Another bomb atrocity makes the headlines. This latest in Manchester where husband and I spent three years at university. It doesn’t make it worse. I don’t feel angrier or choked up because I once walked those streets. Murder is murder, wherever it happens, to whomsoever it happens. For the families involved, it’s the end of the world. For the rest of us, it’s just another nail in the coffin of humanity.
It gets harder to feel the pain; the outrage is dulled—we’ve understood, that’s what terrorists do; they blow people up. The reporters work harder, the footage is more explicit, the heart-rending accounts more tearful, because we’ve heard it so many times before. We listen to calls for prayers and sympathy and interviews with distraught people who once considered going there for a holiday years ago. Imagine! It could have been us!
Only hysteria works now, and only on behalf of ‘people like us’. It’s happening in the Philippines, all over the Middle East, Africa (do we still remember ‘our girls’?). The refugees fleeing war have seen all this too, but they don’t count. The world is sinking into murder, the food industry machine-massacres, the fashion industry enslaves, our excess pauperises.
Only hysteria brings tears. We have too much to cry for. The horrors jostle, snatching at our attention to be top horror, to make jaws drop, stir the inner ghoul, and extort more prayers. Where can I look and not feel guilt?
Wind blows sand blossoms,
parched and dry like the river,
and still the birds sing.