Author: George Kitsaras
Editor-in-chief / Psychologist / Doctoral Researcher
The following article was written on 22/05/2017, the day of the Manchester Arena terrorist attack that took the lives of 22 people. Today, a year after that horrific attack, this article acts as a reminder of the unique qualities that bind us together no matter our religion, our language or our place of birth.
Manchester, Nice, Istanbul, Bagdad, Cairo. Different cities but with a common denominator; terrorism.
Terrorism is not a recent phenomenon. In the 1970s and 80s, in Europe, the frequency and death toll of terrorist attacks was significantly higher compared to today (Combs, 2015). Though, different etiologists then, and different now. Different level of coverage then, different now in the era of social media. Different level of generalised fear then, and different now.
However, death, mourning and devastation remain the same then and now. Bereavement and loss don’t differ across the decades, across continents and across countries. Same is the shock that each terrorist attack generates especially when it touches the place you now call “home”. Same remains the manhunt for the culprits whether they belong in organised terror groups or acted alone. And it is in the content of that manhunt another danger loom; generalised targeting, stigma and exclusion of specific groups, turning them into the “bad wolves” of all our plights. That danger is also the same across countries, societies and decades.
For centuries now, terrorism in its different forms is part of life. Despite our exposure to it, people will always react emotionally to the news of unexpected and abrupt loss due to a terrorist attack. Fear and uncertainty aside, life goes on until the next violent and unjustifiable interruption.
Instead of an epilogue, a short extract from Tony Walsh’s “This is the place”
Because this is a place that has been through some hard times
Oppressions, recessions, depressions and dark times
But we keep fighting back with Greater Manchester spirit
Northern grit, northern wit in Greater Manchester’s lyrics
Combs, C. C. (2015). Terrorism in the twenty-first century. Routledge.