TL;DR – It’s our response that determines if we can defeat terrorists.
Ariana Grande’s concert was supposed to be a blast. Unfortunately, it was a blast in the most wrong way possible. A lone male attacker detonated a homemade explosive device packed with nuts and bolts at about 10:30pm, near the foyer of the Manchester Arena, shortly after Grande, the US singer, had finished her performance.
Children amongst the dead
An explosion ripped through the crowds when thousands of young fans and families were filing out of Europe’s largest indoor arena. The attacker died at the scene. At least 59 people were injured and 22 people were killed. Many young people and children are amongst the dead. That makes the attack even more deplorable. As Ms Theresa May, the Prime Minister of United Kingdom, said:
“All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives..
We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage.”
That act of terror succeeded in creating chaos. But it won’t break the British society. Why? Because of the way the community responded.
Worst of times bring out best of humanity
As Ms May said:
“For as so often while we experienced the worst of humanity in Manchester last night we also saw the best. The cowardice of the attacker met the bravery of the emergency services and the people of Manchester.”
Amidst the chaos and devastation, locals have opened up their homes and given help to concert-goers affected using the hashtag #RoomForManchester. There are also reports that a hotel near the venue has taken in dozens of children to keep them safe. Taxi drivers have been offering people free rides home, and volunteers are already arranging to give blood at donor banks later today to help those injured.
And that is the spirit, the coming together, that will defeat the senseless terror perpetrated by these evil people. It’s this spirit that we should remember and celebrate. Ms May aptly reminded us:
“The attempt to divide us met countless acts of kindness that brought people closer together and in the days ahead those must be the things that we remember.
The images we hold in our minds should not be those of senseless slaughter but of the ordinary men and women who put concerns about their own safety to one side and rushed to help.
Of the men and women of the emergency services who worked tirelessly to bring comfort, to help and to save lives.
Of the messages of solidarity and hope of all those who opened their homes to the victims.
For they are the images that embody the spirit of Manchester and the spirit of Britain, a spirit that through years of conflict and terrorism has never been broken and will never be broken…
And today let us remember those who died and let us celebrate those who helped, safe in the knowledge that the terrorists will never win and our values, our country and our way of life will always prevail.”
Indeed, it is not the severity of the attack that determines whether the terrorists win. It is the way we respond. But to ensure that the strength of our response surpasses whatever deplorable acts the terrorists can dream up, we need to be prepared.
Not if, but when.
This time, it’s Manchester. At some point in time, it will be us. It’s wishful thinking to hope that Singapore will never be a target of terrorists. That’s why we need to be prepared. A good start is to download the SGSecure mobile app.
It’s an app that let’s users report suspicious things they see that could indicate a possible terrorist act:
The app also let’s you get alerts related to security issues:
If enough people use this app correctly and wisely, we can minimise the chances of an attack being successful. If enough people use the app correctly and wisely, we can better help everyone keep calm, better mobilise people to help one another should an attack really go off.
But the app is just a piece of technology. It’s a tool. It will help. But at the end of the day, what matters most is that we have the steel in our bones to not bow down to terror, the kindness in our hearts to help one another, regardless of race, language or religion, and the resilience to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and carry on with our lives after a terror attack.
Can we do that? We hope so.
(Featured image via)