Where is the love? This line from a Black Eyed Peas song has gone over and over in my head tonight.
This is one of the times where I have debated with myself about what to say on here, whether I should even say anything at all. But I have this online platform that lots of you read and it feels almost wrong not to acknowledge what is happening in this world that we are living in.
What to say though?
When both recent terrorist attacks occurred ( Manchester, May 22nd and London June 3rd ) I was getting ready for bed. I was tired and ready to curl up in bed with a book. I scrolled across social media and spotted the news, the worried tweets, the panicked FB posts. Both times exactly the same way, it was probably the same for a lot of you. Ten years ago, even five we would have perhaps been a little more protected from this news as it happens. We would have woken up the next morning, turned on our radios or televisions and been dumbfounded and full of sorrow but we wouldn’t have spent the night feeling like spectators. Was that a better time? In some ways I think yes. Yes, because I don’t know about you but I sat up until 1am this morning, waiting and watching for more horror to unfold. Waiting to hear the news that it was over, that they had caught the attackers and that the city was safe again. I cannot begin to imagine how that would have felt if I had known that a family or friend was out in London last night. The scrolling down, refreshing the page, searching hashtags and looking at every image to see if you can spot a loved one. How is that bearable? I don’t know and I know that I am one of the lucky ones, to not have been in that situation at any time.
But looking at the other side of the immediate news feed that is social media I see the benefits. The way that the people of London instantly knew what was happening. They knew an attack was ongoing, they could get somewhere safe, avoid those areas and try to protect themselves. The way that the general public pulls together at these times and shows how utterly amazing and full of love the majority of people are. The tweets which offer places to stay, lifts across the country and the messages of support you see pouring out.
The week following the Manchester attack I went a little quiet, I found that particular attack harder to bear than most. I guess because it seemed so targeted at young girls and as a mum of two girls I just couldn’t handle it. I stepped away a little from social media and the blog. Everything I wrote seemed trivial, every image I went to share seemed inappropriate but you see what I realised today is that by changing the way we behave in the face of these attacks surely we are giving the terrorists that they want. They want to defeat us in every way and we absolutely can’t allow it. So I sat this morning and thought about what had happened, I cried for people I don’t know and those I will never meet. For the world that I have brought my children into. Then I told myself to get on with my day and do exactly what I had planned for the day. To go to brunch, to tweet and share food photos, make people smile, get on with home improvements and to play loud music that cheers me. There is a line between being respectful of what has happened and letting life stop. The world cannot stop turning because of these acts and we must not let it.
Tonight I’ve sat with millions of others and watched some of the worlds top performers celebrate and sing about One Love. I watched an incredibly brave and talented 23yr old woman face what must have been an extremely frightening event head on and not just manage it but show immense courage and spirit. It has made me smile and cry on a few occasions, mostly it’s made me feel proud to be of a generation of people who will not be beaten, who when the very worst happens can dust themselves down and spread love and joy. There is the love. One Love, yes for sure. One Life, definitely. Let us love and live. They will not win.