Terror attack in Manchester


Sir, – Reports that Salman Abedi, the Manchester bomber, recently returned from a jihadist camp in Libya make grim reading.

In 2011, a military coalition, led by the United Kingdom, France and the United States, attacked Gadafy’s forces, leading to his overthrow and death.

Libya is now a failed state where militias, including Islamic State and al-Qaeda, compete for power.

The intervention in Libya was hailed as a success for the United Nations “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine.

Whose rights were protected? – Yours, etc,



Sir, – In the wake of the Manchester attack, I would like to question whether we are making a mistake by publicising every detail of such an atrocity. I do not mean this in the fear that other people will get “ideas” for further attacks; I would imagine there are plenty of other resources for people who are so inclined. But I wonder if by publishing the details of such attacks, are we in fact giving this organisation what it wants, by sharing news of what it considers to be its “successes”?

These acts of evil are clearly designed to inflict injury not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. We cannot frighten these people, some of whom have fled the most traumatic circumstances imaginable and for whom death would be a release. Our strengths do not lie in terrorising nations. Our strengths lie in the heart of our society, strengths which are portrayed through the media. Do they deserve this same platform for attempts to break us apart? If we can’t beat them at their own game, maybe we should change the rules. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – I live and work in London. What am I supposed to do with this information that Britain has raised its terror threat level from severe to critical? In the absence of any better advice, I did a web search on the definition of “imminent”. So it’s about to happen? I’m sitting on the Piccadilly Line Tube on my way to work now. Surely this is a target. Should I get off?

In bed this morning I read on my phone that the terror threat level has been raised to critical and I feel wholly unprepared. Are British schools giving drills to children on what to do in these situations? I spend an extra few minutes with my fiancée before I leave the flat. She hadn’t read the news and I didn’t want to spoil her morning by telling her. I choose a seat on the last carriage of the Tube. I’d say the most damage would be caused by attacking the middle or front. I reprimand myself for thinking so foolishly but I don’t know what else to do.

The baseline for my worry has risen. I was in London three years ago when the threat level was changed to severe. It seemed like a big deal at the time. There’s only so long you can worry about something before you just have to accept it. That’s just the way it is. I’d say parents have a hard time explaining to children why it’s normal to live with a severe terror threat level. Now it’s critical. Expected imminently. It cannot get any worse, according to the scale chosen by terror experts.

The scale has had the exact opposite effect on me to what was intended; rather than heighten my alertness to threat I have become nihilistic and cynical. It feels wrong to rate terror attacks on a scale, but things can get worse, and we have seen so in recent times.

The world is changing rapidly and people want to express their emotions during these changes with strong language but words are losing their strength through overuse. Words like “severe”, “critical” and “imminent” are meaningless to me. They are now common in normal discourse.

The baseline has changed. This is normal now. – Yours, etc,


Harrow, London.

Sir, – In this era of gesture politics, I wonder if the Dublin and Galway councillors could find space on their flag poles for a British or English flag in solidarity with our near-neighbours and fellow democrats. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – Mohammed Samaana claims (May 24th) that Islamic State’s “wicked ideology is incompatible with Islam”. Unfortunately both IS and al-Qaeda are firmly rooted in the misogynist form of Salafist Islam promoted by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 13.