The world was shocked on Monday evening by the news that at least 22 people were tragically killed and numerous others injured in an appalling and cowardice act of terror at Manchester Arena.
As music lovers embarked on a visit to the venue that evening, in what was supposed to be a joyous and celebratory occasion, no one could have foreseen the horrifying turn of events.
The attack on Manchester is another poignant instalment in a growing list of recent terrorist acts. Among them, 89 concertgoers were brutally murdered at the Paris Bataclan theatre in November 2015, which was part of a wider series of coordinated attacks in the French capital that evening.
Like those who so tragically fell before them in Paris, the lives lost in the Manchester attack will never be forgotten, particularly as heartbreakingly, many were teenagers and children.
In the aftermath of Monday’s attack, much has been made of the spirit and togetherness of the people of Manchester and beyond. While those who bring terror to our streets have the power to hurt us, the collective human spirit will always prevail in times of adversity. Bruised, though it may be, it will never be defeated by hatred and division.
The intended aims of these perpetrators of evil extend far beyond committing barbaric acts of violence. They have a disturbing desire to instil widespread fear and intimidation into a far greater audience than the immediate victims of their attack.
Though unsettling and distressing these events may be, we cannot allow these senseless and malignant acts to gain a hold over the activities of our day-to-day lives. Music is deeply ingrained in our society and culture; fans should continue to enjoy the experience of live music in the absence of fear.
Akin to how music had brought Ariana Grande and Eagles of Death Metal fans together on those two fateful nights, the power of music can be harnessed to help individuals and communities regroup, mourn and begin to process the loss of so many innocent lives and the irreparable damage inflicted on the lives of many others.
Enjoyed by so many, music is a powerful tool that embodies different things to each of us: a vehicle for personal growth, escapism or to relieve stress; a means to improve our current mood or ability to focus; or reduce feelings of loneliness or boredom. Consequently, music has firmly established itself as a ubiquitous feature of our daily lives.
Humanity’s love for music has been a mainstay for centuries. While personal tastes vary, we are all bound by a passion for music, irrespective of age, ethnicity, culture or beliefs.
Music, like the collective human spirit, will continue to serve as a cornerstone of the very fabric of our society. More still, society’s avidity for music and the response to this attack provides yet another reminder that there is undoubtedly more that unites us than divides us.