Song In The Face Of Terror: 'One Love Manchester' Shines Through England's Darkest Hour
NEW DELHI: The benefit concert organized by Ariana Grande in the city of Manchester to honour the victims and families of those affected in the suicide bombing that took place on the May 22 was held recently. It did not matter if one was physically present at the concert or if they watched it online as BBC One live streamed it; love engulfed every individual that watched it creating a sense of universal unity, which was the main aim of the concert.
The star-studded gig had artists such as Miley Cyrus, Robbie Williams, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Coldplay. There were a lot of surprise performances at the Emirates Old Trafford cricket stadium among which the highlight was by Liam Gallagher, ex-member of the world-renowned band Oasis. All proceeds made by the concert, which is reported to have been about two million pounds, would go towards helping the city of Manchester and the British Red Cross.
‘One Love Manchester’ was in response to the suicide bombing carried out by 22-year-old Salman Abedi which left 22 dead and more than 119 injured at the end of Grande’s earlier concert. The fans, consisting majorly of young girls and boys, were met with an explosion as they made their way towards the foyer at the end of the evening. The youngest among the deceased was only eight years old.
The day before the concert the city of London was hit with another attack of terror on the London Bridge which left seven people killed and 48 individuals fighting for their lives in the hospital. Reports assert that The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, which is the second within the span of less than a week.
Initially criticized by Piers Morgan for going ahead with the concert in the wake of the recent terror activities, the British journalist later apologized to the singer saying that he had “misjudged her” and lauded her for her for putting on a “magnificent show”. Grande received praise from fans and celebrities alike across the globe for her determination and strength.
The idea of a benefit concert is essentially to spread awareness and raise funds to help affected victims. There have been several such concerts throughout the course of history, one of the more famous ones being ‘12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief’ which was in response to the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy in north-eastern United States.
It is precisely due to the existence of so many concerts such as this that the significance of ‘One Love Manchester’ is lost. Throughout the duration of the concert, the idea that ‘love conquers all’ was emphasised upon and that backing down in the face of terror was not an option. Living in an age that is shadowed by terror, these ideas are important to help people find hope.
There were some powerful speeches by artists that moved the audience nearly to tears and an example is the one below by US based singer, Katy Perry:
“It's not easy to always choose love, is it? Especially in moments like these. It can be the most difficult thing to do. But love conquers fear and love conquers hate. And that love that you choose will give you strength”
Why was it important for the wounded city of Manchester to come together and revel in an afternoon of song? Twitter was flooded with appreciation for the concert that allowed the people an opportunity to heal and #onelovemanchester was trending world-wide.
“Spaces such as this allow us to come together, and heal together which is what we all need right now. The great city of Manchester has been hurt but this right here, all of us here, is evidence that we will never back down,” said a victim of the 22nd May bombing present at the concert yesterday. All those directly affected by the bombing at the end of the ‘Dangerous Woman’ concert were offered free entry to the benefit concert.
In the environment plagued by fear that we live in today instances such as these act as important reminders of the resilience needed against the perpetrators of terror. The message of love that resonated in the arena was exactly what people around the world needed to hear. Music last night was not used as a means of escape, instead it acted as a healing and unifying force that reminded people that the end of terror could not be achieved in isolation.
The concert ended with a soulful rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ by Grande which moved most of the audience to tears. The event saw the presence of a significant number of security personnel and they were not left out of the festivities, as we see in this now viral photograph of a police official dancing with children.
These acts of terror that England has faced has been the worst in the last decade and British Prime Minister, Theresa May, stated that “enough is enough” and has vowed to up Britain’s strategy against terrorism. In light of the events of the past week in England we thus see the importance of the concert as a strong act of resilience and the importance of unity in the face of terror.