Terrorism, Children and Superheroes
I don’t think there was anyone that didn’t wake up today and feel horrified by the news from Manchester. Terrorism in any shape or form is horrific, terrorism that targets children is beyond comprehension. There are no words for the horror and vileness of this act.
The acts of terrorism seem to be escalating. It seems hard to understand a person that would kill themselves in order to kill others. The madness of extremism, so deluding a person that they actually believe that killing others can in anyway be a good thing.
As I write this I haven’t talked to my children about this yet. My daughter is too young, but I do wonder if anything will come up at school and if my son will come home with questions. I’m not sure what I will say. His Dad and I have told him about wars and people that are suffering in other countries at a very high level. I’ve got to the stage in my life that I’ve actually stopped watching the news when my children are around. It’s too violent, too hard to explain and I tend to just look at it on my mobile. There some things I would like to keep my children sheltered from just a little longer if at all possible. Yet I suspect there may be a tricky conversation to have with my son later.
I grew up in a time when terrorist attacks by the IRA were a real threat. I was in London out for the night when a nail bomb went off in the street next to us and we were all locked in the pub we were in for our own safety. I was in London for 7/7 and remembering calling around for colleagues that hadn’t made it into the office yet, to make sure they were still alive. It was a really frightening time.
And yet, the escalation of current attacks seems more frightening. I wonder if it is perhaps the fact that I am a mother now and this is the world that my children are growing up in. That children were targeted in the attack yesterday. Children at a pop concert that they were probably so excited to be going to. It just makes me feel sick. The fact an 8 year old girl was killed is devastating.
We must continue living our lives, we must not let the terrorists win. But at the same time I know I will be a little more cautious and think more about where I take my children. I can’t help it.
In the midst of all of the terror, it seems to me that we must focus on the positive. The way people have rallied together to help one another. The amazing actions of the emergency services, people taking people into their homes, taxi drivers taking people to wherever they need to free, hotels taking children in and keeping them safe until their parents or guardians can be located, mobile phone companies helping with free calls, local businesses handing out free food, people making food themselves and taking it to the families at local hospitals, people giving blood following on from urgent requests, local nurseries offering free childcare for people searching for family members. This is what it means to be British and shows that while terrible things may happen, we will all stand together. And I think this is the message I will tell to my son, that there are bad people in this world, but there will always be more superheroes.