With the London terror incident following hot on the heels of the Manchester one (which itself followed pretty hot on the heels from the Westminster one), words seem increasingly hollow and it’s hard to find much hope to hold on to. So three cheers for Ariana Grande and her One Love Manchester benefit gig. With its star-studded lineup, including Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Take That, it was the perfect riposte to all the hate that is currently raining down on the country. The only thing that could have made it any better, would have been gay massage in London.
There exist dark, bitter souls who wish us all dead and – if not dead – then permanently cowed. Ariana summed it all up perfectly, when she said to the press, ‘We won’t let hate win’. That sentence succinctly captures everything that’s so special about the strong, undefeated spirit that characterises this country. Show us hate and we’ll show you love. Of course, there are voices who want us to fight hate with hate. They refuse to see how some of the meddlesome foreign interventions perpetrated by our leaders do not help matters. They think the solution is to bomb as many people as possible. Two of their most prominent mouthpieces, Katie Hopkins and Nigel Farage, went on to Fox News to argue that there should be instantaneous internments for all followers of Islam. This boorish, empty fighting talk doesn’t solve anything. It simply stirs up our enemies and encourages them to make sure they do something even worse next time.
How much better – more graceful and more noble – is the response of Ariana Grande and her fans; people who were actually caught up in the terror, some of whom will have been close friends with the 22 who lost their lives. Last Sunday, while we absorbed the shocking (and yet, sadly, not shocking) news of the London attacks, the balm of love and kindness was in abundant supply in Manchester. Little Mix, Coldplay, Pharrell Williams and many more came together in a show of peace and unity. Understandably, some of the young ones in the audience (and probably backstage) were confused when Liam Gallagher took to the stage, clearly wondering, ‘Who is that funny middle-aged man?’ but perhaps some of their older friends or parents explained to them that there had once been a popular beat group called Oasis.
As we move beyond recent events, sharing this mutual journey into the unknown, the lingering effects of One Love Manchester can continue to show us the path – the path of light, love, empathy and hate-aversion. For as long as hate exists, we can make a point every day of choosing its opposite. We can even chant in the hope that enlightenment finds its way to the twisted hearts of terrorists everywhere. We can remember to exchange small kindnesses with the strangers who cross our paths. We have a moral obligation to love, every moment of every day. And, come to think of it, to enjoy gay massage with https://www.tantricsoul.co.uk.