I shouldn’t have to state this proviso at the start of this blog but society has it’s knickers in such a twist that I feel I have to.
What happened in Manchester was terrible…sickeningly terrible and it just shouldn’t have happened…. but it did.
As a fellow human being…that kinda shouldn’t need to be said unless we’re at a stage where anyone who doesn’t say it is immediately on the side of ‘the terrorists’….
We ARE at that stage…oh yeah…I forgot.
I honestly don’t understand the emotional tsunami that has swept the country…a big wave with a blow up Princess Diana riding the crest. Once I was sure none of my Northern rellies or friends were involved (well…when I say make sure…I saw them posting on facebook so I presumed they weren’t)…. and seeing as the closest I’ve ever been to central Manchester was a trip to the theatre once… I decided that I’d leave the grieving to those closer to the event and those who are suffering as a direct result.
On a scale of empathy and sympathy I’ll place Manchester a bit above the 68 children who as result of a suicide bomb in Syria last month but that’s just a natural reaction based on geography. But also in my thoughts is the suicide bomber himself (… and his family…and their community). What makes a young man…because that’s what he was…not a monster…a young man… what makes a young man do a horrendous thing like this not just to other people – but to himself?
Right…moving along… which is what most people are doing by now…except politicians who for some reason unlike policemen, nurses, doctors, teachers, mechanics, sales assistants etc etc are taking a little holiday from campaigning out of respect – which is nonsensical…. it’s almost as if they are admitting that it’s politics that brought about the event….
oh…. yes…they kinda did.
Anyway perhaps a more enlightened and sensible reaction from our government would be ‘to do something about it’…I know…me and my strange ideas eh?
I grew up in the days of the IRA bombing the fuck out of places – there were all sorts of names the IRA were called but I’m not sure ‘terrorist’ was bandied around like it is now. Living in Blackpool and having party conferences in town the risk felt very real, bomb scares in shops and an Irish friend at college being arrested out on a photography brief from college because he had the wrong accent and a camera…and of course my Auntie who reported an IRA cell working in the garage across the road.
My ex- narrowly missed the Birmingham bomb…a choice of two pubs and luckily she chose the right one for a birthday drink.
We lived through it…we coped… we got over it and without the internet it didn’t become a hysterical grief-fest of ‘self important disaster wanking’ (thanks De for that lovely turn of phrase).
But we are where we are as opposed to where we were – so – as the title above says… what can we possibly do?
Now, again, call me a radical thinker (or call me a heartless terrorist sympathiser – I don’t much care which) but I was thinking this morning that all those radicalised Irish Catholics (funded by American sympathisers) don’t seem to want to bomb us any more… so let’s think…. what’s changed?
Oh yes… a peace process happened.
Everyone sat down over a cup of tea, a few beers, a plate of bourbon biscuits and Mo Mowlan’s wig and sorted things out.
Of course it wasn’t ‘quite’ that simple…but that’s the gist – you have to understand what makes young men (and it does tend to be young men in the main) go out and do this shit – you have to talk to them (or at least their representatives)…. you have to realise why they’re pissed off enough to kill people and you have to somehow come to an understanding of each other.
I suspect Jeremy Corbyn has more of a grasp of why the IRA doesn’t bomb us nowadays than Theresa May does – and despite what The Sun says…I think that understanding is a good thing.
Whereas Theresa May just knows how to posture and threaten to hit things with a big stick… and politics in the Middle East are beyond threats… we are already part of hitting out almost randomly with a big stick and until that stops… until we change foreign policy we are going to keep getting young men in this country who feel so alienated from the people they live amidst that they blow themselves up and take many, many other people with them.
It’s a tangled political web….. but you don’t start to unravel it and begin a peace process by continuing to kill people or by selling arms to other people who kill people.