Government · Grenfell Tower · London · Uncategorized

GRENFELL TOWER – The Aftermath

GRENFELL TOWER

The Aftermath

 

So here we are, almost two weeks on from that devastating fire and over the last eight days the numbers of those who lost their lives has remained unchanged.  It still stands at 79.  Many survivors are adamant there were many more deaths than that and the anger and resentment is continues to grow.

The press have begun to look elsewhere for stories now, but those people are still living a nightmare and trying to deal with the trauma of what they experienced.  I won’t go in to what happened in any detail as I have already dedicated a blog post to it.

However, poet, Ben Okri, has written a beautifully poignant poem which articulates the real tragedy of this incident and I felt compelled to share it:

 

GRENFELL TOWER, JUNE 2017

If you want to see how the poor die, come to Grenfell Tower.

See the tower, and let a world-changing dream flower.

Residents of the area call it the crematorium.

It has revealed the undercurrents of our age.

The poor who thought voting for the rich would save them.

The poor who believed all the papers said.

The poor who listened with their fears.

The poor who live in their rooms and dreams for their kids.

The poor are you and I.

You in your garden of flowers and your house of books,

who gaze from afar

at a destiny that draws near with another name.

Sometimes it takes an image

to wake up a nation

from its secret shame.

And here it is every name of someone who burnt to death.

On the stairs or in their room,

who had no idea what they died for,

or how they were betrayed.

They did not die when they died;

their deaths happened long before.

It happened in the minds of people who never saw them.

It happened in the profit margins.

It happened in the laws.

They died because money could be saved and made.

Those who are living now are dead.

Those who were breathing are from the living earth fled.

If you want to see how the poor die, come see Grenfell Tower.

See the tower, and let a world-changing dream flower.

 

Make sense of these figures if you will

for the spirit lives where truth cannot kill.

Ten million spent on the falsely clad,

in a fire where hundreds lost all they had.

Five million offered in relief,

ought to make a nation alter its belief.

An image gives life and an image kills.

The heart reveals itself beyond political skills.

In this age of austerity,

the poor die for others’ prosperity.

Nurseries and libraries fade from the land.

A strange time is shaping on the strand.

A sword of fate hangs over the deafness of power.

See the tower, and let a world-changing thought flower.

Ben Okri, 2017

 

The sense of injustice in this country has never been so obvious since Grenfell Tower.  The politicians stood up in the House of Commons yesterday pontificating about it.  When Sajid Javid announced they were setting up a Fire Safety Taskforce, I felt like screaming at my television.  They already have something similar and they alerted the government last year about the dangers of the cladding on tower blocks.  That warning was ignored.  Yet again the public are being mugged off with the Tories smoke and mirrors.  We’re not idiots despite what they may think!

What about the very same Fire Safety Task Force that was set up in 2001 and who published a report in 2006?  Were any of those recommendations acted upon?  What about 3.14 – ‘Sprinklers’ where it states that studies have shown that sprinklers reduce the incidence of death from fire by 55-63%!?  It also raises important questions about the cuts in the fire service.  When Boris Johnson became London Mayor, were any of the recommendations laid out in 4.1 onwards addressed by him before he decided on making cuts to the fire service?

The bottom line is, every single tenant in Grenfell Tower was let down by a group of privileged people who felt they could kick the matter in to the long grass.  From Gavin Barwell ignoring the coroner’s inquiry recommendations, to Boris Johnson making dangerously high cuts to the fire service – these people who go home to their large houses or grace and favour apartments near to Westminster still remain in powerful positions within government and continue making decisions about our existence and future.

This was an avoidable disaster.  It’s now a national disgrace and fault lies with those at the very top and downwards.

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