So I’ve been trying to write up my review of the Living Colour show the other night, which was an amazing, wonderful gig. But my thoughts have been constantly drifting, initially towards the tragic passing of the extraordinary singer Chris Cornell and then to the awful, unspeakable events in Manchester. Now we hear of another bombing, this time in Jakarta, that has claimed the lives of three police officers.

I will post some thoughts on Chris Cornell separately, but as to the Manchester atrocity… where do you start? I can’t begin to imagine what family and friends of those poor, innocent young victims must be going through. The murder of children, in fact the abuse of children in any form, is surely the most cowardly, despicable and heinous of crimes.

All of those people at or near the Manchester Arena, even those not physically harmed will have suffered deep, emotional harm that will likely take much time, love and support to fully heal. The same applies for anyone in the vicinity of the bus station in Jakarta. Then there is the young singer Ariana Grande herself who, quite understandably, has apparently been inconsolable. Equally understandably her current tour has been suspended. I hope for her sake that she can find the courage to once again take the stage to do what she loves when the time is right for her.

So much sadness and hurt. So utterly, utterly senseless.

But what do we do about it? What should the response be? I wish there was a simple solution to end this violence… but there isn’t. Not when you are dealing with completely intolerant, fanatical, delusional and hate-filled people. We shouldn’t overlook the fact though that most of the governments and agencies of the free world are certainly not sitting on their hands. The fight against these cowards continues to be waged relentlessly, but by its nature it is inherently and incredibly difficult.

But what about us? You and me? In the immediate aftermath there was always going to be a massive outpouring of rage as well as grief and sympathy. But, just as two wrongs don’t make a right, hate plus hate just equals more hate. Without question, we should loathe the perpetrators of and behind these horrific attacks. But let’s be really clear on who the perpetrators really are, or more to the point who the perpetrators aren’t. This absolute minority of filthy, faceless, violent cowards who are utterly intolerant of any other way of life simply does not define every member of the Islam faith. To suggest otherwise is ludicrous and akin to labelling every Christian a deviant because of the sick, selfish and cowardly (there’s that word again) acts of certain priests and other members of the Catholic hierarchy. We would do well to remember too that acts of horrendous violence in the name of ‘faith’ are not confined to Islam.

But I digress. What should we as individuals do? I can only speak for myself, and so for what it’s worth I’m going to do exactly the opposite of what these idiots think is righteous. In other words, I’m going to…

  • Offer up my absolute sympathy, condolences and love to the victims, families and friends of these mindless attacks;
  • Continue to love and enjoy the company of my family and friends;
  • Do my utmost to be tolerant, respectful and welcoming towards all and sundry, regardless of nationality, beliefs, skin colour, sex or sexuality;
  • Call out behaviour and comments that show a lack of tolerance or respect (and I don’t care if others think I’m just being politically correct here; if you are trivialising intolerance by making jokes or untoward remarks that are racist, sexist or homophobic even if you ‘don’t really mean it’ then you are just part of the problem);
  • Be vigilant when necessary; but
  • Continue to live and value the life I have.

Anyway, thank you for letting me get all of that out. Time I think to crank that stereo and crack a fine beer.

Peace, love and respect

Jimmy Mac