On Monday the 22nd of May a terrorist detonated a homemade nail bomb at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. 22 people, including an 8 year old girl, were killed.
Unfortunately, this attack was just a drop in an ocean of terrorist attacks that happen around the world each and every day. But what are we supposed to do about it?
Well world, we hold a benefit concert that celebrates the lives of those lost, not only in the Manchester attacks but all over the planet. We bring together a city, a country and the world in the belief that love will always win. Namely the One Love Manchester Benefit Concert, organised by none other than Ariana Grande herself.
Through pure luck and circumstance I was one of the fortunate individuals to secure a ticket to this event, and it was one of the most humbling, thought provoking, emotional and empowering days of my life.
Manchester was abuzz from the moment we arrived and you could feel it in the air that this was a city that had been targeted but was not a victim. The Metro Tram service was offered to all for free, meaning safe passage to and from the venue was ensured. When we arrived at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground we were interviewed by a reporter who asked us if we felt safe. My answer was completely and unequivocally, yes. Armed police, dogs and horses surrounded the area, but did not take away from the positive vibes that echoed into the night.
The show began with Mancunian poet Tony Walsh, who recited his poem “This is the Place” after which we observed a minute of silence led by Marcus Mumford. Act after act belted out their biggest hits, which we all sang with our friends but also with strangers. We looked at our loved ones and appreciated everything we have. We honoured the lives of those lost by enjoying ourselves and living our lives in their memory. It was electrifying.
I truly experienced the “Mancunian spirit” on the tram ride home. Poet Tony Walsh had reappeared and was once again reciting his poem, to the joy of everyone on board! Afterwards, roars and cheers and chants of both Robbie Williams, Strong‚ and Oasis‚ iconic “Don’t Look Back in Anger” reverberated throughout the carriage. That was the moment when I realised these people were not defeated, nor would they ever be.
That night we saw many of the girls that attended the original concert. People in wheelchairs, with bandages and casts on their limbs. That image will stay with me forever and I will never forget their courage to return. The strength and courage of not only Ariana herself, but every single person that went to that benefit is phenomenal. I am honoured to have been a part of it and I will never forget it.
I don’t know how something so perfect ever came out of something so horrible. But you can’t say we don’t know how to make good out of a bad situation.
Girl Museum Inc.