Heartbroken for the victims of Grenfell Tower in London, I’m shocked and appalled at the tragic loss of life, yet consoled by the emerging empathy – it gives us all hope

Grenfell Tower

I don’t know why, but I can hardly tear myself away from the BBC News Channel. I can’t stop thinking about the tragic, horrifying and gruesome fire at Grenfell Tower in London.

Maybe because, despite having spent nearly half my life away from the city I was born in, I’m still at heart a Londoner.

Maybe because I used to work down the road from that tower block. Maybe because I used to live not far away.

Maybe because I relate to the people affected by this. Maybe because I could be one of them. Maybe because they feel like friends and relatives.

I can’t help but project myself into their appalling and harrowing scenarios. As a father, as a husband, as a brother and as a son, I shudder with dread. I feel the pain, I experience the helplessness, I suffer the anguish, I even comprehend the guilt of survival, I literally weep at the grief, and I taste the swell of rising anger and frustration.

BBC News Coverage

But there’s also pride and solace in witnessing the selfless heroism of the rescue services, the Fire Fighters that repeatedly run into a blazing building desperate to save lives; and the heart-melting compassion and support manifested in a sensational community spirit as ordinary people amassed to help, to donate or to just lend an ear and a shoulder to cry on.

Out of devastation comes hope, hope for compassion, hope for empathy, hope for cooperation, hope for unity, hope for humanity.

Hope that ultimately, it’s not governments and authorities, but people, ordinary people, that will bring hope back. Bless them all.

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