It’s not like any of us are seriously expecting much will change, even after the slaughter of 22, mostly young girls, but it’s slowly coming to the point when even trendy, gay, vegan, rock music icons have had enough of “business as usual”:
Extreme rabbit, indeed. As you can imagine, Morrissey has received a mixed reaction to his heart-felt outpouring of righteous anger:
Hundreds liked comments made by Loz Humber who said: “Unnecessarily divisive. Our thoughts and actions should be with, and for, the victims of the attack; not exploiting it for political motive.”
Hundreds more supported the view of Andreas Kielczynski who wrote: “I absolutely knew that you would speak up on this and for Manchester. Thank you Morrissey Official You’re a champion and I’ll always be a fan. Happy Birthday and bless everyone in Manchester and around the world exhausted by this almost daily reminder of how inhuman humans have become.”
Duane Moore added: “Mozza, prepare to be next on the ‘you’re a fascist/nazi’ list, but you’re absolutely right. Be well.”
Samanduh LairPressher disagreed saying: ” Your hate is not allowed. Using the deaths of others to promote xenophobia is not welcome. I reject your anti-immigration and hate.”
It’s not an uncommon reaction, sadly, where reactions to an atrocity generate more anger than the actual atrocity. As Rod Liddle summarises the morning BBC coverage of the Manchester outrage:
We must all come together. Hope, not hate. Nothing to do with Islam. Nothing to do with Muslims. Just a rogue individual, possibly in the employ of some mysterious foreign agency. Just terrorism, bad people. Unaligned wickedness. Nothing to do with religion. We must all come together. And show love. And solidarity. Hope not hate.
Je Suis Ariana Grande. Already viciousness is being expressed on social media sites. People jumping to all sorts of conclusions. Horrible, horrible, people – no better than the murderer. Who might just as easily have been a Methodist. Remember Jo Cox? That wasn’t them, was it? There, you see.
But it’s the killing 22 random young people with a nail bomb after a pop concert that is the real hate and the real political act. It’s not some “act of God” or a natural disaster (which, by the way, are regularly politicised and exploited by the green left); it’s a conscious act in pursuit of – however twisted you and I might consider – religio-ideological agenda.
We now know that the suicide bomber was a 23-year old Salman Abedi, Manchester-born child of refugees from Libya. A university drop-out, he apparently started growing his beard and publicly expressing religiosity a year ago, and might have sneaked in and out of Syria while travelling to visit relatives back in Libya. He is yet another bloody example of de-assimilation at work in Western societies. His family, by all accounts so far, is decent and hard-working, with a blue-collar father who wanted to provide a better future for his four children, and his sister Jomana a glam (and very un-conservative) social media butterfly.
No doubt over the next few days we will know more about Salman and his journey from studying business and management at Salford University to detonating himself at the Manchester Arena. The “carry on” crowd will no doubt try to portray him as another weirdo lone wolf, a madman (you have to be to do something like that, don’t you?), maybe a victim of Islamophobia or society’s prejudice, or maybe just a vulnerable young man with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, pride and grievance. And even if some, or even all of these things are even fractionally true, the problem remains that young men like him, first or second generation Muslim Western Europeans, have a ready-made ideology just within an arm’s reach to amplify and channel their frustrations and pathologies. This, in essence, is the problem: our societies contain many losers, victims, aggrieved and unbalanced, but only a small minority of them become truly dangerous and destructive, assisted by a worldview that combines a radical interpretation of religion with a fascistic political agenda. Unless we, as a society, start seriously facing up to this problem, we should indeed better get accustomed to a “new normal” of regular candle-lit vigils, mournful hashtags, “love not hate” memes – and funerals.
British Army is now patrolling the streets. The UK has now joined other European countries, like France and Belgium, which I visited last year, where a sight of heavily armed foot patrols by infantry grunts is nothing unusual. This too is the “new (abnormal) normal”.