The bomb

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I’m not knocking anyone. But I know music doesn’t heal, and nowhere is safe.

Manchester was bombed again – the last one was the IRA explosion that destroyed a part of the city centre. As an aside, my father was once questioned about another IRA bombing back in the mid eighties. He didn’t do it, but had stayed at the hotel a couple of days before the attempt on Margret Thatcher’s life. Bombs are emotive – made in small workshops – plotted – planned – ingenious – terrorising – cowardly. They have targets but they don’t aim. Collateral damage is inevitable, whether a suicide vest, or a million dollar cruise missile. I guess that’s an important lesson to remember from the ‘War on Terror’. But we don’t think about it from any other side than from our own White, Western, lard-ass, perspective. NO cruise missiles will ever scream down onto my village. NO meeting or Think Tank will plot a multi-billion dollar attack where I walk/shop/eat. I am civilised, and I’m on the side of civilisation…. Right?

My niece is in Manchester right now. She was last night, too. She’s at a public school in the city. There is an outside chance she was at that concert last night, but I haven’t had a phonecall this morning, so I’m guessing she wasn’t. These things have a funny way of wanting to wrap you up in them, churn a piece of you into the chaotic fall-out, and in times like these it’s all too easy to start posting ‘Pray for Manchester’ on social media, or replacing your avatar with a British flag. Godawful jingoism always rears up in the face of a non-white terror. People in the UK this morning are using words like Justice, Revenge, and saying things like ‘Lets hit the bastards back……bomb Iraq.’ And – as of 9.17am GMT – 22 people are dead, blown to pieces at a child music concert. Caused by one man. No-one knows anything of the finer details – a reporter asked the head of the Manchester Police if he knew if nails were wrapped around the bomb. Hideous thing to ask, and I didn’t see the purpose until I watched another hour of circulating news on TV. It was all the same thing over and over: 22 dead, 59 injured, bomb, concert, running, people stampeding over each other, jumping from balconies, communities ‘coming together’. What else is there to say about an event that took place in less than a second and had been locked down within half an hour? Not much, just newscasters repeating titbits of information while looking serious and trying hard to conjure up something new to say while standing outside of a featureless hospital entrance.

IF you think about it, the questions are few and we all know the answers to them anyway. We know why/who, the important stuff. And now another 22 innocent people are dead. No amount of ‘Thoughts and prayers’ statements will change a single thing. Praying (ok, and oil money) got us into this in the first place. It won’t get us out.