In support of Manchester

By | Category: Travel rumblings

In front of Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square at 6pm tonight there will be a vigil for those involved in last night’s atrocity

Today, Cory Jobe – the Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism – sent out his weekly tourism newsletter. He began, not by noting something about Chicago or Illinois, but about the cowardly attack on children, teenagers and their parents at the Manchester Arena yesterday evening.

“Like you all, (he wrote) I am stunned and saddened to hear of yesterday’s events in Manchester, England. My heart goes out to the victims and to my friends, my colleagues, and everyone worldwide affected by this tragedy. News like this is especially difficult considering the connections with people around the globe thanks to international travel.”

Jobe’s comments about the connections on international travel are at the root of why people from around the world are so sympathetic when tragedy occurs like those that have happened in Paris, Brussels, Nice, Berlin, Boston and Madrid. Tourism has made the world grow smaller as more and more of us have travelled. If many of us haven’t visited places where these inhumane atrocities take place we feel we know them. It is why so many of us felt part of the sadness that those cities had to endure.

The news that Mancunian taxi-drivers ferried people home from the Arena at no cost; the fact that hoteliers put-up concert goers as best as they were able without charging and that a homeless man cradled one of those wounded will go around the world revealing Manchester to be a city full of people who care and pull together in adversity.

Just as Mancunians said today that they would not be deterred from venturing into the city centre so should visitors from wherever they are in the world be like-minded. Staying away from cities that have been attacked in this venomous way plays into the hand of IS and other terrorist groups who are so brave that they are only strong enough to attack defenceless children and those going about their normal life.

Just as I was in Manchester not long after the 1996 bombing, I will be there shortly again as a very small and insignificant sign that I, as a visitor, will not be deterred.

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