An open letter to myself about Manchester and the university I actually love 💜

I still have my final third year exams to sit on Friday and Tuesday at the university of Manchester, and a concert to go to at the ethiad stadium on the 3rd (it’s Robbie Williams- my mum loves him). 
I’m still attending all of them.
Yes, I will be careful and as safe as I can be.

Some students have asked the university to postpone the exams, and I’m glad they haven’t.

To lock yourselves away, and not go to the things you’ve planned to go to, is to give terrorists and their organisations what they want- for us to be so terrified of them that we don’t live our lives.

I’m still getting my degree, and I’m still going to go enjoy a gig at the ethiad- albeit tainted with some somber thoughts of the attack at Manchester arena- regardless of whether extremists or ISIS or whoever would rather have me cowering in fear at home. 

That’s not to say I’m not a little anxious about going back to Manchester (I’ve been back home to revise) but to not go back is to let fear win.

Manchester is a place I frequently found myself as a young person, with countless gigs, in various venues, some comedians, a good few theatre shows, shopping trips, museum and art gallery outings, and university lectures under my belt at this point. 

Approaching the end of my three years at UOM, I now know the witch way and magic bus routes like the back of my hand. If you asked me in an ordinary week about my university, I’d probably lament how stressed and sleep deprived I am. But I love my university, and the city, all the same.

My first gig was the Take That reunion tour at the Ethiad when I was about 11

My first theatre show was Grease at the palace theatre when I was about 9

Manchester is where the majority of my greatest memories were made.

It was a no brainer when it came to which university I wanted to go to. Either the University of, or Manchester Met. Because either way I was going to my second home in the city.
It makes me angry to think people’s own memory making was ruined or that lives were taken away before they could even have those number of experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to have.

The last couple of days, my anxiety has been sky high (as documented in a previous post, I have struggled with my mental health since I was 15) so it’s made trying to focus on my actual exam tough, because all I can think about is it’s location and the “What if?”. What made it most unsettling is that I’m now a disabled person. How do I go on about getting out in a terrorist attack? Which staircase on the 4th floor is the safest? Is the university even a safe place? Will there be police and armed forces personnel hovering around the beloved ‘tin can’ that is University Place?

But, despite all the uncertainty, I have to carry on. To not go back to Manchester would be like never going home again.

University of Manchester- I’m coming home again, one last time before I set off into the big wide world with all the “Knowledge, wisdom, [and] Humanity” I can possibly muster.

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Terrorism, racism and other shit things…

On November 2016, in light of the terrorist attacks in France, I wrote this post on my Facebook:

I feel like it’s important in light of recent events for me to say this. People can fall out with me over it. 

It probably won’t change their minds, but I would like them to hear me out and know where I stand, to avoid awkward discussions later.

Muslims/terrorists/ISIS are not the same thing.


Some of you might say “How can it not be Islam doing it, when it’s called Islamic state!”


I’m fully aware of what it’s called, but those people hide behind their religion, just like the KKK.

Hitler and Stalin were both raised Christian.
I know a number of Muslims, and none of them are terrorists or secret members of ISIS, thank you very much.


Some I went to college with, some I worked with on a placement, and two even educated me in 3/4 of my A levels! (Two of which were A’s)


I get that’s it’s hard to look beyond the fact that many of the most heavily reported terrorist attacks are committed by supposed “Muslims”

But you have your own mind to go and educate yourselves about the situation, before you pass judgement on it.


In a way, I admire a Muslim’s dedication to their faith (the ones I have met myself, who are GOOD people) since I am supposed to be Christian but the only time I attend church is when someone in my family gets christened or it’s their communion…


You might say “Yeah but look at the Quran! Look at what it says Becca! They’re all evil!”


All religions have ridiculous, awful verses in them. As a Christian I’m supposed to go about my day, stoning divorced women to death, and converting or killing heathens, to name just 2 examples…


But I don’t because that’s ridiculous.


Some of you might bring up shariah law.


Fine, please tell me the last time you followed the 10 commandants word for word. God gives Christians lots of crazy commands too, like stoning women who have sex before marriage- it’s 2015, it doesn’t mean you have to follow it.


