People were shocked, speechless and shattered on Monday night after the attack in Manchester. It is now known as the worst terror attack in Britain since 2005. While it took only a few seconds to blow parts of the Manchester Arena, the blow felt by each and every person present there still resonates in the building. Should we therefore say that the suicide bomber’s goal was achieved?
On that night, the message that was being sent by the attacker was clear and simple – terror reigns supreme. At least, that is how he would like the story to be told. However, as someone who lives in Manchester, I can see a stronger message being sent by Mancunians: United We Are! With people all around being ever ready to help, it is a message of love that is being spread all across the city and the attacker surely did not see this coming. It is this strong sense of community spirit which keeps Mancunians going; post the attack taxi drivers gave free rides to people, hotels opened their doors to many families, free food was given to people, just to name some of the few things which bind the people.
All around the world, hatred is always the more marketable ‘commodity’ but Mancunians have shown that love can help. While many may disagree, saying this is the ‘kill them with kindness’ approach and it sounds too unrealistic in the world we live, the fact remains that love, empathy and unity are what we need to fight back. Terror is easily spread in the world nowadays and sadly enough, it keeps escalating. Therefore, every little step that could counteract it matters. A comforting smile which says ‘we will pull through together’ or ‘we are not one of them’ is always helpful.
As Mauritians, what we can take from this tragic incident is the fact that even though it is getting harder and harder to claim that some places are safer than others, our little island can still be viewed as one of the less terror prone countries. Our strength resides in our diversity and plurality. As long as we keep the flames of compassion, respect and empathy burning, we are one step closer to sabotaging every suicide bomber’s goal.