An Open Letter to Salman Ramadan Abedi


Dear Salman,

You’re dead. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that you died for nothing. Nothing. There are no virgins up there to meet you…or perhaps I should say down there. Trumpets didn’t sound; angels didn’t sing. You’ve been had.

You murdered an 8-year-old child. Saffie Rose Roussos…her mother and sister are among the wounded.

You murdered a young woman who had such dreams. Georgina Callander, 18, was a college student from Lancashire. Her family is devastated.

You murdered John Atkinson, who was 28. We don’t know if the lovely woman in the picture beside him is his wife, his girlfriend, his sister. We don’t know yet if he left orphans behind. We know his family is in mourning.

And 19 others have yet to be identified. Another 59 were wounded, including 12 who are below the age of 16. But you don’t care about the dead and wounded. You are dead.

Tonight in Manchester, thousands gathered in defiance. You can bomb them, but you can’t defeat them. They read a poem about Manchester and laughed and smiled and clapped as tears rolled down their cheeks. That is Manchester and that is a spirit you will never understand. The hotels opened their doors for free; people are bringing water and food to the emergency workers.

Around the world, they are calling you a monster, a terrorist, inhumane. Donald Trump called you an evil loser. You chose to die – that was your right. What wasn’t your right was to cause death and pain to others.

That’s really what it’s about – your culture versus ours. In that moment before you exploded yourself, before shrapnel and explosives tore through your body and ended your worthless life, you thought you were serving Allah and Islam. You thought your reward would be virgins in heaven.

But the truth is, you were serving extremism and evil and your reward will be eternal hell, nothing less. So where do you go from here? Well, nowhere actually. You’re done. You’re dead.

But at this moment, when I watch Manchester united, I realize you failed. I look in their eyes, the three we know about so far and I see such hope, such life. You took that but what you didn’t take, what you and others like you have failed to understand is that in each country that you attack, there are people like this – the poet Tony Walsh reading his poem – This is the Place. People like the thousands who suffered a horrific attack last night, and came together today. People like those all over Europe and all over Israel and all over the United States.

They are all answering your attack with the simplest of statements – you will not defeat us. Because wherever we are – this is the place. In each place, we make our stand.

May God bless the memories of your victims and send comfort to their families. May God heal their wounds and their hearts and reward them for their defiance, their strength. May God bless the people of Manchester.

Oh, and Salman, you’re dead. Gone. You died for nothing.

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