When You Cannot Escape With the Music

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By now, most are aware of the events that occurred on Monday night in Manchester, England. I fixate on this event specifically because such an act of horror happened at an event where people were meant to feel safe and happy.

The thing about terrorism is that it inflicts fear that stays with you for years to come. It makes people afraid of everyday activities and activities that were once thought to be completely harmless. As details emerged about the situation in Manchester, I grew more and more horrified at the thought of how much planning went into this and the deliberate way the bomb was executed. Thousands of people had gathered for a night out at an Ariana Grande concert and 22 of those people — young girls, teenagers, adults – would never attend another concert again. Remember that number because 22 people will never get to experience that elation or joy of attending a concert again.

I am fixated on the fact that this happened at an Ariana Grande concert. Attending a concert is supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You may attend multiple concerts, but that one event cannot be replicated even if you attend the same artist’s show on the same day. When we pay for events like this, we are expecting something that will make some of our wildest dreams come true; we are expecting our favourite artist to blow our minds away; we are expecting complete and utter bliss. Concert-goers are united in so many ways, but one huge emotion that rings true is joy. Right now, though, how do we offer more than condolences when we’re all at a loss? A concert is the marker of the relationship between an artist and their dedicated fans. When the lights go down, when the music deafens you, and you find togetherness with thousands of others in the same place. When the love for artist and their love in return is magnified.

Music is an escape for countless people — celebrities included. Concerts are supposed to be safe. There’s that word again, “supposed.” Music is supposed to help heal and concerts are supposed to be safe. To know now that terrorism has indeed terrorized countless people and perhaps deterred them from attending another concert in the near and distant future. To most, it is easiest to write condolences online and carry on with their lives, but it is difficult to comprehend the magnitude of pain and suffering of those directly affected. This was a worldwide tragedy, as is the expectation of those who seek to inflict this kind of pain on people. I wish to briefly speak to the experience of attending concerts itself, the beauty of music, and how that associated joy was ripped away so violently. I am an avid concert-goer myself and I am shaken at the thought of this blatant attack on our freedom and happiness as human beings.

To see such senseless violence & pain is baffling and to imagine something like that being normalized is terrifying. However, I also believe the sun that shines after a storm is a marker of hope for change on the horizon.

Let your music ring out and sing your love aloud.

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