"There were mums there that didn’t even know if their child was alive or dead."

By Hayden Wright

Queen’s Brian May has spoken at length about the Manchester terror attack at Ariana Grande’s concert, expressing grief and frustration about the looming threat of terrorism in Great Britain.

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“I woke up this morning and saw the news of Manchester and the first thing I did was tweet about it, just to express my grief and sympathy with the people,” he told NME. “There were mums there that didn’t even know if their 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 says missteps from 2001 may have fanned the flames of geopolitical instability, making the world less safe and more hostile. He spoke out against retaliatory violence, racism and intolerance that fuel misunderstanding and conflict.

“I’m afraid I regard everything as an opportunity – out of tragedy comes knowledge and realization,” he said. “To me, 9/11 and all these terrible disasters are an opportunity to reevaluate ourselves and I think we failed to do that in 9/11. We went on bombing people. 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.”

The guitarist said compassion is the key to “break the cycle” of terrorism: “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 has engagements scheduled at the Manchester Arena in December: May says with tightened security and a stiff-upper-lip attitude, Queen and other musicians will stick to their way of life.

We’ve played it before and we’ll be playing it in December. No, we won’t cancel because that’s what they want [it], 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.”

Nevertheless, May said better security is not the solution to the world’s problems.

“Of course you have to look at security but what you have to do much more importantly is look at the underlying causes,” he said. “Why does the world hate us that much? There are reasons and I believe we must dismantle everything that has gone before and start again.”

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