As a kid I fantasized about a future with many a female TV stars of the time, it didn’t matter if by the time I’m grown they’d have become older and possibly be not as desirable as I once thought them. As an adult, only Ariana Grande has been able to ignite such a fire within me, since I first saw her on Nickelodeon (yes, I still indulge, as a kid at heart, with all the shenanigans to boot). Even though she was always cast as naive in SAM & CAT,
it didn’t deter me from loving her. I settled rather for the innocence she portrayed and found the naivety part comedic only. It took a while before I got to know about her music life, and once I did there was no letting go. I wasn’t so surprised that her shrill voice would find so beautiful an expression in her music career, though it doesn’t always follow that a good speaking voice automatically translates to a good singing voice, and vice versa, and I speak from experience.
It was in following her from a distance, including her appearances on shows like SATURDAY NIGHT LIFE,
that I was aware she was going to have a concert in Manchester. The norm for me was to wait a few days and watch highlights on YouTube or elsewhere of her performances, and I did follow twitter buzz live until tweets of joy, happiness and elation began giving way to those of horror and despair. Initially I wasn’t sure what I was following, I didn’t remember changing the trend topic, and I thought the incident that came up must have happened somewhere else in Manchester, until it appeared that the same revellers tweeting about the concert, were the same ones tweeting about a terror attack. Only then did it dawn on me that Ariana Grande’s concert was the same one that was attacked towards the end.
For fear that it might be implied that I consider other terrorist attacks, even at locations in Nigeria less than that of Manchester, the reason I might have been unduly irked by that one, besides the fact that such incidents would naturally unnerve me is because of my affinity to anything Ariana Grande. It saddened me that her concert, with songs that evoke nothing but love and the appreciation of life (I have once confided in someone I was watching one of the shows she featured in with, that she exudes so much of life, that sometimes I feel dead), will be visited by the vilest of men who purvey the exact opposite of what nights like what Ariana offered means for many people, especially those at that concert to find some form of relief from the ordinary hectic life that we all find ourselves cocooned in and with. I found very distasteful an article I read days later, where it was claimed that Ariana was not only whisked away to safety, but left the UK on the next available flight for the USA, after the unfortunate incident. I was happy though, that I wasn’t the only person that observed that that article was written in bad taste, possibly aimed at presenting Ariana as one of the so called celebrities without a milk of human kindness, lacking sympathy and empathy.
I must confess that I did have reservations at some point, trying to agree to some extent with the author of the said article, and I was beginning to be unsure about her, but again I understood that people like her are handled by several individuals who may have considered that action, the best at the time. Then came the other attack in London on the third of June. I had only woken up in the wee hours of the morning to hear about it, and startled as it was one too many in such a short space of time. I began checking friend’s Facebook timeline, whom I knew were in the UK at the time, even in London to be assured of their safety. Then news and names of victims started filtering in (then of the perpetrators as well), including that of an Australian female, Sara Zelenak who had managed to avoid prior terrorist attacks, three in a row in the UK before the last one that eventually took her life, after she yet again failed to attend Ariana Grande’s Manchester Concert on the 22nd of May, even though she had a ticket for it.
A friend of mine in London who knew about my fondness for an Ariana Grande I had never met, informed me about the concert in solidarity with victims of that attack at her earlier concert in Manchester, which held two days ago, and my respect for her, which didn’t in anyway dwindle (despite the few negative press following the concert that was marred by terrorism), was raised several notches. I wasn’t only touched by the courage she exhibited in returning to Manchester, but also by her fans who attended the ONE LOVE MANCHESTER concert, yet again in their large numbers in defiance of and to TERRORISM. She
and members of her band, even went on to have the Manchester Bee tattooed on her body in solidarity with fundraising to aid victims of the Manchester terrorist attack that took place at her gig weeks back. It was for me an appropriate response to terrorism by someone of no less her stature, because I feel it is pertinent to send the message to these terrorists that they will not cause our civilization to live our lives less than we currently live them, this resolve must remain unshaken till the last of them die out, either by the hands of the law and justice, or simply naturally. Naturally because man has been plagued with their likes throughout history, and yet managed to outlive them, this will be no different, only that if care is not taken, and moderate Muslims don’t act to reclaim their religion, it might just be eclipsed by the part of it that makes news today as it slips into oblivion.
I had thought that President Donald Trump’s administration will tow a different path in relating to the heart of Islamic Fundamentalism, as aided and abetted by the Saudi Arabian government’s Wahhabism, which makes it look like the official ISIS (or White Daesh as it’s now popularly called in the Dark media) not only in the region, but outside of it. Unfortunately, not only did the President join the Saudi royals in the “Sword Dance” during his last visit, his government went on to berate Iran (which is in the news today following yet another terrorist attack targeting even the burial place of Iran’s revered Ayatollah) for conducting elections in a manner they (Americans) disapprove of, even though there’s no semblance of democracy visible in Saudi Arabia. Interestingly, none of the oil rich gulf states made the list of states whose citizens are banned from traveling to the United States, despite records showing that a disproportionately large number of known terrorists hail from there, while America’s anti-Terror organizations simply look away (or so it seems from the government’s angle of things), and continue with the kind of rhetoric that chides Iran for the sins of its revolution against America of decades past while the present actors are allowed to roam free, even availed sophisticated weaponry and a strengthening of war machinery, and air power because they are allies, for pecuniary reasons such as oil.
The most disgusting for me is the British government and the security agencies saddled with the responsibility of protecting the people, who continue to suffer these attacks, as with the French, more than any other country in that region, yet on each occasion there is talk of perpetrators of these attacks having been accosted, arrested, even interrogated by the intelligence agencies, only for them to be released and placed under observation, like waiting for them to go commit their acts of terror, over and over again. How do families of victims feel to hear stories like this? How did Britain now become one of the world’s exporters of terror? Why has radicalization of impressionable youths achieved such rampancy and frequency there? Isn’t it sad that with all the technology and knowhow at the disposal of the British security and intelligence agencies, when it comes to terror they people are as helpless there, as those in Nigeria, where corruption aids terrorism, with allocations for surveillance CCTV diverted into private pockets, like that meant for procurement of arms to fight another homegrown disaster here by the name of Boko Haram. What Ariana Grande has inspired people across the world to do is, in spite of the inactions or slow action of governments, security and intelligence agencies, as well as religious leaders, the citizens must look into the eye of terror and terrorism, and show nothing but love for humanity, sing for and to it, confident that over this one also, we shall pass.