Mein Manchester

by Antje Timmermann and Prudence Clarke

Manchester is our hometown – most of the the Deutsch Centre staff have chosen to live here, our blogger Prue was even born here. It is a city of diversity and vibrancy but the horrific bombing at the end of a pop concert earlier this week has drained the city of its colour. Manchester is a city in mourning for those who lost their lives and a city trying to heal whilst still under the threat of attack.

This week we break with the tradition of this blog and write not about German culture but instead of the spirit of the great city of Manchester.

The spirit of Manchester is unique. It is that of ‘have a cup of tea’ and carry on. The aim of attacks of this nature are to divide us and push people to turn on each other but this great city doesn’t operate in that way. Communities have come together in tear jerking acts of solidarity. At a vigil held to honour those who died people of different faiths and nationalities stood side by side and often hand in hand. That is the spirit of the city one of defiance and hope. People offered their homes to strangers, homeless men ran into the scene of the explosion to help the dying, taxi drivers arrived to offer free rides to families on the night, people queued to give blood until there was too much and an appeal to raise money for the bereaved exceeded the million pound mark within hours. This is a city of unity and of resilience.

Antje would like to share with you what it means to her to be a citizen of Manchester:

I arrived in Manchester five years ago. It didn’t take long for me to feel very comfortable, making new friends quickly. Manchester is a cosmopolitan city in the best sense of the word. Even when the newspapers were full of reports of raising xenophobia after the Brexit vote, I experienced the opposite. I speak German to my children, sometimes quite loudly in public places.

I have never experienced any antipathy because of it, instead since end of June last year I have noticed smiles and indulgent glances of strangers as if they were distancing themselves from the waves of hate and letting me know that I’m still welcome here. love living in Manchester and I love the people. What happened on Monday is too horrible to even find words that seem relevant and appropriate. So many people are hurting from physical wounds and even more from mental and emotional wounds. From the way Mancunians have come together though to support the victims and to show unity against hatred and division, I have the hope that it will be possible to heal. I embrace and cherish our rich diverse society where people respect each other, see each other as human beings rather than in categories of colour, gender generation. I feel very glad to call Manchester my home.

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