It’s 2am on 23rd May 2017.
I have been glued to the news and social media channels since just after 10.30pm last night as news of an ‘incident’ began to emerge. The incident was just a few miles from here, at Manchester Arena. The arena is place I’ve been to many times, situated next to a train station and right in the middle of Manchester City Centre. It’s a very busy place.
Initially reports hinted at a prop or speaker malfunction, and details were obviously very sketchy. As time passed, Greater Manchester Police released a very short statement to say there had been an incident and they were in attendance. Subsequently they released two more statements, one to confirm fatalities and then a further statement to inform us of 19 deaths and around 50 casualties. Until the situation becomes clearer I guess we won’t know the real extent of the attack. I am broken hearted for my city, for those involved, for the emergency services in attendance, for those who will begin to pick up the pieces as the sun rises on a broken Manchester tomorrow.
Since the initial news reports we have learned that Islamic State have taken responsibility for the attack, and they have posted a truly sickening video clip on twitter to warn that this is ‘only the beginning’. The person in the clip even holds up a sign with the date and venue written on it. I half wish I hadn’t watched it but equally I don’t want to bury my head in the sand. The fact is that terrorism is everywhere. It’s world wide. It isn’t being carried out by real Muslims, despite the claims they make. Every decent Muslim I know abhors all of this. It’s worth noting that GMP haven’t confirmed terrorism, though they are treating it as such for the moment.
So I sit here tonight, abandoning the post I was going to write, rambling a little, awake at an hour I really should be sleeping through, worrying about my children. Frightened of the world they will grow up in. It’s nothing new – mothers have been worry over the same sorts of things since time began – but this is my time, and these are my children.
Not long after I began writing this post, my youngest child woke up. He had a late nap today and he woke up ready to play. My usual response to this would be a warm bottle of milk, a nightlight and a cuddle before putting him back down, but tonight we played. I don’t know what his future holds. I can only do my best to make it as peaceful, rewarding and fulfilling as possible. I can snuggle with my baby tonight, and I cannot begin to imagine the pain of a parent waiting for their child to return from the concert at the Manchester Arena tonight, and the pain of those who will wait forever.
I truly wish there was something I could do for those people tonight. It’s heartwarming to see #RoomForManchester on twitter, offering support for those in the area who are affected. I am thankful for GMP, the NHS and my fellow Mancunians.
Tomorrow, Manchester will be a different place. We will be different people. We will be stronger. We will love our neighbour. We will support each other. Because that’s what we do.