58 people feared dead, dozens missing and hundreds without house or home, caught in limbo as they watched their homes go up in flames on the 14th June. Many were lucky to have made it out alive; a blind pensioner who used his jumper to create an SOS signal, rescued 12 hours after the fire had started from his 11th floor flat orffff the hero who caught a 4 year old girl, thrown out of the window by her mother who is believed to be deceased. But for some, their last words brought anguish to their families; talented artist Khadija Saye who posted on Facebook that she had tried to escape but couldn’t leave due to the thick smoke and flames or 23 year old Mohammed al-Haj Ali who escaped war in Syria, to find a better life in the UK but died alone, after being separated from his brother Omar. Or what about the 536 others reported as missing by residents, yet the government and media have only listed 30 as dead, why is this?
Why is the media and the government lying to us, claiming that the death toll is lower than it is? Why is the media trying to sugarcoat what really happened, is it because they are scared of criticism? Because they know that the ‘fall’ of Grenfell Tower was pre-mediated and that they could have done more to prevent the fire from happening. The only way that we can know the truth is by listening to the ‘Grenfell Community’ because they are the only ones who want the whole world to know what really happened. I felt sickened reading through community reports where despite the ‘media’ declaring that there were 30 ‘deaths so far’, the reality is that there is in fact 160 innocent people dead; mothers, fathers, children, families, friends all perished in the fire without having their deaths acknowledged. As volunteer and resident DJ Isla stated in a heartbreaking interview she had not met a ‘single victim’ since volunteering and said she can no longer volunteer when the money is A. not reaching the survivors and B. the donations are going to waste, when the donations are for people who are already dead.
An emotional resident, whose name was undeclared stated that he was ‘friends’ with one of the firefighters, because they both share Moroccan descent , who told him that in one room alone, there was 42 people dead and yet the official death toll still remains at 30. The reality is that our Conservative government is afraid of its people, because it knows that if it was to release the real ‘high death’ figures, then Theresa May would undoubtedly be ousted from power, as she should be. Where was she when Corbyn was talking to the residents, comforting the survivors and giving them a shoulder to cry on. As one survivor quite aptly put, May was ‘s**t and did not even talk to the residents when she visited Grenfell Tower, yet Corbyn who constantly receives bad press, showed what a good man he really is, expressing empathy and understanding. While May released an official statement admitting that the response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy was ‘not good’ and claimed that she would ‘extend relief efforts’, the truth is she knows as well as the media that they are not taking full responsibility for their actions. After all a true leader is one who unites a nation in the wake of tragedy and gives us the cold hard truth, even when we don’t want to hear it and May has failed spectacularly on both levels.
But how on earth did Grenfell Tower catch fire in the first place? While there are many theories that are floating around, a general consensus is that the lack of fire sprinkler systems combined with non-fire resistant external cladding led to the destruction of the building in the matter of 15 minutes, although a resident claimed that his faulty fridge caught fire first. The truth is that for years residents had complained about the fire hazards that the building imposed and yet their words were blocked. Instead they were giving sanctions for speaking out against the council. London Mayor Sadiq Khan even stated that residents were offered poor advice by authorities, who claimed that it was advisable to stay inside in the event of a fire and that the council would only take action if many people had died. Can we claim that this fire, that undoubtedly killed more than 30 people, is an example of corporate manslaughter? I believe so, after all as Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy stated
“This is the richest borough in our country treating its citizens in this way and we should call it what it is. It is corporate manslaughter. And there should be arrests made; frankly, it is an outrage,” he said. Having lost his dear friend and artist Khadija Saye in the blaze, Lammy was not the only MP or minister to question and label the tragedy as ‘corporate manslaughter’. Shadow Housing Minister John Healey accused ministers of ignoring key recommendations issued by coroners reports into tower block fires in south London and Southampton and declared that there should be an immediate fire safety review of tower blocks. The real question is though, why does it take a tragedy to propel the government into action? Moreover why were many residents threatened with being kicked out after voicing their concerns over the fire safety hazards or dismissed for being dramatic?
The irony is that our very own Prime Minister Theresa May’s Chief Staff was one of a series of housing ministers who sat on a report that warned that ‘high rise buildings like Grenfell Tower ‘ were prone to fire for FOUR YEARS and yet did nothing! If there had been the ‘recommended fire sprinkler’ systems in place and fire resistant cladding, would the fire have been as momentous as it was on the 14th June or would it have even happened at all? After all the fire at Lakanal House in 2009, killed 6 people and injured at least 20, surely that would have been a wake up call to the government and councils to not reject ‘residential bids’ for adequate infrastructure and fire safety regulations? Yet like always, the government are lining their own pockets and watching their own backs, without thinking of its people first. It horrifies me that corporate manslaughter is still evident in 2017 and to think that our government continues to create a gap between the poor and the rich, because they believe that the ‘rich is more valuable to our economy’ is beyond me.
But what can we as a community do, when the money we have donated is lining the pockets of charities and not going towards funeral, housing and living costs? How can we take a stand and show our government that we will not stand for this bull***t any more? I will tell you how, by signing petitions to help Grenfell residents find loved ones, to spread the word about the real truth that the media is failing to disclose and lastly to pressure the government to rethink their policies on the welfare state and social housing because this is not the first time that they have failed to stop high rise tower blocks from fires.
If you really want to make a change please sign the petitions below
To Fast track Grenfell Tower Victim Mohammad Alhajali’s parents visa to the UK please sign the petition below. You will not only allow them to visit surviving son Omar in hospital, but you will also allow them to attend their son Mohammed’s funeral. No parent should ever have to bury their child but please give them the chance to spend time with both sons, before having to return to Syria.
Any family and friends concerned about their loved ones please contact the Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233.
If you are affected by the Grenfell Tower fire, either directly or indirectly, and in need of mental health support or psychological therapy you can call a dedicated NHS response service number where you can get access to mental health support services as well as information and advice 24 hours a day.The number to call is 0800 0234 650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To Get Grenfell Tower’s Housing Minister and Theresa May’s Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell to resign now, sign the petition below.
To improve fire safety in tower blocks to make sure the tragedy in Grenfell Tower is never repeated please sign the petition below
and finally to rehome all tenants of Grenfell Tower please sign the petition below
If you live nearby or have easy access to London then please do your bit and volunteer. Together we can make a change.
What Are Your Thoughts On The Grenfell Tower Fire?