Opinion

Sunday 17 December 2017

Shame, shock and revulsion - Libyans living in the UK face up to the fallout

As investigators continue to piece together how and why 23-year-old Manchester-born Salman Abedi had carried out the deadliest attack on British soil since the London bombings in 2005, members of the city’s thriving and diverse Libyan diaspora population have struggled with their own questions about what could have motivated him. Picture: PA
As investigators continue to piece together how and why 23-year-old Manchester-born Salman Abedi had carried out the deadliest attack on British soil since the London bombings in 2005, members of the city’s thriving and diverse Libyan diaspora population have struggled with their own questions about what could have motivated him. Picture: PA

Mary Fitzgerald

Such a large number of diaspora Libyans call Manchester home that many quip it is the second capital of Libya. For more than four decades, thousands of Libyans have moved to the city, some to pursue further education, some to work as doctors and academics, some to escape persecution from the Gaddafi regime because they were political dissidents.

They have raised children and grandchildren with Mancunian accents, their lives woven into the fabric of Manchester. Some of the younger generation have even gone on to play for local football clubs like Manchester United and City.

When news broke that a pop concert in one of Manchester's biggest venues had been targeted in a bombing on Monday night, my social media feeds began filling up with messages of shock and revulsion from Libyans who live in the city or have some connection through friends or relatives.

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