We live lives full of routine, under an illusion of security. But the truth is, how can you guess when your life is about to change forever?
It was a summer evening like many others. An evening where people in a tower block in a rich city, in a rich country, would burn to death, stumbling through an inferno of pitch dark corridors, suffocating trying to breath.
When is a tragedy not an accident? When it could have been anticipated and averted – had someone chosen to take the right measures, had someone chosen to protect human lives over scrimping costs.
But the people in power didn’t care enough to risk their status quo.
I feel broken, cheated by the decision makers and institutions who were supposed to look after us with rotten procedures and empty promises.
Yes, today everything feels political, not only voting but writing, choosing our friends, consuming information through media channels and processing it to help us paint a picture – of pain and privilege, of thorns and golden appearances.
I can’t understand where we are going. I thought we could close the gap. That we could chose to be a society where the poor, the vulnerable, the marginalised, were not trampled by the rich, the powerful, the ones whose lives get off to a fairytale-like start. That they could both be survivors and their stories heard. But like they say, victors write history – and in doing so they misrepresent, antagonise, exploit, twist, anything to legitimise their discourse and bury the other’s.
How long is it going to take, as a society, to become political enough that we can wise up to this? That we can say, I am going to critically examine this information, and decide what to believe and how to respond to it?
We must work together as a country to rise like a Phoenix from the ashes. Educators, parents, neighbours, friends. Politicians, planning officers, architects, manufacturing companies, health and safety officials. We all have a role to play, a conversation to take part in, one that will lead to the realisation of what lies under the roots of a major ill of our society: inequality.
Meanwhile we are left to mourn. The sense of loss feels like a wound. Loss of a yet to be determined number of lives; people I didn’t know but whose stories resonate with me. Human beings who had their own dreams and ambitions, personal struggles and lowercase success stories. Men, women and children who had a favourite TV show or who woke up with an ear worm tune in their head. People who liked eating pizza, the smell of coffee and going to the park on Sundays. Brothers, sisters, partners, parents, children, souls. Lives that mattered, because every single life does.