22 June 2017

We Are The New Media

I must start by saying that my thoughts are with those who have lost friends, family and loved ones in the horrific fire at Grenfell Towers.  The footage and words from those who witnessed it is nothing short of the stuff of nightmares.

We do not know as yet how many died in the fire.  At the present time 79 people are listed as missing and dead; although reports have suggested that this may raise to treble figures. 

As they always do (and do not receive enough recognition for), the firefighters of London risked their lives trying to save people trapped in the tower, many of whom who had heeded the advice to stay in their flats.  Our emergency services should be commended, not only for their actions at Grenfell, but also after the London and Manchester terrorist attacks.  It takes a special kind of brave to run into a life threatening situation which others are running from.

Last Friday night, my only plans were to have a glass of wine, watch The Last Leg and generally have a relaxed night, away from social media (for once).  But then I saw the protest at Kensington Council offices on mainstream media and wanted to know more.  The real story.

The thing is; the mainstream media is increasing unreliable in getting the true story out there.  You receive limited information, usually aligned to someone's agenda when in fact, there is a lot more to the story that is not shown.

With this in mind, I searched the #JusticeForGrenfell hashtag and came across a periscope showing footage of around one thousand people marching across London. 

I have been given permission to share the Periscope footage by the man taking the video, DJ S.K.T who is an international DJ and producer of house music.  He was on his way to Notting Hill when he came across the march and decided to join and record .  He has asked me to confirm that he is neither a protester nor an activist.  He wanted to film to show people what was happening in a non-partisan way, which I think you can tell from the footage below.

The people on the march were from all walks of life.  The old and the young.  People from many different ethnicities, race and religion.  Men, women and (the occasional) child.  It was a peaceful march with minimal police presence. 

As I am sharing the periscope with permission, I will leave my own political views aside on this post but I can confirm that the march was full with people who were marching for justice for Grenfell, people who were angry at Theresa May and pro Jeremy Corbyn supporters.

The footage starts when DJ S.K.T came across it at Oxford Street and continued through Marble Arch, Edgeware Road, Hyde Park, Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove and ended up in Kensington for a vigil for Grenfell.  3.5 miles in all. 

There were no groups, no Antifa.  No agendas and no wish to do or cause harm.  It was people in unison, in peaceful protest.

Yet, despite the major TV networks watching and in some cases commenting on the periscope, the march was barely shared or even mentioned by anyone.  The angry protest at Kensington Council was played over and over again, yet no footage of the peaceful march which lasted around two hours was shown.

I woke up on Saturday fulling expecting there to be talk of the march in the news and the media.  Yet there was nothing.  I woke to find Saturday Kitchen trending on Twitter instead of the people who stood up and marched to make their voices heard.

People are no longer content to let the major TV networks and newspapers tell them what to think.  They no longer care to be shown only heavily edited and some in cases prejudiced information.  They want the real story, what really happened and this is why it is important that videos like this are shared.

I saw people from around the world commenting as the footage progressed.  The world is watching.  Maybe it is now time that the world saw us for what we really are.  Unedited. 

Because it is when things are at their worst that the people in this country come together.  When we are together, in unison, we are unstoppable.  That British spirit is in all of us. 

It is the spirit that arranged a clean up crew on Twitter after the London riots of 2011. 
It is that spirit that makes us come together and do everything we can after the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. 
It is that spirit that started the relief and help for the people of Grenfell Towers when the towers were still burning.
It is that spirit that made an elderly lady in a mobility scooter travel from Ilford to Finsbury Park to apologise to the people at the mosque and the Imam who stopped people from hurting the terrorist (alleged at this stage while police investigations are ongoing.

We are in the digital age now and it is time that we show people who we are.  Not just the bad, because there really is so much good.  If you wish to donate to the people and survivors of the fire at Grenfell Tower, you can do so here ArtistsForGrenfell

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