Hey guys, so this is going to be a pretty painful post to write but I am going to write it, as it feels very poignant to do so right now.
On Thursday 25th May, me and a friend were supposed to be heading to The O2 in London to see the American pop singer Ariana Grande perform live as part of her Dangerous Woman tour. All week me and my friend have been so excited for the show and have been texting each other on WhatsApp about what we were looking forward to the most.
Unfortunately, an event happened late last night (22nd May 2017) that put these plans on hold. There was a horrible barbaric terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester at approximately 10:30pm and over 20 people have lost their lives, some of them being children. I literally just picked up my phone to check the news before I went to sleep last night and I was in complete and utter shock. I literally stayed up most of the night just flicking through the news and Twitter to see what was unfolding. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing, how could somebody do this at an innocent pop concert?
The next date on Ariana’s tour was to play at The O2 on Thursday, the very same night me and my friend was supposed to be going to. I am, of course, very thankful that both me and my friend are still here and are safe and that we weren’t in Manchester but this has really hit us both, mainly because it is extremely close to home. It literally feels like a nightmare and I keep replaying an image in my head of what it would have been like if this had been at The O2, which has only one exit and could have potentially had a whole load more casualties.
I went to bed and hoped that when I woke up it wouldn’t have been as bad as how it initially sounded. I was wrong, and unfortunately it feels even worse. At time of writing this, 22 people have died and 59 have been injured. Many of these injuries are on children, children! My heart is breaking at the thoughts of what their families are going through. I only hope that those who have passed away have done so with love in their hearts after seeing their idol perform live on stage.
It has been so lovely and reassuring to see that many people in the local community last night came together to help one another. Part of me really wanted to do something to help, but what could I do living so far away? If helping by sharing information on missing people and finding shelter for the night then that is what I have done. It was also great to see the Emergency personnel come together with a resilient plan to tackle this and to ensure the safety and security of the community was carried out. I can only imagine the strain this put on the services last night.
I also woke up to the news that a distant friend of mine who I have briefly spoken to in the past is missing, and nobody has heard from him since last night at the show. He got split up from his friends at the end of the show. The fact that I actually know this guy and have spoken to him via different platforms on the internet has made this so real for me, and so raw. I can’t even begin to imagine how his family and close friends are feeling right now. Martyn Hett is his name, and I used to be obsessed watching his hysterical videos on YouTube. You may have heard of his “Audrey Roberts Noise” videos, which always tickle me. Watching these videos today though has been heartbreaking, and I hope that he is found soon.
I just want to touch on one final thing about this horrible attack and condem anybody out there reading this who believes that this is the fault of Islam or all Muslims. All I have heard from people I live with and the occasional ignorant troll on social media is that we should ban all Muslims into this country and that this is all down to Islam etc. Firstly, this is in result of extremists, murderers, brainwashed propogandists. ISIS have claimed responsibility for this series of murders but they are an extremely small percentage of the community of Islam. It makes me sick hearing people talking about banishing innocent people who condem these attacks as much as everyone does, what exactly have they done? Save your energy and channel your anger and rage at the people who actually carry out these crimes. The fact that these murderers are carrying out these attacks shows that they are even going AGAINST their faith, so how can you blame this on Islam? Hitler in his time carried out far worse attacks on people and yet we don’t condemn Christianity (he was an avid Christian apparently). People really need to take a good hard look at themselves for believing such rubbish and stop being so ignorant.
The one thing I will now say is this, we all now need to unite as a whole and come together. Stop letting hate win. We are all human, we all have our differences but that is exactly what makes us unique. People who commit crimes need to be punished, yes, but for the rest of us we all need to try and continue with our lives and not let propaganda or fear overrule us.
I am sad I will not be at the concert on Thursday but I am also very thankful that me and my friend are both alive and can continue to have some shared good memories in the future.