Grenfell – 6 months on

There’s dark and there’s dark, and coming from the bright lights of the city to arrive on Lancaster Rd for the silent march marking six months since the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower, it was very dark indeed.

And Grenfell is dark, not just from the rather dim street lighting, but the shameful and criminal behaviour of the council and others responsible  for creating the conditions that made what should have been a small and easily contained fire into an immense tragedy, and from the failures since then by the council and government to act effectively to ease the situation and the suffering and to search for justice. Dark from the trauma suffered by so many who tasted to smoke and watched as people died, and the failure to provide treatment for so many.

But there is also light and hope, from the response of the community and of the volunteers, many of whom came and gave and who are still giving all they can to help – often at considerable personal cost (and not primarily financial, though there were huge donations – and a huge question mark over what has happened to them.)

Six months on, some things are clearer, but others are still as murky as ever, with the government and local council clearly still hoping to sweep much under the carpet, to ignore issues and hope they will go away. These monthly marches are a way of keeping the memory and keeping the issues live, ensuring they are not allowed to be forgotten.

Many feel that the movement to get justice for Grenfell needs to grow, need to make its protests more public, and to make them more political.

Or else Grenfell may be forgotten – until the next disastrous fire in a social housing tower where safety has been neglected and modifications made that endanger lives. It isn’t just a matter of tightening regulations, going back to proper inspections but a change in culture which takes seriously the safety of our social housing and the lives of those who live in it.

Grenfell Silent Walk – 6 months on


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