In the wake of attacks like Manchester, there are no words that can truly reflect the scope of hurt, loss, anger and pain felt at such a cowardly act.
As with The Bataclan attack in Paris and the Bastille Day attack in Nice, and so many others, the targets of the bombing were people out having a good time with their friends and family. 175 people died in those attacks, including a dozen children. A further 800 were injured.
Monday’s attack in Manchester was, like the others, unconscionable. Ariana Grande’s fans are predominantly young teenagers, who were with their family and friends on Monday night, singing, dancing, enjoying themselves. That someone would set out to target innocent children is unthinkable. Grande said it herself in a simple message, ‘Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so, so sorry. I don’t have words.’
Such attacks certainly have one thing in common – a lack of humanity. So too does some of the response, with jokes made in poor taste for the ‘likes’ online – the jokers seemingly forgetting about the children murdered in cold blood – and reality television personalities even using the attack as an opportunity to flirt with the pop singer whose fans were killed. (The person in question later claimed his account was hacked, presumably once his PR team noticed the backlash.)
But humanity always rises to the surface. The unsung heroes in the emergency services worked selflessly to save lives. Local hotels took in children separated from their guardians. Taxi drivers offered free lifts home to those stranded in the aftermath. And away from the jokes online, #roomformanchester started trending as people offered those affected somewhere to stay and any help little they could provide.
As we attempt to process attacks like Manchester, The Bataclan and Nice, those selfless, small acts of humanity remind us of the good in the world when the bad threatens to overwhelm us.