Yesterday, a lot of people held a one-minute silence for the victims of Monday’s bombing in Manchester. Personally, I don’t really understand why this appears to have become one of the “done things” to do for any tragic event.
Yes, the bombing is awful, and should never have happened. The people who did it are unutterable motherfuckers, and deserve to be damned to whatever eternity their religion believes in. The victims shouldn’t have been victims, because this shit shouldn’t have happened.
But it did, and so we go on.
But what do these silences actually do? They re-focus attention on the event (but of course we’re not going to give terrorists the air of publicity that they crave, except when we then have every news broadcast for the next 72 hours focused pretty-much-purely on that event) and make people think about it even more. But we’re not going to let terrorists change our lives, are we? Except when we do, when there are now more armed police on the streets, and even more security on the streets, in airports and elsewhere – all of which changes our lives, and makes us think about terrorism even more.
I know the silences started off from the two-minutes-silence on Armistice Day – and I’m fine with that. But when did they become the done thing, the marker for every event?
I feel the same about the huge numbers of bouquets at the sites of deaths and tragedies. I get that people want to voice their sympathies, but when did a bouquet and gifts become the way to do it? It’s almost enough to make you wonder whether it’s not the florist industry behind it all, in a similar way to Valentine’s Day, just to improve their own profits – but this time out of the grimness and death of others. And the sodding cards that go with it – the ones that get read out in news broadcasts, that all seem to be suspiciously “on-message” for whatever’s been being reported.
The real start for the floral stuff seemed (to me) to be the death of Princess Diana, when flowers appeared everywhere, in true Damien Day style. Since then, they’ve accompanied every bloody event known to man.
Fine, people want to show their concerns, voice their sympathies and so on. But surely it’s better to do so with donations to a particular cause, with speaking up about (in the case of Manchester) terrorism and the like, to actually do something, rather than pay lipservice through a wallet and a minute’s silence?