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Episode 145: Manchester

When I woke up on Tuesday morning last week I thought the worst thing that had happened was that Roger Moore had died.
Turns out he wasn’t on his own as on Monday evening a bomb had been detonated at a concert in Manchester killing 22 people, 7 of them children.
Tuesday became a day of mourning, not just in Manchester, but throughout the UK and all over world. Manchester is famous. It’s famous for its culture, its music, its football and its people.
But Manchester’s fame meant that the world has paid much more attention to the deaths of those innocent people than any other innocent victim killed recently in this world of 7 billion people. The families and friends of those killed in Manchester aren’t the only ones suffering at the hands of brain washed fanatics.
But since Al-Qaeda, The Taliban and ISIS started making so much noise, the western world has begun to see the Muslim community in the same way that they did in the 1980’s and 90’s with the Protestant Irish.
“Oh your Irish are you, you must be a terrorist!”
We can look at that now all these years later and realise that that’s not right, you can’t judge an entire culture or religion based on the actions of the fanatics.
You can’t blame someone for being born on a different lump of rock to the one that you were born on. But people do.
But not in Manchester.
Instead Manchester pulled together in acts of solidarity to show ISIS that you can’t convince them to hate.
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If you didn’t already know, Manchester has an image of a bee in its coat of arms to represent the working class hive mentality that formed a huge part of Victorian Manchester’s textile industry.
Last week people in Manchester and throughout the UK have been getting the Manchester bee emblem tattooed onto themselves to show solidarity. On Friday last week one Manchester tattoo studio had 800 customers queuing for a bee tattoo and so Tattoo Artists all over the City were opening their doors and working for free, taking donations and giving proceeds to a charity that’s been set up to support the families of those that died.
People from all religions and backgrounds have been getting their bee tattoos, because what the people of Manchester understand is that the man who killed those people did not represent Islam, no more than the killer of Jo Cox last year represented Christianity.
There will always be bad people in the world. But there are so many more good people. And tragic events like this should bring different cultures closer together.
Mohammed from the Post Office didn’t do anything wrong last week, he sat in horror watching the TV on Tuesday morning like the rest of us did. We can’t lay blame at the doors of the innocent just because of their religion. We all know this.
Yet there are still posts on Facebook being shared from the likes of Britain First that show how uninformed some people are. If you are listening to this and you are a supporter of those sorts of groups, then I hope I can help you question things a little.
People seem to support Britain First and the English Defence League because they’re angry and want an outlet for it. Negative emotions are hard to forget. Fear and anger are a huge part of our evolution, but they are the same.
Fear and anger have the same emotional and physiological responses as each other, that’s why the response is called Fight Or Flight.
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If you happen to see any “Kick all muslims out of my country” posts on social media, maybe politely point out that the Muslim communities are as much against ISIS as they are. Tell them that encouraging us to hate them is exactly what ISIS want, because if we show them how much we respect and care for people, irrespective of their religion, then when ISIS try to whisper into the ear of the vulnerable kids and say
“Hey, Britain hates you, they want you dead, but we’ll be your friend, come into our family and you’ll always be welcome” .
When they try to turn them into the modern equivalent of kamikaze pilots those kids will realise that they’re being tricked. They will see evidence that we are good people who CAN embrace other cultures. They will see that we do have respect for different ideologies. They will see that we are good people who recognise the difference between Imran the Taxi Driver and Imran the Terrorist.
We need to prove that we aren’t scared of them and that can mean having to work hard at overriding our instincts. Our cognitive biases often prevent us from accurately assessing risk you see. Soon after there’s been a plane crash people rate the possibility of another one crashing as higher than they do if they were to be asked a few months later. That’s just how the brain works and one of the reasons for this is because of our exposure to negative situations in the media.
You never see a news reporter talking about the fact that something HASN’T happened.
No-one stands outside Heathrow Airport doing a piece to camera saying “There’s been over a thousand flights leave this airport today and so far they’ve all landed safely, we’ll be back later on tonight to see if there’s any change.” Because after a week of that they’d lose viewers.
Stability isn’t newsworthy, so they have to report on the fear provoking instability of the world instead.
So, take the news with a pinch of salt and let’s show ISIS that we all stand together in our opinion of them whether we’re Atheist, Muslim, Christian or Jedi. They will not make us hate each other.

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