Two writers discuss the rewriting of history, culture wars, multiple identities and the storyteller's duty to speak up.
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Images of Grenfell Tower engulfed in flames as trapped residents cried out for help have haunted London for a year.
On the anniversary of the June 14 blaze in which at least 72 people died, questions remain. Why did repeated warnings about the building go unheeded? Could the emergency response have been more effective? And why have so many former residents not yet been permanently re-housed?
Though the British government and the local council promised the more than 200 households from the tower that they would be re-resettled within 12 months, only 82 have so far moved into permanent accommodation.
Testimonies in an ongoing public inquiry have revealed an array of problems: combustible building materials, the London Fire Brigade’s “stay put” policy, low water pressure for the fire hoses, and poor ventilation systems. With a separate police investigation that could lead to charges of manslaughter, activists say those who may be held responsible are scrambling to shift the blame.
Looming over the proceedings are issues of social disparity and what some say is institutionalised racism in London. Grenfell Tower was mainly occupied by immigrants and low-income families - a social housing enclave nestled in one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in the world. As accusations of indifference for the safety of tenants in social housing continue, have the charred remains of Grenfell forced the government and Londoners to reckon with systemic social issues?
And will the survivors ever manage to find peace in the midst of a tragedy layered in so many failures?
On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
1st Floor, Grenfell Tower resident
Zain Miah @_zainmiah
Project Lead, Grenfell Muslim Response Unit
Barrister, Red Lion Chambers
Becka Hudson @radicalhousing
Coordinator, Radical Housing Network
Grenfell one year on: 'We don't want those lives to be lost for nothing' - The Guardian
Grenfell Tower: What happened - BBC News
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