Victims of London Grenfell Tower fire commemorated

Maria del Pilar Burton, victim of the London Grenfell tower disaster. Photo: Facebook

By Sam Tobin in Britain:

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

72nd victim of the Grenfell Tower blaze commemorated

A WOMAN who died seven months after the Grenfell Tower fire was commemorated as the 72nd victim of the blaze today.

Maria del Pilar Burton, 74, died in January after managing to escape the fire in Kensington, west London on June 14 last year.

Her husband of 34 years, Nicholas Burton, told the public inquiry into the disaster that the fire had “a terrible effect” on Ms Burton’s dementia.

He said: “Everything was gone. It was just too much so I just had to try to explain with little bits of information to guide her through the trauma.”

Tributes were also paid to relatives of six members of the same family who lost their lives: Mierna, 13, Fatima, 11, and three-year-old Zaynab Choucair died with their parents Nadia and Bassem and grandmother Sirria Choucair on the 22nd floor.

Sirria’s son Hisam told the inquiry: “In one night I have lost half of my family.

“I don’t see it as a tragedy. I see it as an atrocity.”

Rania Ibrahim, 31, who died on the top floor of the tower with her daughters Hania Hassan, three, and Fethia Hassan, five, was remembered by her sister Rasha, who said: “To this day, the questions remain in my mind and plague me about what exactly happened — it is very important for me to take part in this process of questioning, to find out the truth.”

Deborah Lamprell, 45, was commemorated by her mother Miriam, who said: “If she had died a normal death I would have been able to hold her and comfort her and say goodbye, but I feel a part of me has been ripped out.”


British government excludes bereaved relatives from Grenfell disaster inquiry

The London silent march on May 14th 2018 – 11 months after of the Grenfell Tower Inferno

From daily News Line in Britain:

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Bereaved Grenfell relatives left out of UK!

BEREAVED Grenfell relatives were unable to attend the start of public inquiry yesterday due to Home Office visa delays, with family members who have been granted ‘core participant status’ left waiting months for the right to enter the UK.

One of those left out is Karim Khalloufi. His sister perished in the blaze, feared he would be unable to attend the public inquiry after waiting since December to hear back from the government about his visa application. Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ continues! He will miss the beginning because his visa will now be printed on Wednesday – two days after the start of the hearing.

‘I can see this morning that the families are gathering a lot of strength, they are becoming stronger and when the next part of Phase One starts they will be a force to be reckoned with’, Yvette Williams, campaign co-ordinator of Justice4Grenfell, said on the first day of the inquiry taking place at a hotel in central London.

At the beginning of the month, families met with PM May, forcing her to concede two additional members of the inquiries panel. Williams added: ‘I am still unconfident in the panel, I can’t understand why the advisors are only being put on to Phase Two, there are important issues that are going to come into Phase One.

‘One of the things we are relying on those additional panel members to do is to actually keep people at the heart of the inquiry.’ When asked about the two thirds of the Grenfell families who are still in temporary accommodation, she said: ‘I have no confidence in the local authority re-housing the survivors and their families into permanent homes. ‘They should just step down, I am surprised they are still here, they didn’t turn up on June 14 last year (the day of the fire). ‘I don’t know why they are still hanging around, I have no confidence in them.’

Clarrie Mendy who lost her cousin and cousin’s daughter in the fire said: ‘We are here at the start of the public inquiry. I think to me, really, we are starting on page 1,000. ‘We are not hearing about the concerns that were raised by the residents for the last three years. We are not hearing about the electric surges that were happening in the building. ‘We are not hearing about why there was a demolition order that was signed and sealed and then suddenly overturned. ‘There are questions in my mind: Was it cheaper to put the cladding than it was to demolish the building?’

Marcio Gomes, the father of a baby stillborn after his parents escaped the Grenfell Tower fire, spoke of his loss on the opening day of the public inquiry. Marcio was in tears as he recalled holding his son Logan, hoping it was a bad dream. The child was stillborn in hospital on 14 June 2017, hours after his parents fled the blaze. Relatives of all 72 victims will be given the chance to commemorate loved ones at this stage in the inquiry.

London Grenfell inquiry opens with tributes to victims

London Grenfell fire victims

By Sam Tobin in London, England:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Grenfell inquiry opens with tributes to lost loved ones

Sam Tobin reports from Kensington

THE BEREAVED of Grenfell Tower opened the public inquiry into the disaster today with emotional tributes to their loved ones who perished in the blaze.

