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It's been 86 days since the Manchester Arena was attacked by a British-Muslim whose name I refuse to type into this article. I refuse to type this man's name because it gives him more publicity than I feel is necessary. It's sickening to think that an attack like this will leave people, more specifically the people of Manchester, England, with the memory of his name and not the names of the lives he took.
A venue that I had attended many times in the past to see some of the musical acts that helped shaped my very core and understanding of the world had been assaulted in the form of a radicalised British-Muslim who had nothing but brainwashed and evil thoughts running through his brain. Manchester Arena, for those who aren't familiar, is situated above Manchester Victoria train station, a place that I have traveled to and from since I was a baby. Both those places are held very dear to my heart and it still hurts to even think about the destruction that was caused to them, let alone the people that gathered on May 22, 2017, to see Ariana Grande perform.
I write this open letter to the world, as a reminder, that while evil strikes, and will continue to strike in our lifetime, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I want to let everybody know what has happened since the night of May 22, 2017, and that's how Manchester has managed to pick itself up and become stronger as a unit. There has been no inner city backlash against the Islamic faith, there has only been understanding and love. This has not broken our relationships with any ethnic minorities, in fact, it has brought us closer together to understand and acknowledge the individual as well as the generalisation of what it means to be a Mancunian.
It doesn't matter if you're not originally from here, as long as you live, breathe, and sleep in Manchester, we take you as our own. A city stands united in the face of evil trying to pit us against one another. Mancunians don't set out to harm each other or stack the deck against the success of its people. I'm not born and bred in Manchester but like anybody that joined before and after me, I was accepted as part of the wall, joining hands in solitude with its people.
I continue to walk the streets, take public transport, attend events, meet friends, go shopping, eat and drink in bars and restaurants across the city. The only difference I see 86 days later is people loving each other a little more. Slightly more in the tip jar for waitresses and taxi drivers, slightly more change in the homeless person's cup. Allowing people to enter a building before yourself as you hold the door for them. Smiling at each other as you make eye contact walking down the road.
Someone one day decided to hurt Manchester and they succeeded. Someone else should've told them beforehand that broken bones grow back stronger.
Stay strong our kid.
Saffie Rose Roussos