“You must not hate those who do harmful things. The compassionate thing is to do what you can to stop them – for they are harming themselves as well as those who suffer from their actions.” Dalai Lama - The Book of Joy
Her name was Nell and she was fourteen-years-old. Her best friend Freya saw her die, then spent the next two months in the hospital recovering from injuries suffered from the same suicide bomb. I didn’t know either girl. They were two of the stream of children who sauntered by my window each morning on their way to the Comprehensive School. They were two of the multitude of young people crowding Manchester Arena for a concert that night in May. They were two of the many dozens hurt or killed when a young man walked through the doors with a bomb on his back.
I won’t write his name, but I don’t hate him. Even now after the disbelief and fear have eased, I don’t hate him. Perhaps if I’d known Nell or Freya, or the other people he killed or wounded I would have no pity, no feeling but anger. But my soul grieves, too, for that naïve, feckless, soul broken, hell-bent boy. For him, too, my heart breaks.
I don’t hate him. I hate the ideologues and the demigods of every nation – including my own - who sanction violence and propagate fear, who feed off the flesh of such young men no less than off the flesh of the lives they take.