Manchester, England, has been left devastated by a brutal suicide bombing at Manchester Arena following an Ariana Grande concert. The death toll has already reached 22, with 59 more hospitalized with serious injuries. The bomber’s homemade shrapnel bomb has insured that many of the survivors will very likely suffer lifelong effects from their injuries. Among the dead, Saffie Rose Roussos, a girl only eight years of age, has been identified. Now, we must wait for more to be identified, with the horrible knowledge that many young, innocent lives were stolen or ruined in yet another senseless and appalling act of violence.
When the bomber, identified as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, walked into Manchester Arena, he did so with the intention of indiscriminately killing as many people as possible with his attack. The young age of his intended victims did not hinder the British-born suicide bomber’s attempt to wreak as much damage as possible, nor has it stopped ISIS from claiming responsibility for the abhorrent attack. As we bear witness to these atrocities committed against our fellow human beings, against our children, we must wonder to ourselves if there is any line our enemy will not cross.
How long will we sit complacent and allow these atrocities to continue? How long until they strike us where it hurts the most? Every moment of hesitation is a moment too long that our children must live in a world where they are no longer safe.
There is no easy answer, as there never is when dealing with humans. Blind discrimination will win us no favors, and lose us potential allies in the quest to root out extremists whose only desire is to create chaos and fear. However, unity is and always will be the first step in countering the attacks that target the very core of our society. While we are attacked from without, we slowly chip away at ourselves from within, immersed in petty squabbles over religion and gender. All the while, our very future is at stake.
Many politicians urge us to continue on as usual, because if we succumb to fear, then the terrorists have already won. Once, this was sound advice, but the veneer has long since cracked, and we have lost our solidarity. Normal is no longer good enough. We must take those extra steps to show we are not afraid, that we are one people, no matter our nationality, our religion, our skin color, or our political views. We must stand together and take action, urge our leaders to take action, and let them know that we do not accept that these attacks are “part and parcel to living in a big city.” We should not lie down and accept that this is what our lives, our world, has become. We have the power put an end to these horrors, to forge a new future for our children. All we must do is put aside petty differences, stand united, and tell the enemy that we aren’t going to let them continue their reign of terror any longer.