by Mark Angelides
It has been a full 24 hours since the nail bomb was detonated at a packed concert in Manchester, England. We have the death toll at 22 people (including children), and injuries numbering 60+. Already we have found out that the bomber was working with others (although as he detonated alone, it will likely be called a lone wolf attack), and that ISIS have claimed responsibility for the attack.
And sickened though we all must feel by the tragic events, a very special type of nausea is likely to follow. There will inevitably be a chorus of nonsense that seems to rise in the wake of tragic events. They are almost “magical” words that seem to lift a nation yet have precisely zero actual consequence. And the similarities in language across nations and cultures make it almost possible to believe that our leaders are reading from a script and ticking boxes as they “help us” deal with the brutal loss of life and dignity.
The Hashtags and Trends for the day will involve StandWithManchester, or another phrase that costs nothing to throw out there (it doesn’t even cost us time for reflection as it is readymade and good to go). Since 2015, there have been many #StandWithXYZ campaigns, and yet each one leads to another and another (is it really 15 since January 2015?). It means nothing because there is no sacrifice involved. It takes no more effort to retweet than it does to scroll past.
The voices of the Right will be denounced. Any person who calls for “something to be done” will be immediately denounced as “sick” and “racist” and basically an utter bastard for suggesting that they may, in fact, be a bit of a problem with Islamic folk. The only people who will get air time are those that express the “correct opinions”
Politicians will accuse others of scoring political points whilst they in fact are trying to score political points. It has happened already. Whilst all parties have agreed to suspend electioneering for a short while, they are already making political hay on who first said they should stop electioneering, they are checking out each other’s Facebook accounts and Twitter feeds to see if anyone says the wrong thing, or doesn’t express enough of the right platitudes and sympathies.
ISIS will mock us in chatrooms and on Twitter for not protecting our people (the Crusaders, as they call us). They will become more and more emboldened as they see that we do not react to their atrocities. They will rely on Courts and due process to protect them from the harshness they deserve. They will be greeted as heroes in the prison system, and will be released as martyrs when their (all too short) term is served. (Unless they go full-Jihadi and kill themselves, in which case, the communities will give their families money and be treated with great kindness and respect…after all, it’s not every family that can have a true martyr)
Finally…Nothing of substance will happen. In the end, the population will move on and learn nothing. And we will, of course, be shocked the next time something like this happens. We wiil again roll out the empty words and pretend that we are strong in the face of adversity, when in reality we are weak. We will not question that we are being enfeebled by our leaders, and we will accept more deaths and more lives ruined…Because that is what our leaders expect of us.
Or perhaps we shouldn’t..?
by Mark Angelides