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Queen’s Brian May on Manchester Terror Attack: ‘Treat Horrific Events With Compassion,’ Not More Violence

Jim Dyson, Getty Images
Jim Dyson, Getty Images

As the music world on the whole braces for what’s next following the second major terrorist attack on a concert in less than two years, artists have been reacting and reflecting to the latest tragedy which took place at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England on Monday night (May 22). The attack claimed the lives of more than 20 people, including several children, and left dozens more injured. In a new interview, Queen‘s Brian May has offered a world view on how we treat situations like this.

The guitarist spoke with NME about the horrible event that struck his home country, recapping his initial reaction on Twitter, adding, “There were moms there that didn’t even know if there child was alive or dead. It’s the most terrible thing. To me, it’s almost impossible to imagine the kind of hatred that has to exist in someone if they would bomb children.”

May, who admitted he regards “everything as an opportunity,” stated, “out of tragedy comes knowledge and realization.” Citing 9/11 alongside the recent attack, he stressed these tragedies offer the “opportunity to reevaluate ourselves,” something he said the world failed to do after the 2001 attack in the United States. “We went on bombing people,” commented May.

“Tony Blair, David Cameron… [Britain] still [has] this attitude that you can solve a violent situation by violence. I don’t believe that. I believe we have to sweep all that away and start again. If we really think we can solve this kind of violent behavior by being violent ourselves and being racist and reacting in that way then we are in for the most terrible tragedy for the world, because this is how it escalates,” he went on.

Offering an alternative, May suggested, “To me, you have to break the cycle of violence and you have to treat horrific events with compassion. I don’t mean compassion for the person who did the bombing. You have to look at the world and say, ‘What part do we play in the world?’”

Queen are slated to perform at the Manchester Arena, where the attack took place, in December, and May said that canceling the show is not an option. He mentioned that security will need to be increased and looking at the “underlying causes” is also important, as well as asking, “Why does the world hate us that much?” The guitarist also said, “We won’t cancel because that’s what they want, these [terrorists]. They want to ruin our lives, they want to stop us making music, dancing and being happy. Course they do. And we have to stick to what we believe in, which is that life is to be lived.”

Lamb of God‘s Randy Blythe took on a similar mindset following the Manchester attack, stating, in part, “We as a race, THE HUMAN RACE, have to do better than this.” Linkin Park‘s Chester Bennington also felt humanity can benefit from less hate and more compassion as he said, “As of today, my life’s purpose is one of love and understanding. The world needs to change and that change comes from within. Hate, pride, vengeance and fear are the plague of the earth. Love, kindness, compassion, empathy and service to others are the cure.”

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