The Manchester attack resonates so deeply precisely because when we look into the life and history of that English city and its people, we see so much of ourselves.
England — and civilized peoples everywhere — again lament the deaths of innocents. Once more the flowers are piled high, terror alert levels are at maximum, and police raids are underway in search of terrorist accomplices.
In Manchester, England — where at least 22 children and adults were slain during last Monday night’s nail bomb suicide attack at a concert — grief, nervousness and anger abound. The rituals of London, including the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, have been disrupted with the deployment of British troops on the streets.
And from Whitehall to Washington, the all-too-familiar debates are renewed — debates over immigration, refugees, assimilation, and the violence that seems increasingly to characterize the encounters between “Western” and “radical Islamic” cultures.
No debate will breathe life into the departed. Those who perished in Manchester — children, young adults, parents — have been added to the ever-lengthening lists of terrorism’s victims. For their families, friends and communities, life has been altered beyond recognition. Perhaps beyond endurance.
For now there is only consolation. In the days, weeks and months ahead there will be some measure of healing. For some, time may even bring forgiveness. Or not.