We’ve seen hundreds of armed police and military personnel running through the streets in Kiev. We’ve seen controlled explosions in Paris. We’ve been to countries that are in full blown active war in their own homeland.
I have never been afraid to walk those streets.
But Manchester is different.
I was born exactly three miles away from the site of Monday’s explosion, and spent the first eighteen years of my life growing up around the city and its sprawling suburbs.
I was there the same day, at a family funeral. I’ve been there in past months, seeing friends, celebrating life events. Manchester is so much my home that I’ve taken only a handful of photos there, and they’re all good times. Unposed. In the moment. Birthdays. Hen parties. Weddings. People having fun, enjoying their lives, accepting each other for who they are and who they want to be.
Celebrating Tom’s 29th at a Greek restaurant
There’s only city I’ve visited (and I’ve probably visited over a hundred at this point) more laid back than Manchester is Brighton. It’s a friendly city, but it’s also a strong city. You can talk to strangers in the street, and they will help you, but they aren’t pushovers. It’s a city of honest, intelligent, fun people.
Even now, the media is commenting on the help provided – that continues to be provided – by the people of Manchester. The homeless people helping the wounded. The old lady in a wheelchair handing out bottles of water. More important is the fact there is so little hate, and so much understanding that there are extremely vulnerable individuals in society who can be brainwashed and act in an inhuman way. And that they don’t represent any city or country or religion’s views. They just abuse them.
(Photo by my school friend Nick)
It’s easy to be shocked and appalled at things that happen in the world, but it’s completely different when it’s your home city. When you have friends and family there. When you still live only an hour and a half away and go back regularly.
(Taken by my school friend Nathaniel, who attended the vigil)
I don’t normally write blog posts about news events. But this isn’t a news event. This is life and death and everything that’s wrong with the world all being played out on TV and the internet with places I know. Faces I know. Streets I’ve walked down alone at the same time of night on my own, without thinking twice.
I am in mourning. My friends are in mourning.
But there is no hate, just sorrow.
(Posted by my college friend Rachel)