The very sad incidents over the last month has cast long dark shadows over my city of London, and the moods of the people have generally been muted. The fire at Grenfell Tower has shown the dark underbelly of a first class city, in which the local authority response was ineffectual in the early days, however the response of the public was beyond commendable.
We have all come together in small and big gestures of love and community esprit to send a message of our unyielding standing and stance with those who made it out of the inferno. My heart still bleeds for all the unaccountable victims of this tragedy, and others at the Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park mosque.
These occurrences have exposed deep issues within our communities. As it can be in any relationship there will be conflicts, and measures must be taken to resolve these issues.
I will make my assertions clear below using marriage as an analogue –
Marriage as well as society are interchangeable, they are birds of the same feathers and both goes through a period of togetherness and conflicts at times.
I grew up in and around West London back in the noughties – a few miles from Grenfell, and it had an atmosphere of tolerance, in comparison to other parts of London. This acceptance and inclusion was partly praised for a lot of the media houses (such as the BBC, EMI) established in the area which brings a lot of liberal minds into the community and also does employs a number of locals of which I was a beneficiary (I spent two years at the Beeb working on the production of factual programmes such as Top Gear amongst many others).
In addition, there are the wealthy enclaves in the surrounding areas of Chiswick, Fulham, Holland Park, Notting Hill to Bayswater and it does not matter where you are from in the area, you felt like you belong. We all ate Jerk chicken at the Ochi take-away in Shepherds Bush after a night of clubbing in the West End, after getting off Bus 94 from Regents Street or 207 from Trafalgar Square (oh I must say this was also the best era of music, we are talking about the like of Jodeci, LLCoolJ, Mary J Blige, Oasis, Blur and the likes, even the Spice Girls) and no one goes into the club strapped with a weapon. How times have changed right!
What is my point here? Things have changed, attitudes have changed, the people have changed; partly blamed on new arrivals and most importantly gentrification. Gentrification in the sense, the BBC has moved on (to Salford City, Manchester) and sold the studio and offices for conversion to luxury flats and boutique hotels. What is the cost-benefit analysis to the residents by having luxury hotels on their doorsteps instead of a behemoth employer like the BBC? What is the loss to the residents of White City, Harlseden, Latimer Road, North Acton, Ladbroke Grove who rely on the BBC for their sustenance. Yes, other companies have shoot up in the area, but cannot be compared to an employer that employs thousands of residents.
What can the local authorities do and the government at large, (as in marriage) we cannot avoid conflict, we cannot ignore the issues otherwise the ‘sleeping lion’ will lay for a while until resurrected into something more destructive as we have witness recently. We must stop looking at the less priviledge as a nuisance to the system, those who have (the have-yachts) must invest locally and share their resources with the locals to resolve conflicts and use their resources to build a prosperous local economy.
We must note that the people are only reacting in the way they are (as anyone would with this senseless loss of souls), because they felt no empathy from the authorities. Empathy allows us to develop deeper understanding and insights into people’s daily issues and to come up with good lasting solutions.
In conclusion, local and national unresolved issues must be dealt with promptly through the set up of community-led public inquiry. Trust must be restored, it cannot be artificial. Real trust is what the local residents needs at this point.
This is my tribute to those who lost their lives in this horrible tragedy.
Please share your thoughts in the comment page
I wish you peace…