It seems a bit vacuous to want to wax lyrical about my great weekend at a book festival when some prick has just bombed a bunch of children and their parents in Manchester. I want to tell you why I’m going to do it anyway.
This was a strike against women and girls, female empowerment, freedom of expression, and pop culture. All the things that shape precisely the person that I am today. Men were injured and killed too and their losses are no less keenly felt; but the undercurrent of misogyny in this attack is palpable.
Ariana Grande is an empowered woman, defiantly commanding an audience with her powerful vocals – hell, she even had the nerve to call her tour “Dangerous Woman.” No matter your personal opinion of her music, you’ve got to respect her confidence. Ariana Grande is everything Islamist Extremists hate – women, music and fun. Ariana is a magnet to young women and that scares the hell out of these guys.
Shutting down Ariana and her fans, making people too afraid to enjoy pop culture or to congregate in public places, filling your day with horror and terror instead of the things you enjoy. That’s what these assholes want – and I will be fucked if I’m going to let them have it.
So from my little corner of the world, I’m going to think about the little 8 year old girl whose face I can’t get out of my head. I’m going to keep hearing Olivia Campbell’s mother sobbing as she pleads for someone to find her daughter. But I’m also going to post about the great weekend I had listening to brilliant men and women who write the things that ISIS dickheads don’t want women like me to be able to read. And even though I have never really been an Ariana Grande fan, if she comes to NZ after this to perform, I’m going to support her coming here.
This small act of defiance might be inconsequential. I can’t win a war, or stop terrorism with a blog post and a trip to the theatre. But I can damn well enjoy doing all those things that the terrorists don’t want me to do – and if that gets up their noses then I’ve achieved something.
To the people of Manchester, my heart breaks for you. Do not let them steal from you the things you enjoy. Do not let them win.