For much of my youth I longed to live in London. Filled with elegant parks and architecture so beautiful it makes your heart ache. History on every corner and ancient market places overflowing with flowers and artisan food sellers. On days like today green spaces will be filled with folk walking their dogs, children kicking balls, sitting under shady trees reading a book, or having picnics. Cool ribbons of water that meander through the parks an opportunity to dip your toes. I never did make London my home and had to be satisfied with snatched weekends. So many people told me how expensive it was to live there .. and a lonely place. Everyone too busy and isolated to engage with each other – like any other big city I suppose.
Recent times have, once again, seen it hit by terrorism and it will bounce back from that. What has had a profound effect though is the recent tower block fire where unknown numbers of London residents have perished. Memories of 9/11 twin towers come flooding back – only this time it’s a catastrophe caused by officials in suits. Officials who had a duty to serve and protect those in their care, who decided to cut corners and submit fragile lives to dangers they themselves wouldn’t have worked in never mind lived in. And then, when they were needed to step up front and central, they hid in the shadows, behind closed doors while outside raged a storm of anguish. Further evidence of cold hearted indifference by officials.
I’m 200 miles away but want you to be in no doubt I and many others feel your pain and anger. I also feel the dignity you are struggling to hold on to. And as for you being a lonely place to live – my heart swells with pride for you. I’ve seen anguish, devastation and fear in your faces but I’ve also seen more love and community than could ever be expected from you.
Please hold on to that love. We the ordinary people are all with you. All pulling for you. All fighting this along with you.