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JEP Opinion: Unity in the face of madness

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SINCE the terrible events of Charlie Hebdo, the Bataclan and other attacks around Europe, security forces have warned that it was a matter of when and not if the UK would be targeted by bombers.

But no amount of warning could prepare us for the callous and sickening events in Manchester on Monday night.

The man who walked into the arena where Ariana Grande was playing wanted to slaughter children.

Pure evil clashed with joyous innocence.

The bomber targeted children excitedly attending a pop concert to see one of their idols.

Attacks in Paris, Nice, Berlin, London, Stockholm and elsewhere in Europe – and on the common values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law which these countries champion – have become a terrible fact of our time.

In the hours and days that follow this atrocity, more will be learned about those who have died and their stories.

As each face, name and age of the victims is released, it is only natural for us all to relate those individuals to someone we know.

These were children like our children. The dead include mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles enjoying a night out, many as a family, in a way that anyone here might.

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Lives have been taken and many others have been shattered through physical injury and mental scars that will take years to heal.

But amid these stories of pain and loss, there are also accounts of great compassion, love and humanity – the qualities that bind us all together in the face of the madness of a few.

It is these qualities that will, in time, help to heal the wounds and enable a nation in mourning to weather the storm, just as it has done before.

Manchester may not be geographically a large city, but it has a big heart – one that was made all the stronger following the IRA bombing in 1996, in which 212 people were injured after the largest bomb was detonated on British soil since the Second World War. Like many places that fall victim to terrorism, it grew stronger.

Terrorism, those who seek to destroy through bloodshed, violence and hate, will never win. The good so clearly on display in the aftermath of this tragedy will triumph over the evil.

But, for now, the thoughts of all in Jersey are very much with the people of Manchester.

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