Thoughts on Terror

Recent happenings in the world have left me feeling very angry and confused. I wasn’t going to blog anything about it, but I’ve found in the last two weeks it’s all I can think about. It might be somewhat cathartic to get it out, so here goes.

I am of course referring to the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London. On May 22nd Salman Abedi a horrific monster, detonated a deadly nail bomb as thousands of young people were leaving the MEN after Ariana Grande’s concert. 22 people lost their lives, among them 7 children, the youngest being just 8. Many more were seriously and critically injured. And for what? So one evil extremist could carry out a senseless attack under the influence of the most cowardly and despicable ideology.

A mere 12 days later, in London, 3 more monsters carried out yet another fatal attack. They drove a van into innocent pedestrians on London Bridge, before going on to stab and slash others at Borough Market. 7 people lost their lives, and some 50 others were again seriously injured.  As was the case with Manchester, the stories of the victims are quickly emerging. One woman, Chrissy Archibald died in the arms of her fiance. Another victim, James McMullan had been out celebrating the completion of a business project that he had dedicated all of his time to for two years.

What is exceptionally poignant about this, is the fact that these people probably expressed the same shock and sympathy for the Manchester victims less than two weeks before they met the same tragic end. I just cannot fathom it.

I spent 3 hours on Sunday evening, like many I’m sure, absolutely engrossed in the One Love Manchester concert. Ariana Grande’s sheer courage and strength in the face of something so awful was a source of comfort to many. The whole concert was such a beautiful display of love and solidarity. I am just in complete awe of this woman. She could have hidden away, she could have stopped performing for a very long time. No one would have blamed her. But she didn’t. Instead she brought some of the biggest names in music together in direct defiance to these evil atrocities. Even after another horrifying terror attack occurred on the eve of the concert, she still carried on. She spent the days in the run up to the event visiting her injured fans in hospital, and meeting with the friends and families of those who sadly passed away.  I mean what an incredible feat of bravery. If it were me, I honestly don’t know how I would pick myself back up.

The one thing we are hearing time and time again in the wake of these attacks is that we shouldn’t let hate win. And I agree 100%. The concert on Sunday night restored everything these vile jihadists do their best to extinguish, love, happiness and unification. Though everything is scary and uncertain, we can’t stop going about our lives out of fear. It’s exactly what they want.

With that being said, something needs to be done. Our solidarity in the aftermath of these tragedies simply just isn’t enough. It’s not enough for politicians to spew us the same rhetoric over and over again while we sit back and just wait for the inevitable. They are telling us hate won’t win, but at the moment it kind of is. So many innocent lives have been lost and it’s happening at an increasingly frequent and alarming rate. It’s not a case of if anymore, it’s a case of when and where. We are often told not to be angry. And I get where people are coming from with that,  “reacting in a similar way to these extremists is exactly what they want”, but I don’t entirely agree. At the end of the day all these cowards want to do is kill, and they are succeeding. So I’m sorry, but that makes me fucking angry.

What makes me even angrier is the fact that many of these attackers were known to police and intelligence services?! Members of Salman Abedi’s community had expressed their concerns over his apparent radicalization and extremist views to the police. Yet nothing was done. Salman was allowed to carry on as normal. Similarly, Kurham Butt actually appeared on a channel 4 documentary ‘The Jihadists Next Door’ which details the rise of Islamist Extremism in the UK. In the show, Butt was seen praying with a group of extremists in Regents Park, and fraternising with a man who warned that one day the flag of ISIS would fly over Downing Street. Other members of Butt’s circle expressed the views that homosexual’s should be thrown from tall buildings, Britain should adopt Sharia Law, and adulterers should be stoned to death.

Why channel 4 are even giving these vile creatures a platform is beyond me!  How are we allowing these dangerous groups to propagate? What’s more is it’s also been claimed that Butt was reported to anti- terror groups on two separate occasions. One neighbour seemingly reported him after she caught him trying to convert her children to Islam and radicalise them. I mean I’m no expert on these matters, but surely that’s a gross failure on the part of those who are supposed to protect us?

How are these people slipping through the cracks when their evil intent is so inherently obvious? Who’s bright idea was it to make a TV show highlighting these monsters, allowing them to brag, instead of reprimanding them for it? I just don’t understand. I get that in most cases these extremists can be hard to infiltrate, but turning a blind eye to the ones that are right in front of us, in my opinion, is unforgivable.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to take away from the brilliance of the police and the emergency services, I mean the Met had responded to the attack in London in 8 minutes. That’s incredible. We just need more preventative measures. I’m not suggesting we close boarders or build walls or anything like that, but we need real action. Whatever form that comes in is up to the world leaders we’ve put our trust in. They just cannot continue to let us fall victim to attack after attack.

The fact is no one should go to a concert and not return home. No one should go out for a drink and have it end in tragedy. It needs to stop.