’s do the British thing. Offer a cup of tea to our neighbour. Love them and embrace them no matter their religion or ethnicity.
We won’t let the terrorists win. We won’t hate innocent people because of extremists. We won’t hide in our homes while they destroy our beloved country.
I’ve only been to Manchester once. I went with my brother in 2011 for Manchester Pride and I loved it. The city was dedicated to love and accepting people. It had such a buzz about it and you knew it was a special place.
Mancunians have a real sense of community. More than I ever saw growing up in rural Norfolk. This cowardly attack will make them stronger.
My thoughts and prayers are with Ariana Grande. She’ll be carrying a guilt for the rest of her life that isn’t hers to carry.
And with everyone who survived the attack. I hope they find strength and peace and that they won’t let this stop them enjoying their lives.
And my thoughts and heart will always be with the victims and their families. You were taken too soon. The world mourns for you and will remember you. God bless them all.
Saffie Rose Roussos
As our county grieves let’s remember to do something nice for our neighbours. Let’s show the world that we’re not afraid. Let’s keep calm and carry on.