The morning after the Grenfell Fire began, I woke up to a Facebook request from a friend in Bangladesh asking that I mark myself as safe in the “Fire of London”. This request was unnecessary for someone like myself who lives just outside London but what struck me about this phrasing was that the fire was described as “of London”. And this description, upon considering the residential makeup of the tower proved apt. The tower, located in one of the most affluent boroughs of the city housed multi-cultural, multi-national people more reflective of the city of London than the borough in which it was built.
Grenfell tower was and is “London” as many of us understand the city to be, it is then a shame that those in positions of power, charged with caring for London chose not to honour the city in the decisions made regarding construction of that building and many like it. This realisation following many weeks of seeing people in leadership continue to push personal over public agendas made me think about the Biblical mandate that asks us to honour our leaders. It has been hard to see many of these individuals as God-ordained based on the decisions they are making regarding the people they’ve been charged to care for.
Rightly so, messages in Christian spaces have asked that we pray for the victims – the people who woke up to find their sanctuary ablaze at a magnitude that continues to shock many. Construction of outreach programmes to support the victims has been a true show of love that negates this narrative of division amongst humanity based on religion, race or creed. It has been wonderful to see people across all age groups working together to provide and produce measures that at least temporarily will give a measure of relief to these families and individuals.
However, I cannot help but continue to look at the leadership that failed the people of Grenfell Tower. The fact that the love of money overcame human decency continues to be a narrative we hear about leaders around the world. The fact that it still shocks is a testament to general belief in the goodness of humanity even when there is so much saying otherwise. I want to channel; despite the rage that threatens to bubble over in me when I hear about governmental negligence, all my angst into prayers. These prayers need to encompass those in power in this country especially in a period where there is a power tussle occurring following the confusing general election results. I feel like God is challenging me to pray for the leadership of this country – a leadership that is looking more like a corporate organisation than a government.
I want to live in a world where people are worth more than any monetary figure and helpless as I and many feel, I am taking my fight on my knees and straight to God because right now ignoring the clear Godly void in our governmental organisations feels like a giving in to an anger that seems to be the minority inheritance in this country. There’s no space for anger in me right now, there’s too much every day to be angry about.