Have any of you, who are so against these people, ever had a normal conversation with one?
I’m guessing not!


I took a religion and philosophy A level taught by- yup- a Muslim, where I studied the Quran, the Bible and the Torah to see how much they fit with or went against modern life.


None of them came close!


So, do you see me indoctrinated by that person who taught me and had me studying the Quran, ready to go and carry out a suicide bombing?
Nope. You don’t, because very few Muslims are actually like that, just like not all Christians are the westboro baptist church, or how not all white Anglo Saxon Protestants are the KKK.


Hell*, it wasn’t that long ago when we had “No dogs, no blacks, no Irish” on the doors of buildings up and and down the country
00.3% is the figure out at the moment I believe, for how many Muslims are extremist. Everyone points out that out of the Muslim population, that’s a large figure but all of them would never combine forces because they all belong to different fractions of Islam. 


There’s Christian extremists in America, who stand at around 15% of the population, but no one bothers about that?


If it were true that all Muslims are evil terrorists, and the Muslim population wanted to take over the world, like some sort of evil world domination group, they would have done it by now!


Finally, not all people who originate from the East are Muslim- there are areas like with any other globalised country where religious pluralism is the norm, just like the UK- they are not all terrorists, in the same sense not all Germans are Nazis. 


Can you imagine if we all still said Germans were Nazis?
Exactly!


Some of you might say “But this is Christian Britain! We need our country back!”
While you sit there knowing you probably had sex before marriage, take contraception, and wear clothes made of more than 1 material….and then you’re supposed to love your neighbour….


And yet you tarnish all people from one religion as demonic people, a cancer ect.
Oh I’m sorry, how “Christian” of you.


Also Christianity is still the most dominant religion in the UK, even if it does have crazy rules (I do not want to be subservient to a husband who is free to do what he wants to me because we’re married. Nope!)
“We need to close our boarders!”


Many terrorists now are home-grown, so that’s not solving the issue, it’d keep us a little safer, in a way, for a few days max. We rely so much on other countries for trade it’s not a viable solution.


If anyone wishes to argue about it, I will happily post links to texts you can read on the subject. Or, you know, play a drinking game of all the passages that say the horrible things Christians should do to others in the Bible (keep an ambulance on standby, you might need one)


Your religion is not what guides you to do something wrong- it’s there as a mechanism for when times get tough, you have God/Allah (they’re the same person) to turn to.

 It’s how man takes the words and twists them, to justify their actions that causes terrorism. To become one, a person must already feel marginalised by society. 

How many school shootings in America do we know were committed by a white male who had mental health issues and dysfunctional family setup?


So, it’s not just religion that causes terrorism.


All religions have had people manipulate it as a means to commit terrorism.


Muslims are not “those fucking demon scum” Because they have names, families, and normal, everyday lives to get on with like the rest of us


When I look around social media, the Muslim community is just as devastated about this as you are. Because now they’re going to be subject to even more hate and prejudice, just because of the actions of a few delusional scumbags.

—————————


If you still feel Muslims are the root of all evil, do not engage with them at all, and simply leave them be!


But next time you want a taxi, or a doctor to save your life, or for someone to educate your child, or someone to serve you in a supermarket, you’re going to struggle! 🙂


*oops, blasphemy


#prayfortheworld”
I feel this is even more relevant now. I’d been working on a blog post on feminism, but it’s more important to address terrorism.
I come from a town drenched in racial tension. We’ve had riots, EDL demos, a past wave of support for the BNP and now UKIP. We live completely seperate lives: Muslims and Christians, whites and Asians.
Yeah I understand it’s idealistic to expect everyone to go skipping into the sunset, exchanging interfaith dialogue.
But what about education?

How about pure academic study of religious texts?
It’s nothing to spend a few lessons showing students passages from the Bible, the Quran, and the Torah.
And agreeing on how at least half their contents doesn’t fit with modern life!
Use your rational thought, no matter how religious, or what religion  you are.


Becca 🙂