The murderous ways of terrorists must never be allowed to win
The fight against extremists has to be further strengthened, and communities and countries should work together to beat the threat
Barbarity knows no bounds where terrorism is concerned. The suicide bomber who detonated an explosive device filled with nuts and bolts as youngsters and parents were leaving a pop concert in Manchester had only death in mind. With an ear-splitting roar and flash of flame, he achieved his aim, taking the lives of at least 22 and injuring dozens more of the most vulnerable in society. But time and again, the world has experienced such inhumanity and with each new attack, there has to be fresh resolve to overcome and defeat.
Terrorism was not on the minds of concertgoers out to enjoy a Monday evening performance by American pop star Ariana Grande at the 18,000-seat Manchester Arena. Nor, given the entertainment and joy they had just experienced, should they have given it a thought as they left the venue for home.
But unpredictability is the favoured weapon of extremists and the time and place were chosen for maximum murderous impact. Such has also regularly been the case elsewhere in the world over the past 18 months, from a rock concert venue and sports stadium in Paris to a waterside promenade in Nice to restaurants in Jakarta and Dhaka, a market in Berlin and nightclubs in Orlando and Istanbul.
China and other world powers have understandably condemned the latest atrocity and pledged to defeat terrorism.
Britain, which has not experienced so deadly an attack since commuters in London were targeted in July 2005, was unbowed. Prime Minister Theresa May and other politicians suspended election campaigning out of respect for the victims, emergency security talks were convened and Home Secretary Amber Rudd contended Manchester would not be divided. This is the right response; normal life has to continue and extremists shown that their twisted agendas cannot break spirits.
Britain has shown that endlessly, as decades of terror attacks prove. As with the Manchester bombing, there has been shock and anger and the nation is in mourning, but allowing extremists to sow fear is not in the national psyche. Politicians and security officials have been given new resolve to further tighten preventative measures and improve safety. Reviews will be made of concert venues and sports stadiums and better technology and systems put in place to ensure that risks can be more easily identified.
Manchester is a lesson for other cities, Hong Kong included. Terrorists do not respect race or religion; we are all vulnerable to their prejudices and hatred. The cooperation and sharing of information that governments have put in place to fight extremists has to be further strengthened. Only through communities and countries working together can the threat be effectively dealt with.