Tag: Grenfell Tower

Ghosts.

An emotional post that is potentially upsetting to readers. Especially English readers.

Yesterday, September 14th, saw the opening of the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire that happened on June 14th. As the BBC News reported:

The inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire has opened, with its chairman promising it will provide answers to how the disaster could have happened in 21st century London.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick said he would not shrink away from making recommendations that could lead to prosecutions.

Yesterday morning, I woke at 5am PDT (1pm UK time) and picked up my tablet that has a BBC Radio 4 app installed. I lay there in the dark, Jeannie still fast asleep alongside me, and listened to the World at One: Forty-five minutes of news, analysis and comment, with Martha Kearney. Naturally the opening stages of the inquiry were one of the main items covered.

I was born in London. At the maternity ward at the hospital in Park Royal, West London. Some 5 miles from Grenfell Tower. I was brought up in Wembley, London again some 5 miles straight line distance from the tower.

For much of my early life as a young adult I was in and around that part of London. So while I was not personally familiar with Grenfell Tower itself, the news coverage of the disaster at the time relayed sights of a part of London that seemed like an old friend from the past.

A ghost of my life from over 50 years ago.

Yesterday on the World at One Martha Kearney interviewed Kareem Dennis better known as the rapper Lowkey:

Lowkey: A song for Grenfell, a call for justice

Hip Hop artist Lowkey lives opposite Grenfell tower. He has written a song called Ghosts of Grenfell, featuring people from the local community, which demands justice for those who died.

Lowkey told the World at One about his song and the night of the fire.

(Photo: Lowkey. Credit: BBC)

The interview included snippets of Lowkey’s song.

After I had finished listening to the World at One I did a web search to learn more about the poor animals that lost their lives in the inferno. It broke my heart reading the stories.

Then I started watching the full video of Lowkey’s song: Ghosts of Grenfell. Sixty seconds into the song I could hold my emotions no longer and burst into deep sobs.

Here is Lowkey’s song.

For those that want to stay with this, then here are the lyrics to Ghosts of Grenfell.

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Ghosts of Grenfell

Lowkey
Featuring Mai Khalil

Produced by Jo Caleb and Quincy Tones

[Intro: Lowkey]
The night our eyes changed
Rooms where, love was made and un-made in a flash of the night
Rooms where, memories drowned in fumes of poison
Rooms where, futures were planned and the imagination of children built castles in the sky
Rooms where, both the extraordinary and the mundane were lived
Become forever tortured graves of ash
Oh you political class, so serve out to corporate power

[Chorus: Mai Khalil & Lowkey]
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, for us?
Ghosts of Grenfell still calling for justice
Now hear ’em, now hear ’em scream
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, for us?
This corporate manslaughter will haunt you
Now hear ’em scream
[Verse 1: Lowkey]
Words can not express
Please allow me to begin though
1:30am heard the shouting from my window
People crying in the street
Watchin’ the burning of their kinfolk
Grenfell Tower, now historically a symbol
People reaching, from their windows
Screaming, for their lives
Pleading, with the cries
Tryna reason with the skies
Dale youth birthed champions
Comparison is clear though
That every single person in the building was a hero
So don’t judge our tired eyes in these trying times
‘Cause we be breathing in cyanide, the entire night
They say Yasin saw the fire and he ran inside
Who’d thought that would be the site where he and his family died
The street is like a graveyard, tombstones lurching over us
Those shouting out to their windows, now wish they never woke them up
Wouldn’t hope your worst enemy to go in this position
Now it’s flowers for the dead and printed posters for the missing, come home
[Chorus: Mai Khalil & Lowkey]
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, for us?
Ghosts of Grenfell still calling for justice
Now hear ’em, now hear ’em scream
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, for us?
This corporate manslaughter will haunt you
Now hear ’em scream

