Manchester attacks: Kindness amid the horror

Manchester city centre
Manchester city centre
Ian Dunt By

Last night, an improvised explosive device was detonated at Manchester Arena, at the end of a concert by US pop singer Ariana Grande, killing 22 people, including children, and injuring 59 others.

In the aftermath of the attacks, social media is often filled with people spreading false news reports and hatred, typically towards Muslims. It is almost an industry.

Here, we will collect only messages of kindness, solidarity and human decency.

It is not intended as a cocoon, so that people can shield themselves from the news. It is a response to the attack itself. When terrorists kill people in this way they aim to make us afraid and suspicious of one another. Then hatemongers - typically British and American right-wing Islamophobes - help spread that message.


This collection of messages was inspired by the following tweet:

Our response will be to try to contain the blast, by showing that the overwhelming majority of people remain kind, decent, and big-hearted. This is not a platitude. It is a political response.


David Walker, bishop of Manchester, on the Today programme:

"[This is] how we respond to atrocities. We open our hearts. That's often the immediate response. The challenge is to make that a long lasting response.

"I chair a meeting of all the faith leaders from Greater Manchester. We know each other very well, we're very used to coming together and sharing with one another at a very deep level. We all have the interests of the city and one another at heart. We're united. And at a local level within communities in Manchester there's good relations between the mosques, the synagogues, the temples and different faith communities and those with no faith at all. We will keep those channels of communication open and particularly reach out to anyone who might be vilified as a result of last night.

"There's always after an event like last night a tendency to create blame by association. And so we must make clear that is not the way we behave of react. The guilt for last night belong to the perpetrators and the perpetrators alone. It doesn't go beyond them.

"My message to the Muslim community is: you are one with us. Just as you were yesterday, you are one with us. Part of us. A vital part of us. You will go on being a vital part of us.

"You will be part of how we together respond to last night, how we together repair the damage, rebuild what's destroyed and and go forward as the fantastic, diverse community we are.

"Already this morning, when I first made a comment on social media, the trolls were up and about and presenting their malign influence. But they are a very tiny minority and one we need to isolate in this.

"Most of us are good at distinguishing what is the truth in this. We know, again and again, a little phrase: love wins."

James O'Brien, LBC presenter:

"I can't stop seeing my little girls' faces at the 02 last week. The way they danced. It's almost the distillation of joy, the distillation of freedom. And someone takes that as a target for their hatred.

"I get it. Let me address the people who don't like people like me. It's a simple solution to a complicated problem. We all hate this stuff. I'd love to believe there was a simple solution that could reassure me it would never happen again to me or mine. And that's the appeal of saying we'll shut down mosques and turn hate on haters. I understand that. But they're never right.

"The more complicated the problem the more complicated the solution. Courage and good sense can diminish this. People who have neither should probably keep quiet for a moment. I'm more interested, in this point in time, in who it happened to than who did it.

"[When you go to a concert with your kids] you don't watch the show. You watch your own children watching the show. Dancing with undiluted glee. That's the thing. You don't get that when you're older. They can't believe they're actually there. They hug each other and jump around. You watch the children. You don't watch the stage. And then someone comes along who wants to blow them up. And we're supposed to be able to explain that to our children. I don't know if I can. I don't know if I could even begin.

"I don't have any pat questions for you today. I just have a dad's sense of impotence."

Article: Member of public leads 50 teenagers from arena to safety at nearby hotel

Around 50 children separated from their parents and guardians in the chaos of the Manchester Arena attack were taken to safety by a concerned member of the public.

Paula Robinson, 48, said she was at Victoria train station next to the arena with her husband when she felt the explosion and saw "dozens" of teenage girls screaming and running away from the building.

Read the full article here.

Please note: Health authorities in Manchester have stated that they do not need any further blood donations today.

Excerpt from 'Manchester; A City United', in the Jewish Chronicle:

"Here’s what you need to know about Manchester. Yes it’s a city, but it’s a city that thinks like a town and feels like a village.

"You want an example? This morning at 8am, in the only piece of comic relief of the day, my 67-year-old dad called to reassure me that he and my mum hadn’t been at the concert. I never had him down as an Ariana Grande fan, but still, I knew the call would come, and I was heartened when it did. 

"And there are so many more. As a school boy, if I was ever intimidated by anti-semitic thugs, I was always immediately rescued by strangers of all colours, races and creeds. Why? Because of the innate, unspoken understanding that we don’t tolerate that in Manchester. Not in our city."

Read the full piece here.

 

Excerpt from 'Manchester, United in Grief and Kindness', in the New York Times

"All is sorrow, but we still have kindness and pity."

Read the full piece here.

Article: First deaths in Manchester terror attack revealed

Read the full piece here.

Tweet thread:

As per the comment left at the bottom of the page, you can access free trauma counselling if you have been affected by events in Manchester. Click here to visit the page.

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