Archive for June, 2017

No It’s Not Hollywood!

Posted in Current affairs, health, politics, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2017 by kathydasilva

DSC_0150

I am mindful of the event and the post event news of the Glenfell Tower fire as I speak. My own head did the analysis thing, of weighing the information as it was bled to us the public via news media and television reportage. My heart and mind did the thing of saying so how did the people, above floor twenty think, how did they think they could be rescued? And the sad surreptitious bleed from an off duty fireman to a fellow ‘brother’ revealed a significant detail. The man passed the information privately, but, still it came to be known via a twitter feed uploaded video. The information told us the ordinary public, 42 people had been found dead in just one flat. And amongst the forty two people were young children, and elderly mainly. They had hope of rescue, and were organized, as far as possible, probably sheltering in the least damaged flat, at the outbreak of the whole ordeal. The firemen, never came, the ‘airlift’ possibility never came about. I think of the famous film Towering Inferno, and the reality was and is, there is no Steve McQueen,  or  Paul Newman, let alone some swanky additional, like Harrison Ford to come and do ‘rescue’. Yet and I repeat, yet! They could have thought outside the ‘box’. Why no use of say a helicopter for people on the roof survivors? Why no thought of ropes and pullies, and some sort of bag or stretcher to let people too frail to climb or come down stairs, be rescued? The fire raged for about four hours, from about midnight. And most of the victims, suffered really badly from smoke inhalation. But, too, smoke can make the way ahead so difficult to see, so they tripped and maybe fell and knocked themselves out too. The building housed at least 600 tennants. Someone saw a child on fire, and then they fell out of a window. And we blame it on the time of day. There are people, who can climb with the minimum of equipment the height of one of these towers for sport. The sea rescue crews, are familiar with almost impossible situations, would it have hurt to call upon their skills? Mountain rescue teams similarly, carry ropes, and safety equipment, in the most hazardous conditions. It was also tweeted, from a fireman’s phone, obviously a young fireman, because the whole horror, of what they found, was unlike anything else before that they had seen before, he had captured using the iphone technology, the picture of the tower from floor to roof, in flames and had asked the question, ‘How are we goint to get in there?’ This was uploaded to twitter and maybe youtube but, it made me think how film obsessed we have all become. ‘We’ are being brought up on the wrong architypes. Not everyone is going to be an action hero. If it is hard to contemplate what the need to have the nerve to risk one’s own life is like, then, perhaps, this decision is already something fireman have come up against. I think men have to be the heroes they were destined for to be. And that might be a risky business. Some young muslim men, did go knocking doors all round the tower block vuluntarily. No one paid them. They did it out of the duty of good will, that God teaches us all. It is the sort of situation that Edward De Bono, would have used his ‘lateral’ thinking cap for. How do you get over a hundred people of possibly frail disposition down to ground level, through thick poisonous smoke fumes? The book of ‘how’ needs to be written before the next big tragedy, and maybe it is preventative measures only that will succeed in overcoming our high rise fears.

Assange Five Years in the Ecuadorian Embassy, London.

Posted in Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2017 by kathydasilva

I was feeling challenged today, as two news items have caught my attention. One the shocking fire at Latimer Road, area of London, and the other, the hard to fathom, wait for the freeing of Julian Assange, as today is the fifth year running, of an anniversary. Julian Assange yet again, postponed appearance at the balcony and live speach, because the British government, had made an assertion of willingness to participate in negotiations toward the goal of freeing him. The cat and mouse of the political gambit. It seems wholly unfair, that Assange should still have to remain, like a fugitive, caged in a foreign embassy, whilst Chelsea Manning, now roams free thanks to a relaxing of the sentence awarded her for whistleblowing. I saw that as a pardon from Obama, though he himself says, she had served enough time for the offence of revealing secret documents.  Whatever, legally bound Britain to his arrest warrent, surely as this is now dropped, it is a matter of pure diplomacy now, between governments. Julian Assange, from the outset of his creation of a whistleblower site, has asserted his anti-war, anti-oppression opinions. His goal, to create perfect anonymity for the whistleblower to enable, the revealing of corruption. He has loyal friends, and associates. His followers, and supporters of the publishing site Wikileaks, have funded and helped, and emotionally stood with him for the nearly ten years of publications. Fellow journalists, have applauded the facility of the Wikileaks site, as a help in their research for items of news. All the major papers including the New York Times and our Guardian, have also benefited from publication of materials originating from Wikileaks website. It seems so turncoat, of them, to turn around, the argument of freedom and transparency, as and when the colour fits, bowing to government influences, and thus curtailing proper criticism of the politics surrounding our generation. It is refreshing to see a surge in youth interest at election time.

Grenfell Holocaust

Posted in Current affairs, health, politics, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2017 by kathydasilva

GRENFELL

DSC_0156.JPG

(picture copyright of publisher K Da Silva 2017)
I continued my journey from Knightsbridge to see for my self, the horror of what has happened in the last week. It was not made easy for, all the surrounding tube stations, and it seems also buses coming into the immediate area of this fire, have been stopped from picking up passengers, and dropping them in the vercinity. I managed to walk from a further tube stop, nearby, I knew this area from a long time ago as an art student, Nottinghill is adjacent. I am grateful too, that on such a sunny day, this route proved, more of a spiritual walk of faith, to attend something so fundamentally right, and acknowledging the scale of the disaster, as a goal. I regarded this afternoon as a prayer walk. I had thought about the whole dilemma of tower block residents. I had too been in a top floor apartment, in Barkingside, but, my block had a fire hydrant point with miles of hose wound round a wheel all ready for when firemen attend to put a flat’s fire out. The one thing I do remember is the stairs in this council block were not that wide, they were narrow and not deep. So if a few hundred people tried through foggy smoke, to make a hurried way downward, you can imagine, the trouble, and accident it might cause. People who survived did describe this inability to see ahead, through the smoke. I did some fire training once with the ferry group Stenna Ferries. Infact, I went for a whole day to the fire training center in Sussex. The firemen, told us bluntly that our catamaran, which was the type of ferry we would be hostessing on, was made of a similar material to aircraft, and mainly aluminium, and it is the only metal that will catch fire. So inevitably all ferries have sprinkler systems onboard. This is the issue being raised it seems by everyone about the panelling in the Glenfell tower block. What an almighty blunder to have placed these panels all over the outside of the building. All the evacuees, needed a guide down the main staircase. They needed some training, previous to a real fire. The smoke, disables everyone’s vision, so you have to learn to descend feeling your way down (like a blind person), usually touching the left hand wall, and get everyone to put their right hand on the person infronts right shoulder. I can imagine sheer panic, because of no guide being there and it seems lessons yes, will be learned. Why no advice on the phone from the fire brigade other than placing a wet towel around shoulders?
The pictures tell their own story. People have lost homes, and loved ones, and there is no solace.

CSC_0185(copyright of publisher K Da Silva 2017)

DSC_0165a(copyright of publisher K Da Silva 2017)

DSC_0150(copyright of publisher K Da Silva 2017)

DSC_0149(copyright of publisher K Da Silva 2017)