Soldiers do not go to war against eight-year-old girls

Ariana Grande
© Peter Dzubay / Wikimedia

I can’t stop thinking about the victims of last night’s terrorist attack in Manchester.

And I can’t begin to imagine what the parents are going through (even though I have had a rude introduction to real debilitating grief myself this year).

And while there are many victims – each of whom is precious and deeply loved by those close to them; two particular thoughts come to mind:

The first is concern for Ariana Grande. She is not somebody I had heard of until this morning – that’s not to downplay her significance; but I am just not a follower of modern music so there is no reason why I would have heard of her. I’m sure she is a very talented musician – she can fill the Manchester Arena and other arenas. But in reading about her this morning I learn that she is just 23 years old.

She is a kid herself. And she has to cope with the fact that 22 people who came to hear her sing died leaving the concert. That would be hard for a 47-year-old like me to deal with. But she is just a kid herself. Don’t overlook her grief in your concern for the other victims.

And the other thought is the haunting image of the youngest confirmed victim: Saffie Rose Roussos.

The family-released photo of this eight-year-old girl is an image that could be of anybody’s eight-year-old child. But she is never coming home. Her life and future potential snuffed away by the evil of Daesh. There are many victims – many, so far, unknown to us. And no victim is more important than others; but Saffie’s photo is going to become an iconic image of last night’s attack.

Daesh claim to be soldiers. Nobody believes them.

Nobody believed them before; and certainly nobody believes them now. Soldiers do not go to war against eight-year-old girls.