[Verse 2: Lowkey]
I see trauma in the faces of all those that witnessed this
Innocence in the faces of all those on the missing list
See hopes unfulfilled
Ambitions never achieved
No I’m not the only one that sees the dead in my dreams
Strive for the bravery of Yasin, artistic gift of Khadija
Every person, a unique blessing to never be repeated
Strive for the loyalty of siblings that stayed behind with their parents
Pray that every loved one lost can somehow make an appearance
We are, calling like the last conversations with their dearest
Until we face, what they face we will never know what fear is
We are, calling for survivors rehoused in the best place
Not to be left sleeping in the West Way for 10 days
We’re, calling for arrests made and debts paid
In true numbers known for the families that kept faith
We’re, calling for safety in homes of love
They are immortalised forever, the only ghosts are us
I wonder
[Chorus: Mai Khalil & Lowkey]
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, for us?
Ghosts of Grenfell still calling for justice
Now hear ’em, now hear ’em scream
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, or us?
Did they die, for us?
This corporate manslaughter will haunt you
Now hear ’em scream

[Bridge: Mai Khalil (Arabic)]
Olooli win arooh
Nas a’am tehtere’a fe sa’at sahoor
Ahess ennee be alam tanee
Ahess ennee be alam tanee
Olooli win arooh
Nas a’am tehtere’a fe sa’at sahoor
Ahess ennee be alam tanee
Ahess ennee be alam tanee

[Speech: Lowkey & Various Voices]
To whom it may concern, at the Queen’s royal borough of Kensington in Chelsea. Where is Yasin El-Wahabi? Where is his brother Mehdi? Where is his sister Nur Huda? Where is their mother and where is their father? Where is Nura Jamal and her husband Hashim? Where is their children, Yahya, Firdaus and Yaqoob? Where is Nadia Loureda? Where is Steve Power? Where is Dennis Murphy? Where is Marco Gottardi? Where is Gloria Trevisian? Where is Amal and her daughter Amaya? Where is Mohammed Neda? Where is Ali Yawar Jafari? Where is Khadija Saye? Where is Mary Mendy? Where is Mariem Elgwahry? Where is her mother Suhar?

Tell us, where is Rania Ibrahim and her two daughters? Where is Jessica Urbano Remierez? Where is Deborah Lamprell? Where is Mohammed Alhajali? Where is Nadia? Where is her husband Bassem? Where are her daughters, Mirna, Fatima, Zaina and their grandmother? Where is Zainab Dean and her son Jeremiah? Where is Ligaya Moore? Where is Sheila Smith? Where is Mohammednour Tuccu? Where is Tony Disson? Where is Maria Burton? Where is Fathaya Alsanousi? Where is her son Abu Feras and her daughter Esra Ibrahim? Where is Lucas James? Where is Farah Hamdan? Where is Omar Belkadi? Where is their daughter Leena? Where is Hamid Kani? Where is Esham Rahman? Where is Raymond Bernard? Where is Isaac Paulos? Where is Marjorie Vital? Where’s her son Ernie? Where is Komru Miah? Where is his wife Razia? Where are their children Abdul Hanif, Abdul Hamid, Hosna? Where are Sakineh and Fatima Afraseiabi? Where is Berkti Haftom and her son Biruk?

Tells us, where is Stefan Anthony Mills? Where is Abdul Salam? Where is Khadija Khalloufi? Where is Karen Bernard? Where are these people? Where are these people? Where is Gary Maunders? Where is Rohima Ali? Where is her six year old daughter Maryam, her five year old daughter Hafizah and her three year old son Mohammed? God bless you all! Where are all these people?

[Outro]
Where are all these people?
The blood is on your hands
There will be ashes on your graves
Like a Phoenix we will rise
The blood is on your hands
There will be ashes on your graves
Like a Phoenix we will rise

ooOOoo

 

What a nose!

Two items that recently caught my eye.

The power of a dog’s nose is incredible and it is something that has been written about in this place on more than one occasion.

But two recent news items reminded me once again of the way we humans can be helped by our wonderful canine partners.

