Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Manchester Residents Extend a Hand through Twitter | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55374865

A man embraces a woman and a teenager as he collects them from the Park Inn Hotel, where they had been given refuge after the explosion at Manchester Arena. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Manchester- They came by Twitter, harnessing social media as a tool of collective uplift. The hashtag #RoomForManchester announced that people in the latest British city to be struck by terrorism were prepared to lend a hand to strangers.

In the hours after a bomb detonated at an Ariana Grande concert, spreading chaos as large areas around the arena were cordoned off, residents took to Twitter to offer aid to those affected by the deadly blast. The attack, which left at least 22 people dead and dozens more injured, was the deadliest in Britain since 2005 and is being investigated as an act of terrorism.

The messages, some of which gained thousands of retweets, offered a small glimmer of hope in an otherwise ghastly night of carnage, confusion and loss. And as fear and uncertainty yet again gripped Western Europe, the response from those closest to the violence suggested an unwillingness to be cowed by such strikes.

“When terrorism makes you question humanity, look to the heroes. In Manchester thousands are rushing to aid those in need,” said one Tweet.

Adding to the chorus was a local guest service manager, who wrote that the hotel had spare rooms for those needing a place to stay. Several hotels in Manchester sheltered children — who made up a large share of concert-goers — as frantic parents sought to locate them. And taxis in the city’s center offered free rides through the night.

Speaking early Tuesday morning, the mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, saluted city residents for the generosity they displayed in reacting to the attack.

“Even in the minutes after the attack, they opened their doors to strangers and drove them away from danger,”
Burnham said at a news conference. “They gave the best possible immediate response to those who seek to divide us and it will be that spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together.”

A Manchester city councillor, Bev Craig, wrote on Twitter that the messages showcased “the manchester I love.”

The Washington Post