New York Fire Kills the Poor…Again!

Fire on 8th Street blog 1
Too many tragedies for the poor. Endless tragedies.

Exactly four years ago, I woke up at 5.30 in the morning here in Brooklyn, and found out that a house in our backyard was on fire.

My wife and I ran out to discover a lot of fire trucks, police officers in patrol cars, ambulances, and a whole host of media with their big cameras.

I took pictures and videos of the house in blaze, victims being carried out on stretchers, and firefighters throwing burning beds and furniture through the third-floor window on to the street. We learned that three young women — poor and unfortunate — were burned alive in that ill-fated house.

From our rear window on the third flood, we could see the charcoal-black building for years after. I walked past the abandoned house many times after.

Today, in the Bronx — another similar neighborhood in New York City — a similar house fire killed twelve people including two children. Poor and unfortunate, they fell victims to a continuously apathetic and inefficient system that does not care much for the poor and hapless people in this so-called “Best Country in the World.”

The poor and hapless die here in America all the time. Nobody knows. Nobody cares. The president, the governor, the mayor, the city council members…and of course, the privatized, profit-only economic and political system…

On December 20, 2013, I actually had a chance to talk to the media about this never-ending saga of the poor being victims of poverty, illiteracy, carelessness, and a ruthless, pro-1% administration. I told them that the city and country must work to stop these tragedies. Educate the people. Find ways to plug safety violations. Ask the landlords to make sure their tenants are safe. City council members must work for the people, rather than showing their faces once in four years at the time of the elections.

Nobody did nothing. This mighty city and this mighty country went on, rewarding the rich, and punishing the poor. Republicans or Democrats.

At that time, it was an aftermath of a ruthless, pro-rich Bloomberg government and his corporations and media. Now, it is a so-called pro-people De Blasio government, that has not done much at all to save these extremely vulnerable people from death.

The cycle goes on.

There will be a lot of talks, and there will be lot of finger-pointing after this massive, new tragedy. But I am afraid no substantive change will be made.

I hope I am proven wrong.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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