, , , , , ,

A voice from the past cried “Give peace a chance”
He paid our price now he’s free at last
Imagine, we called him a dreamer!
How many times must good men die?
How many tears will the children cry?
‘Til they suffer no more sadness
Stop the madness,
Oh, stop the madness.

The hush of the crowd as the horse rode by
A black lace veil hid the tears from her eyes
And we all wept in silence
How many times must good men die?
How many times will the children cry?
‘Til they suffer no more sadness
Oh, stop the madness
Oh, stop all the madness.
(from ‘Fall Of The Peacemakers’ written by Dave Hlubek)

Have a look at the names on this list below. You should, I hope, recognise the names.

Saffie Rose Roussos, aged 8
Nell Jones, aged 14
Sorrell Leczkowski, aged 14
Eilidh MacLeod, aged 14
Olivia Campbell, aged 15
Megan Hurley, aged 15
Chloe Rutherford, aged 17
Georgina Callander, aged 18
Liam Curry, aged 19
Courtney Boyle, aged 19
John Atkinson, aged 20
Martyn Hett, aged 29
Kelly Brewster, aged 32
Philip Tron, aged 32
Angelika Klis, aged 39
Marcin Klis, aged 42
Elaine McIver, aged 43
Alison Howe, aged 45
Michelle Kiss, aged 45
Lisa Lees, aged 47
Wendy Fawell, aged 50
Jane Tweddle-Taylor, aged 51

Remember the names on this list.

This list is important. This is the list you should remember from the tragic events of last Monday at the Manchester Arena. This list is the names of the 22 individuals murdered by a coward. Murdered while having a night out in Manchester watching live music. Murdered by a coward who felt he had the right to end the lives of 22 people, maim and seriously injure countless others, and inflict mental injuries on who knows how many other individuals who witnessed the carnage.

What you should not remember from the tragic events in Manchester last week is the murderer’s name. You should not remember the name of his father, his mother, his brother. You should not remember where he was born, where he grew up. You should not remember where he went to school, what his exam results were, or where he went on holiday. You should not give any credence to what his political thoughts were, where his allegiances may lie, who he believed in, what he read, what he watched, his internet history, his emails or his Facebook page. The murdering coward needs to become a faceless, nameless, non-person. Forgotten. A footnote in history.

What you should remember is the spirit shown by the people of the North West of England last Monday night and into the dark hours of Tuesday morning as the true horror of what had happened began to emerge.

Hospital staff going into work regardless of whether they had been called in or not.
Emergency services racing to the scene not knowing if they could be other dangers lurking in either plain sight or the shadows.
Taxi companies telling their drivers to just ‘take people to where they need to go, no charge’.
People opening their homes to complete strangers caught up in the events of last Monday night.
Hotels offering shelter to anyone who needed it.

So many acts of kindness in the face of overwhelming adversity.

These are the things to remember from last Monday night.

So many selfless acts on a night no-one will ever forget. But will anyone remember the right things?

No, they won’t.

Without using Google or any other form of internet search, can you name the two 10-year-old girls murdered in Soham in 2002 by Ian Huntley?

Can you name a single victim of Fred and Rosemary West? How about Harold Shipman? Peter Sutcliffe? Levi Bellfield? Steve Wright?

Here is another list:-

Victoria Elizabeth Clydesdale, aged 5
Emma Elizabeth Crozier, aged 5
Melissa Helen Currie, aged 5
Charlotte Louise Dunn, aged 5
Kevin Allan Hasell, aged 5
Ross William Irvine, aged 5
David Charles Kerr, aged 5
Mhairi Isabel MacBeath, aged 5
Gwen Mayor, aged 45 (teacher)
Brett McKinnon, aged 6)
Abigail Joanne McLennan, aged 5
Emily Morton, aged 5
Sophie Jane Lockwood North, aged 5
John Petrie, aged 5
Joanna Caroline Ross, aged 5
Hannah Louise Scott, aged 5
Megan Turner, aged 5

All were murdered on 13th March 1996 at Dunblane Primary School. You are more likely to remember the name Thomas Hamilton than any of the 17 names on this list. Thomas Hamilton killed these 17 people before taking the cowards route and killing himself.

The above mentioned Fred West and Harold Shipman also took the suicide route and killed themselves in prison rather than pay for their murderous sprees. Good riddance some might say. Both received more column inches for taking their own lives than the lives of their victims.

It is time the media stopped giving excessive time and space to the perpetrators of these horrific crimes and concentrated on the victims. Make them the story. Too much time is spent discussing the cowards who carry out these atrocities.

I don’t care what the coward who carried out the Manchester Arena bomb attack was wearing when he put his wheelie bin out for collection, but the mass media showed the video over and over again. Show me a video of one of the victims performing in their Christmas pantomime, or taking part in their School Sports day.

More should be heard about Kelly Brewster, who shielded her 11-year-old niece from the blast. More should be said about Philip Tron, who was described as being able to light up the darkest room and lift your spirits with his infectious laugh. What about Georgina Callander, a bit of a Superfan who was in the second year of a health and social care course at Runshaw College.

Snapshots of the 22 victims can be read here.

Ariana Grande herself deserves to be spoken about at length. She has announced that she will return to Manchester to give a concert to raise money for the victims’ families and to visit survivors and fans. That will probably be the toughest gig of her young life. The torment she will be going through cannot be judged. Her decision to cancel the tour was the right one.

The events of last Monday in Manchester have, rightly so, been the main news story through the week since. But to me, they have been the wrong stories. Yes, the security forces around the world need to look at what happened, what they knew, and whether they could have prevented this and other attacks from the last couple of years. To the people of Paris, Nice, Berlin, Stockholm, London and now Manchester, remember the victims and their families and do not even whisper the names of those who have carried out the deed.

But remember also that cowardly attacks are taking place all over the world on an almost daily basis. Only yesterday, gunman opened fire on a convoy carrying Coptic Christians traveling from Maghagha in Egypt’s Minya Governorate. 28 people lost their lives.

It is time to remember the victims and not give credence to the twisted individuals and organisations that do not deserve their 10 seconds of infamy.

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today… Aha-ah…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

(John Winston Lennon, 1940-1980, shot in the back by a coward)