We woke up at 5.30 in the morning today. Just five days before Christmas.
It was cold. It was dark. Our street was filled with fire trucks and ambulances. Their sirens and search lights tore through the quiet.
We smelled smoke in our house.
A house in our neighborhood was on fire.
We went out on the street. Dozens of scared, sad and traumatized people came out and stood up on the street corner.
Firefighters found a number of poor people — most of them young women — inside the house. Three of them were in critical condition. We saw ambulance workers wheeling them away in stretchers.
We saw firefighters putting the fire away, with their very long, snake-like water pipes crawling on the street. We saw firefighters going into the house, and pulling out burnt beds, furniture and other household items, and throwing them out from the ill-fated third floor of the house.
We later heard at least one young woman had died, and two other were in a life-threatening condition.
I also had a chance to talk to a number of media reporters — TV and newspaper people — on the tragedy. I told them we are seeing too many tragedies, too often. Here’s the link to one of those TV stories (click here and watch the video). Unfortunately, they did not use the constructive suggestions I made (are you surprised?).
I suggested that they put pressure on the new city administration, with friendly, activist-minded people such as Bill de Blasio, Letitia James and Eric Adams being in their new, important offices — to prevent these tragedies pro-actively, with mass education and PR.
I told the reporters to ask the city government and elected officials to find a message of hope and reassurance for the vast underclass of the city. But they didn’t comply with my request. Not for this story, at least.
But I hope you share this message with your friends, wherever you are. Because, this is a global phenomenon. The poor are suffering — across the world. New York City is no exception.
Sadly, and in Sympathy and Solidarity,
Brooklyn, New York