The bombing in Manchester, England, brought a raucous, joyous night of music and dancing to a terrifying, tragic end.
The blast between Manchester Arena and the adjacent Victoria Train Station near the end of an Ariana Grande concert left at least 22 dead, dozens more injured, and hundreds stranded near the arena.
As we’ve seen in too many cities around the world, attacks like these — which put the worst of humanity on display — often also bring out the best of humanity. The attack in Manchester was no different.
If the goal of terrorism is to terrorize, the city failed to give the perpetrators that satisfaction — at least for now.
Dozens offered their homes to people stranded by the bombings.
Taxi drivers, many of them Muslim, offered free rides to scared concert-goers.
One taxi company even offered their headquarters as a shelter.
Manchester residents lined up to give blood.
Blood banks told potential donors eager to help they were already full — but urged people to keep pre-made appointments.
People brought food and hot drinks to police officers the morning after…
…and distributed water to those who remained near the arena where the bombing took place.
Most importantly, people helped others find their missing relatives on social media.
Terror attacks are frightening. That’s the point. But Manchester — like London, Paris, Mumbai, Madrid, and New York before it — refuses to be twisted into something it’s not.
What the attackers likely expected was chaos and mayhem. What emerged was an open-hearted city full of people who have each others’ backs in times of crisis.
There are forces that want decent people to be cowed, panicked, and angry in the wake of terror. The perpetrators of violence depend on it, and the people who leap to highlight divisions based on religion and national origin, even before the nature of the attack is fully known, thrive on it.
For now, in Manchester, the love, support, and sense of community is drowning out the hate.
It’s a lesson the world shouldn’t have to learn over and over again.