Student Affairs. A section dedicated to student nurses and the issues affecting our profession. What bigger issues have there been this week than in Manchester? A normal, developing city that was plunged into a level of violence that used to, seemingly, only occur elsewhere in the world.
The emergency services who so bravely carried out their roles in what must have been distressing, in fact, terrifying circumstances, deserve our respect. It makes me nervous to be political in situations such as these. What really worries me though, is that these events will continue to happen.
It has been over 15 years since 9/11 when the West began its ‘War on Terror’. Instead of it making us safer, I, personally, feel more afraid. Since the government started publishing our threat levels it has never been set lower than ‘Substantial - an attack is a strong possibility’. Does it really look like our current tactic, to bomb Middle Eastern countries, is working?
“This situation will not be resolved through further conflict”
I realise my words may sound trite given the situation. However, with the majority of my family serving or having had served in the armed forces, I am all too aware of the risks to our service personnel when we decide to play empire abroad. In my opinion, this situation will not be resolved through further conflict. We will only risk our soldiers and the safety of the British public by continuing to place their safety in jeopardy.
As healthcare professionals, we know that positive, nationally coordinated healthcare interventions are best practice when undertaking healthcare promotion. Why do we not take the same attitude when we are attempting to safeguard the British public from the threat of terrorism? End austerity. Give people of all backgrounds the opportunity to get jobs and change the stigma around Islam in this country. Given that a lot of terrorists are ’home-grown’, I think that it is highly likely that these actions are more likely to make us safer than anything like Prevent.
“Why do we not take the same attitude when we are attempting to safeguard the British public from the threat of terrorism?”
We need to break out of the mainstream media’s framing and stop fearing the other. Salman Albedi was ‘supposed’ to be a Muslim but that doesn’t mean that all Muslims are violent, otherwise, quite a lot of our colleagues would be dangerous and we all know from personal experience that that’s not true. In fact, the data shows that between 2009-2013, only 2% of terrorist attacks in the EU were religiously motivated (that includes all religions, not just Islam). In America between 1980 and 2005, 94% of terrorist attacks were carried out by non-Muslims. Fearing and dividing ourselves from the people who we need to support will not help us to end this situation.
“We need to have hope in the power of humanity”
It may sound foolish, but as nurses and people we need to have hope in the power of humanity. To look into ourselves as a species and see that yes, there are a few of us that can carry out acts of great terror. But the majority, just want to love and to feel and to live their lives.
It was tragic what happened to the children and families whose lives have been ended or warped by the act of this coward. It is also tragic to see yet another bombing occur in Syria or Yemen, in part, due to our actions to destabilise the region. Don’t forget that the Syrian conflict actually began and still is a proxy war over the gas pipeline and who will control it. As ever, innocents abroad and here at home are put at risk for the chance of profit. Whether in natural resources or the military industrial complex, there is always more money to be made if we, the British public, allow hate and fear to override our logic.
This is not a time for more conflict. This is not a time for fear and hate. It is a time to show compassion, to be nurses and to find ways to try to fix the damage that has been done to our society and the victims of Monday’s attack. I don’t think that I or anyone else will ever be able to do enough to honour the people who died on Monday night but violence is not the answer.