At least 12 people have died in a massive inferno which engulfed a 24 storey building in London. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everybody affected by this tragedy.
The head of London Police has stated that the international backgrounds of many of the dead and injured is a tribute to the diverse vibrancy of the British capital. Indeed the greatest tragedy of this tragedy would be if it were to affect the multicultural nature of London, which is what, after all, makes it great.
This will not divide us.
Perhaps the reason why this tragedy has affected so many of us is that we can relate to it so easily – Mohammed who died in London could just as easily have been Muhammad from Paris, Mohamet from Toronto, or Mohammad from Sydney. With this in mind then, we should take care not to focus too heavily on this tragedy at the expense of others around the world; to do so could be considered racist. We must remember that our media conditions us to disassociate ourselves from other communities around the world – had it been Pieter from Cape Town, Pyotr from Moscow, or Peter from Alexandria who died, would it have received the same attention?
London mayor, Sadiq Khan, has echoed these concerns by reminding us that dying alongside your entire family in a towering blaze in a building which lacked adequate fire hazard protection is just part and parcel of living in a big city. He is correct. Such risks are far outweighed by the road toll, cancer, and black-on-white violence in urban America.
You are more likely to be killed by a fridge falling on you than you are by an uncontrollable fire which engulfs your entire home when a fridge’s engine explodes.
So in order to pay your respects to the victims, I suggest you light a candle. Just, keep it away from the bedsheets.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to everybody affected by this tragedy.