The Day After Manchester: Pity or Piety? Sincerity or Social Pressure?

Manchester Will Endure


May 23, 2017

To the leaders of the free world who are using their various PR events today to castigate terrorism in the wake of the Manchester bomb blast last night, I respectfully ask you to shut up. Sorry, but your ‘thoughts and prayers’ will do no good. Your ‘condolences’ are ineffectual to the problems at hand. Namely, you’re a mealy-mouthed poltroon awash in hypocrisy. These utterances, so common as to be a Google Sheets template, that pour out in the hours after a terror event kills and maims scores of people in the West have been devalued as expressions of pity and rather enhanced as tools of political piety. When breathed through the thin lips of a Trump, May, Trudeau or Bibi, the words simply fulfill the PR requirements statehood mandates.

The irony, lost on a sad majority, is that these same opponents of terror happen to be the architects of global terrorism: the West openly finances, even fabricates, arms, and trains militant groups across the globe. What is the name of an ideology that foments the terror campaigns a-rage in Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, but all at once weeps for British, American, German, French, Israeli, and Dutch victims of terror? Dear leaders, which side of your mouth does your true self speak from?

what is the difference between a child who died last night in Manchester with that of a child killed today in Yemen? Chances are you wept for the former and never heard of the latter.

Such hypocrisy is no virgin bride to the realpolitik, but when it bleeds into the public sphere, is it not equally phony? After all, what is the difference between a child who died last night in Manchester with that of a child killed today in Yemen? Chances are you wept for the former and never heard of the latter. News feeds today were churning out globby chunks of patronizing claptrap, much of it with an unironic Jesus-y vibe to it all, as though the author hadn’t paid close attention to life since before The Crusades. I am not saying that anyone who took to their Twitter account and spoke compassionately of the victims of Manchester’s latest heinous atrocity was being insincere; quite the opposite. A little more insincerity might actually do us all a world of good, however. Instead of bemoaning the loss of lie, ask your leaders why this had to fucking happen?

No, the problem I have with the public campaigns like Je Suis Charlie and I Stand With (Heart icon+name of recent grotesque killing scene), is that they are as easy to slap on as a politician’s pancake makeup. Nobody on social media wants to feel like the asshole in the group, right? ‘Better swap that selfie for a pic of Stamford Bridge, Reg, or you’ll look like a right cunt.’ This is propaganda at its shit-encrusted worst, marketing most loathsome, and that’s saying something for an industry that monetized lung cancer.

But I can hear the argument: ‘these people are using a small gesture to show the victims they care.’ Exactly. It’s a small, pathetic gesture of self-importance. Victims are not scrolling through their social media accounts today looking for Likes and new followers, they’re trying to heal! Meanwhile, back in the United Nations of Hypocritical Liberalism, people far flung from the terror are shocked and awed that “such a thing could happen.” Mate, where have you been since forever? This isn’t even “news” anymore. I mean, it’s news when it’s a terror incident in Paris or England, San Bernadino or Australia. ‘Egypt? Pffft. Somalia? Fuck ’em. Because of Somali I had to endure that Blackhawk Down shite fest of a movie.’ When will people in the West stop mythologizing their suffering and start condemning the terror their governments perpetuate? Because the blowback is what we saw in Manchester on Monday night.

Empty gestures do not bring people back, no more than prayers will stop the next lone wolf gunman from popping off in a daycare centre. Pictures of tourist monuments with hearts and roses? The solemn faces of a “distressed” politician who cannot help but think what if the victim was his own kid? Pointless charades done for optics. We, even myself with a stupid eiffel tower symbol after Bataclan, fall prey to the social obligations of sorrow. The politicians, unless they’re named Duarte who is badger-in-heat-crazy, do it because it’s expected of them … and then they go about their golf game or tea party in the garden. And what, what does either achieve beyond saving face? Not a fucking trinket. The dead stay dead, the maimed live on as best as they can. Meanwhile, the West continues its bromance with Israel, Canada and the US ink arms deals with serial human rights shitter-uponers Saudi Arabia, and the pathological blindness of its own crimes abroad goes unabated. Moreover, people continue to die because we in the West value division and control over the sanctity of life. Class, race, religion, sex, whatever we can use to pit humans against humans will be used like velvet-handled truncheon.

Our leaders lie to us, that’s a given. The institutions that surround our neighbourhoods carry on with the whitewashing of our history. We Westerners are constantly in motion between playing the conquering hero or bereaved victim, that we never quite see ourselves as the great, malignant tumour on the colon of the humanity. If we really want to honour the lives of those lost in Manchester, we can start by grieving for all humans victimized by terrorism, especially those who die directly as a result of bombs we financed, drones we built, rebel groups we train expertly in covert ops. Then, we put the avatars and memes aside and mobilize against our leaders and the systems in place that allow terrorism to exist (on our tax dollars).

Terrorism is enshrined within Western political thought. As such, terrorism is inescapable.

I know, I know. ‘Shut up, Jason.’ If only I could.




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