While we remember in our thoughts and prayers the victims of the Manchester bombing, let us be mindful--
- Before certain politicians and media companies begin a fresh round of demonizing an entire religion in the self-serving lust to garner votes, clicks, and tweets...
- Before this tragedy is used as a fresh excuse to ramp up the militarized security state and kick down on refugees fleeing similar daily atrocities...
- Before governments with a tenuous hold on the electorate beat more loudly on the drums of war...
- Before the rush to judgement and condemnation...
--that the innocent kids we see fleeing the concert bombing have their counterparts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and other places.
Yes they do.
We see young Mancunians run from a bombing. We do not see people in Muslim countries running from bombs every day. Getting out, getting anywhere away from daily round of destruction, carnage, and 24-hour climate of fear. Getting all the way, sometimes, to Manus and Nauru.
We see young Mancunians, wounded or terrified, desperately seeking help, refuge, safety, comfort, We do not see (or do not allow ourselves to see) wounded or terrified Muslims fleeing their homelands to seek help, refuge, safety, comfort. Sometimes from us.
We see young Mancunians apparently intentionally targeted by a crude device. We do not see the schools, hospitals, wedding parties, markets, and workplaces intentionally targeted by sophisticated devices like drones and laser-guided missiles. Delivered and sanctioned by us.
We grieve for the young Mancunian survivors who will have to live the rest of their lives with the images of body parts, pools of gore, and children's corpses burned into their memories. We do not grieve for those who see such things as a matter of daily routine. Routinely ignored by us.
When people are slaughtered, survivors run away, whether in Manchester or in Fallujah. This is a equally normal response.
No child should have to witness the human form blasted into chunks of meat, whether in Manchester or in Aleppo. The trauma they will carry is equally inescapable.
"Why us?" they cry with one voice. "It's not fair to target us."
No, it's not fair, no matter where you are.
Why does distance and difference blind us to the simple truth that people are people are people?
Writing in a different time about a similarly oppressed and demonized people (the Jews), Shakespeare wrote:
"If you cut us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? And if you wrong us, shall we not seek revenge?" God (or whatever means The Good) forbid that the full measure of their revenge is not visited upon us.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us: what fearsome words to pray.