Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It Was Just Too Easy for Salman Abedi to Carry out His Slaughter of Young Innocents

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It Was Just Too Easy for Salman Abedi to Carry out His Slaughter of Young Innocents

Article excerpt

Byline: Alastair McKay The Viewer

Manchester: The Night of the Bomb BBC2, 9pm IT SEEMS, at first, a little disappointing that Ariana Grande doesn't appear in this moving documentary about the suicide bomb attack at the Manchester Arena a year ago. Twenty-two people died at the end of one of the singer's concerts, and her presence at the memorial concert was a powerful symbol of the city's refusal to be cowed by terrorism. Grande recently told TIME magazine that the bombing represented "the absolute worst of humanity". She said: "You think with time it'll become easier to talk about. Or you'll make peace with it. But every day I wait for that peace to come and it's still very painful."

On reflection, the star's absence doesn't detract from the film. The bombing, as far as we know, wasn't targeted against Grande herself but was an attack on a young crowd, largely female, whose only crime was the fact that they wanted to enjoy themselves and had the freedom to do so. Even that may be to ascribe too much logic to the motives of Salman Abedi, the 22-yearold Manchester boy of Libyan parentage who blew himself up in the foyer.

The film is made by Jamie Roberts, who previously made The Jihadis Next Door, exploring Islamic fundamentalism. Mostly, he keeps it simple. Those who were there on the night give their account, and glimpses of the evening's passage from teenage euphoria to hellish nightmare are captured in smartphone videos. The testimonies of the girls and their parents are heartbreaking. There are some small ironies. The projection of the phrase "Not asking for it" on the stage before Grande appears is one.

The arrival of the horror is delayed by the story of the bomber's movements in the days leading up to the attack. …

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