To those Americans who haven't heard, or don't understand:
I know tumblr is American centric, I know that when attacks happen across Europe they get commented on, reblogged, information flooding my dash as my friends reblog. But, once again, an attack here in the UK is seeing little notice. So please, don’t ignore this. This attack is one that has taken 22 lives. 59 people have been injured. Children have died. Children.
Don’t ignore this. Please.
The Manchester Arena isn’t the first, or last terrorist attack that the North West, that England has seen. We’ve lived through the IRA bombings from the 1970s to the 2000s and then 7/7 in London in 2005. The IRA Bombers were known as the 10 pence bombers because they would go to a phone box, pay 10 pence and inform police or media that there was a bomb.
At this present moment in time, we’re horrified and in shock from it all. We’ve had bombings in Warrington, in Manchester before (my family had a terrifying time when an IRA bomb detonated in the Arndale Centre and my great-aunt was working there that day) and it’s stuck with us. Our memory of the Arndale Bombing in the 1990s by the IRA is a memory the community has in the North West.
We know the fear, the horror, the mind-numbing terror.
But we also know the feeling of needing to do something, to help. Taxi drivers turning off their metres. Local shops and businesses taking in the displaced. Do-gooders and kind people who just want to help offering to ferry loved ones to and from the city so they can find their missing loved ones.
This is something we do here.
We don’t have the lingering concern of school shootings, or attacks by men or women who own too many guns and have too little stability.
But we know bombers. We know terrorism. Whether it’s made by our government, by policy, or by wars we shouldn’t be fighting. We know this.
I had a friend ask me “why Manchester?” when I told them about the attack. My initial answer was that it’s a big, important city. It’s a good target for bombers to hit. Like London. Like Liverpool. But the truth is… In the UK, we have lots of cities, lots of places that are good targets because we live on top of each other. Our lives intersect on so many levels and our cities reflect this. So it’s not so much “why Manchester?” but more “why now?”, “why a concert?”, “what is gained by this?”
When the IRA bombed Warrington in the North West in 1993, their intention was to sow terror and to put pressure on the British government to withdraw from Northern Ireland. We know that they wanted Ireland to be united. We’ve known that for years.
What does Islamic State want? What does Daesh want? To sow terror, certainly. But what else? What else does bombing an Arena full of young women—girls, mothers, daughters, sisters—gain them?
This is what is so horrid for us here in the North West. We’ve lived with the knowledge of bombings being possible for decades. It’s ingrained in our past. My mother, my aunts and uncles. My brothers. My family. We’ve lived it all. We live it now.
So don’t ask, “why Manchester?” we know why. We know why. Warrington. Arndale. The Manchester Arena. We know why it’s us in the North West.