Young People Targeted – James Ballantyne reflects

We can discuss another day, who we might call upon in the struggle to understand and respond to the tragedy in Manchester? We can ponder that young people elsewhere in the world have also been targeted and murdered by terrorism in many guises, not least those of the State. We must grapple with the dilemma of how we break the cycle of violence. For the moment I’m posting James Ballantyne’s immediate thoughts from his blog, DETACHED YOUTHWORK – LEARNING FROM THE STREET, written, as he says, with the same sadness and shock that we might all be feeling this morning.


Young People Targeted

For many of us in Youth Work we are used to young people being targeted. Young people might feel it too, they can be –

Targeted to help get Jobs

Targeted to reach for a faith

Targeted to help stay in school

Targeted by government policies

Targeted by health initiatives

Targeted by the media and discriminated unjustifiably.

Targeted to rescue from poverty

Targeted on binge -drinking projects

Targeted and scapegoated for society’s broader ills.

Today they became the target of another agenda.

That of Terrorism. Of Murder, destruction and divisiveness.

Young people targeted. In the heat of the fire.

Never did we think young people would be targeted in this way. To be the pawns in someone else’s game.

To become the world media attention, to become the story.

Innocence lost.


A spear of hatred penetrated into an evening of life and fun. Dance became drama.

Drama became horror. Horror became Panic.

Manchester might be the story, but it wasn’t the target, that was young people.

There are few words of condolence, of understanding that seem right at this time.

Our nation is in grief. Families are in grief, young adults are in confusion, shock and are injured, or are no more.

Manchester. For young people, in one evening it has become the city of broken dreams.

Bruised reeds can be made strong. Communities, faith and hope can restore.

Lord, have mercy, have hope, heal our land.

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