A few words

This morning we woke up to the horrific news of an explosion at the Manchester Arena at the end of an Ariane Grande gig. that happened in the foyer area. Twenty two innocent people lost their lives and over fifty innocent people were injured. Amongst them were teenagers and youngsters who had been getting ready to leave and go home after what should have been an exciting evening out. Sadly it has been reported that an 8 year old girl is one of those killed a young child who should have been going home excited, buzzing and looking forward to talking about it with friends today. A family has lost a dear little girl and her friends have lost one of their group. Adults can deal with such things but how can you tell friends who are around the same age that their friend is has died. It is not something that anyone should have to deal with.

The explosion was declared a terrorist attack by the police. Once more it appears an individual was responsible for this sickening act although it is not fully known at this time. The police are aware of his id but have not released any details. Whoever that person is, he speaks for no one but himself. He does certainly not speak for any religion. People will of course start pointing the finger at Muslims and the religion of Islam. Im sure many Muslims up and down the country and around the world will be appalled at the acts of this one person.  Muslims children and teenagers may have been there enjoying the gig along with parents.

Individuals today on social media have come out with the usual tosh including one who said that we dont need anymore Islamic jihadist imported into the UK and would also like the Koran banned. Katie Hopkins spouting off once more apparently. Im all for free speech, but she undoubtedly pushes barriers and seriously oversteps the mark. Her words are not helpful one bit. Spouting the anti Islam and Muslim rubbish is not helpful to anyone and quite frankly offensive to all the decent Muslims that make a great contribution to this country. We have doctors and police officers amongst other roles who put themselves first to help others.

Whilst we of course mourn the loss of those killed and wish those injured a quick recovery and hope that those who are missing are reunited with their families as quick as possible.

Today will be a sad day for many, but it is interesting to see that once more a country is united. The United Kingdom has seen undoubtedly more terrorist attacks than other nations but like in this nation, we remain united and resolute. I have read posts of people offering to help with getting children home, hotels putting up children without parents, taxi drivers from Liverpool driving all the way to Manchester, people giving drinks to the police as they do their duty. Whilst we differ on political issues, these are forgotten as we come to each others aid.

Once the police have done their jobs, you will see Manchester flourishing busy again getting on with life just as they were doing on Sunday. They may initially be wary, but they will not stay at home, not change their ways just like the people of London didn’t after Westminster Bridge or the 7/7 bombings.

Those who choose to attack our freedoms will continue to fail whilst we stand together regardless of religious beliefs, sexuality, colour of skin, nationality.

The Paris Shootings – The after debate

This past week saw the tragic events unfold in Paris. Twelve innocent people lost their lives as Muslim extremists chose to attack the offices of Charlie Hebdo. Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical magazine equivalent to the UK’s Private Eye magazine. The attack is apparently a response to the insulting of Islam by the magazine. Ten journalists lost their lives all because they believed in the freedom of speech. Two police officers also perished defending them.

Following the terrible events, it brought out the discussion of freedom and the Islam debate. It was something that on social media, brought many different opinions. Social Media as usual was at the core of this and first of all it was the subject of freedom of speech. You often see many people say that it doesn’t exist. Well of course it does. People might not like to think it does because of minor issues, but it exists.

One example included a few posts saying that it didn’t exist. Ironically these were people on a party political page slating the Prime Minister and calling him various names that were far from pleasant. They don’t believe that there is freedom of speech yet despite posting various posts of insults, those people wont be tracked down,arrested or even worse killed for having the ability to criticise the Prime Minister on the page. In the UK at least we are at liberty to say what we like so long as it does not commit a criminal offence.

Satire is one element of freedom of speech and it plays a part in our daily lives. Many of the news pages that get shared on facebook such as Newsthump are satire. Satire though comes in all forms from paper to internet and radio to tv, we are surrounded by it and long may it continue. Many of us would have watched Mock The Week, Have I Got News For You, Bremner Bird and Fortune amongst others. We have listened to The News Quiz and The Now Show and even possibly read the magazine Private Eye. In Britain it is something that we seem to excel in and something we thrive in. Life without the freedom of speech would not be quite the same.

It is something though that we often take for granted. It is the same for freedom of expression. Within reason we can all walk down the street wearing what we want to. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but we are not likely to be arrested for it. Other countries could see an individual detained and imprisoned.

Satire itself dates back to the times of the Ancient Egyptians and has continued through time to the modern day, so it is by no means something new or the latest fad. In the free world it will continue long after many of us are gone and so it should.

The other subject brought up was that the whole of Islam should basically apologise for the actions of a minority. I like many decent people will disagree. Those that murdered the twelve innocent people do not represent the majority of decent hardworking muslims. They are free to condemn the actions but to apologise, is not necessary. They have nothing to apologise for. It was not they who committed the barbaric acts.

Did Christians apologise to the world for the various atrocities and crimes committed in the name of god? No, why should they. It wasnt carried out on their behalf and if they don’t, then why followers of Islam. It is not like the Muslims in your local town wanted to see people murdered for daring to criticise their religion. They might not have liked it, but to bring death to those who criticised, was not something that they would support.

In my mind it is a sorry state of affairs, if we find ourselves as either followers or non followers, apologising as a group for an atrocity committed by a minority that is not our fault or not in our name. We will rightly criticise and condemn such things, but never apologise.

The world may not be a perfect place but whilst we still have a voice and a means to criticise those that we find fault with, then we will continue to ensure that the freedom of speech will never die.