A dozen of the 72 people who lost their lives last June 14 were commemorated on the first of six days of tributes held at a hotel in Kensington, west London.

Lead counsel to the inquiry Richard Millett QC read out the names of six victims on behalf of those families for whom “the weight of grief is simply too great to bear [and who have] chosen to grieve privately or in silence.”

They were Victoria King, 71, and her daughter Alexandra Atala, 40, Marco Gottardi, 27, Abufars Ibrahim, 39, Abdesalam Sebbar, 77, and Sheila, 84.

Marcio Gomes, who escaped from the 21st floor with his wife Andreia and two young daughters, gave a moving tribute to his son Logan, who was stillborn just after the fire.

He said that Logan “might not be [here] physically, but he will always be here in our hearts and that will be forever.”

Anne-Marie Murphy, the sister of Denis Murphy, 56, said he was as much “a dad” as a brother to her and her siblings, Mick and Tim.

She said: “We as a family feel strongly that there is no reason in the world why anyone should have death forced upon them in such a horrific way.”

Statements from Saber Neda’s family were read out. His son Farhad said of the the 57-year-old former Afghan army officer: “In the 18 years that we lived in Grenfell, there was never a bad word said about him.”

His widow Flora told the inquiry how they had met in Kabul in 1989 — “It was love at first sight” — before they fled the Taliban in 1998.

She mourned the fact that “my beloved husband will not be with us at Farhad’s wedding and will not be there to … share in the joy of becoming a grandparent.”

Samuel Daniels — who brought a legal challenge to Theresa May’s refusal to appoint a diverse panel to the inquiry earlier this month — gave a brief tribute to his father Joseph, 69, saying: “The events of that night took his life and all trace of his existence from this world.

“He stood no chance of getting out and this should never have happened.”

The inquiry finally heard tributes to Mary Mendy, 54, and her daughter Khadija Saye, 24, read out on behalf of Ms Mendy’s niece and Ms Saye’s father.

Marion Telfer said Ms Mendy, who moved to Britain from the Gambia in the 1980s, was a “humanitarian” who had “completely devoted her life to Khadija.”

She added: “She was warm and kind. She welcomed everyone into her home. Grenfell Tower was a place all her family and friends could find shelter if they ever needed it.”

The inquiry was shown a short documentary featuring Ms Saye just before exhibiting her photography at the prestigious Venice Biennale.

Her father Mohammadou Saye said his daughter’s “burning passion was photography”, recounting how she one day told him: “Daddy, I’m in love with images.”

Moyra Samuels from Justice4Grenfell told the Star that the decision to begin with commemorations was “significant because it actually changes what happened at Grenfell from statistics and cladding and technicals and science to humans, because the fight for justice is not for a building.

“It’s for the community that was affected and the families and the lives that were cut short unnecessarily.”

Labour MP David Lammy told the Star that he was “pleased that the chair has heard some of the criticism” of his appointment and had begun the inquiry with commemorations.

But he added: “Anyone who knows their history knows that we have to remain vigilant and I remain a critical friend of the inquiry.

“[But] it isn’t solely about the inquiry, it is also about the police investigation.

Until we see a case in the Old Bailey, there will be no justice.”

British firefighters’ tribute to Grenfell disaster victims

This 8 August 2017 video from Britain is called LOWKEY ft. MAI KHALIL – GHOSTS OF GRENFELL (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO).

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Monday, May 21, 2018

Firefighters pay tribute to Grenfell Tower blaze victims as public inquiry begins

FIREFIGHTERS paid tribute today to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire ahead of the start of the public inquiry into the atrocity tomorrow.

The hearing will begin with two weeks of tributes from family and friends remembering the victims of the June 14 2017 fire in which 72 people perished.

Fire Brigades Union (FBU) general secretary Matt Wrack said: “The Grenfell Tower fire was a devastating and heartbreaking tragedy. Seventy-two people died and the lives of those who survived were forever changed.

“On behalf of firefighters everywhere, we pay our respects to those who died, were injured or lost loved ones.

“A whole community has been devastated. The thoughts of all firefighters will be with them as tributes begin at the public inquiry.

“The FBU is working with local people to help the community to recover. We will continue to do everything in our power to help them rebuild their lives.”

Lead counsel to the inquiry Richard Millett said that starting the hearings with tributes will ensure that participants “never lose sight of who our work is for and why we are doing it.”

London Grenfell disaster solidarity, 16 June