Time of mourning, time of reflection. A week has passed after the bombing at Manchester Arena and I just can’t stop thinking about the reasons that lie behind such an act of hatred. Not the first time I give some serious thought to the things we have done, or have not, that could have prevented the death of innocent people. Syria, Paris, Lebanon, Brussels, Yemen, London…I mean, have our leaders, and have we the people of the world, actually learned something?
Governments have promised to fight terror abroad for the safety of its people, however more innocents, many children among them, have suffered the consequences of airstrikes and terror within the borders of the places they call home. Consequently, public discourse was radicalised and we now hear about sovereign rights and border controls. Recently, to give an example of this delusion, just read about Trump’s refusal to endorse a much needed refugee plan, worked by Italy and other EU member states for months, at the G7 Summit in Taormina!
Society is divided and, out of fear and misinformation, could blame an ethnic group or creed for the violence they live. However, even when ‘leaders’ pretend to stress on the danger of our differences, these are actually our strenghts. The diversity of ideas and beliefs, part of the values we all hold dear, nurture our understanding of the world and its affairs. This is the reason why many Muslims around the globe stand against Daesh. The same reason many of us -Christians, Jews, black, white, gay, straight, women, men, purple, green, and many other labels you can possibly imagine- know that a suicide bomber doesn’t represent Islam.
Last Saturday, Muslims began a 30-day period of fasting and reflection, the Ramadan. With the painful scenes of the Manchester attack still in our minds, knowing that difficult times are still ahead and that we must hold together, we should respectfully join the period of reflection. In the spirit of what’s right, it’s time to take control of the situation, and face the root causes of violence that lie in the heart of our socities. This evil cannot be defeated with bombs or strikes, but rather with more pluralism and diversity.
We must propel mutual understanding by means of education and culture, starting in our local communities. Migration and refugees are a reality, hence government officials and civil society need to assess the more suitable policies to assist people running from fear and destruction, and to accompany them during their adaptation to new customs and traditions. We could actually learn much from Germany in this regard.
Despite the pain it caused, Mancunians reminded us, as solemnly written by columnist Owen Jones, that we must ’emphasis all the things that unite this diverse society, and reject those who urge to do otherwise.’ On behalf of all The Priori family, I extend our condolences to the families of the 22 persons that were killed at Manchester Arena.