The first was a report that appeared on the Care2 website about how dogs are being used to search for victims in the burnt out ruins following that terrible Grenfell Tower fire. That report opened, thus:

By: Laura Goldman June 24, 2017
About Laura Follow Laura at @lauragoldman

Wearing heat-proof booties to protect their feet, specially trained dogs have been dispatched in London’s Grenfell Tower to help locate victims and determine the cause of last week’s devastating fire that killed at least 79 people.

Because they’re smaller and weigh less than humans, urban search-and-rescue dogs with the London Fire Brigade (LFB) are able to access the more challenging areas of the charred 24-story building, especially the upper floors that sustained the most damage.

It then went on to include a photograph from the London Fire Brigade.

We’ve used specialist search dogs at #GrenfellTower. They’re lighter than humans and can cover a large area quickly.

The next item, apart from also being about the dog’s nose, couldn’t have been more different. It appeared on the Mother Nature Network site and is republished in full.

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Border collies join the search for Amelia Earhart

4 dogs skilled in finding long-buried bones are headed to the uninhabited island of Nikumaroro.

Michael d’Estries    June 21, 2017.

Amelia Earhart standing under nose of her Lockheed Model 10-E Electra. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The high-tech search to find the remains of pilot Amelia Earhart and close the book on one of the aviation world’s greatest mysteries is going to the dogs.

According to National Geographic, four border collies — Berkeley, Piper, Marcy and Kayle — will embark on a voyage later this month to the uninhabited island of Nikumaroro (previously called Gardner Island) in the western Pacific Ocean. The remote triangular coral atoll, less than five miles long and two miles wide, is widely speculated as the location where Earhart and her co-pilot, Fred Noonan, performed an emergency landing during their ill-fated 1937 world flight.

While concrete evidence of the pair surviving as castaways on Nikumaroro has never been found, there have been some intriguing clues. These include a piece of scrap metal that likely came from Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E, a sextant box, and fragmented remains of U.S. beauty and skin care products that may date back to the 1930s.

The most intriguing find, however, happened in 1940 with the discovery of 13 bones under a tree on the island’s southeast corner. The remains were shipped to Fiji and subsequently misplaced, but measurements recorded before their loss and examined later by forensic anthropologists indicate that they may have belonged to “a tall white female of northern European ancestry.” With these findings were recently thrown into doubt, the only true way to know if the remains belong to Earhart or Noonan is to find the remaining bones.

The right nose for the job

The four dogs headed to Nikumaroro, officially known as Human Remains Detection Dogs, are part of the latest expedition organized by TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery). Trained at the Institute for Canine Forensics (ICF), these specialized dogs are capable of sniffing out bones centuries old and buried as much as 9 feet deep.

“No other technology is more sophisticated than the dogs,” Fred Hiebert, archaeologist in residence at the National Geographic Society, which is sponsoring the canines, said in a statement. “They have a higher rate of success identifying things than ground-penetrating radar.”

According to the ICF, detection dogs are never trained to smell out live humans, focusing instead on old cases, small scent sources and residual scent. They also excel at locating remains without disturbing the burial site.

You can view one of the ICF dogs in action, seeking out the remains of ancient Native American burial sites, in the video below.

“This kind of searching requires the dog to be slow and methodical and keep its nose just above the surface of the ground, any fast moves and the dog can miss the grave,” the group explains. “It takes many years of slow and patient training to develop the skills needed to do this work.”

Once remains are detected, the dogs generally do little more than lie down on top of the potential burial site. Should Berkeley, Piper, Marcy and Kayle detect anything, TIGHAR’s archeologists will perform a careful excavation to uncover the source.

In addition to using canines, the team from TIGHAR will also take time over the eight-day expedition to survey sites on Nikumaroro using metal detectors and even an advanced underwater drone. Their greatest hope, however, lies with the highly advanced noses of the very good boys and girls sniffing out an 80-year-old mystery.

“If the dogs don’t find anything, we’ll have to think about what that means,” Hiebert added. “But if the dogs are successful, it will be the discovery of a lifetime.”

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What a sense of smell!

Thank goodness.