In a year with so many tragedies, it's worth acknowledging that the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire has in no way followed the formula we have become so accustomed to. There are no twee hashtags - present even after the most heinous of events - twittering on about biscuits and Britishisms through stiff upper lips. No assurances that 'they' will not divide us. Because what happens when the "they", the ones responsible for the grief and the pain and the loss, are those who are supposed to protect you?
A total of 79 people are either dead or missing presumed dead after an inferno engulfed the 24 storey tower block housing over 600, and there is no rallying cry of unity against enemies of the state. Blood is instead on the hands of the state itself, and barely concealed structural inequalities have been laid bare in the most harrowing of ways. Sadness has turned to anger has turned to rage. As the days drag on the government response becomes littler and later, and many fear that rage will soon turn into riots.
"If you riot, you risk your liberty and your future" LBC's James O'Brien recently tweeted. "You damage your neighbourhood and you give people an excuse to ignore your plight".
Whilst statements like this may be a well meaning attempt to avoid more devastation, it reads as disconnected from the reality of the affected. It talks of the protection of a neighbourhood that may not be theirs for much longer, with some saying they will be declared "intentionally homeless" if they refuse to move outside of London. It speaks to a future many can no longer envision and liberty that died along with loved ones. It assumes those in power need excuses not to listen to the working class.
Deborah Orr also waded in with similar sentiment in the Guardian, arguing that rage must be instead replaced with resolve. "Politicians are falling over themselves to tell survivors they understand their anger." she writes. "What they need to understand is their arguments."
But if well-constructed, thought-through and thorough arguments were the key to having the disenfranchised listened to, this tragedy would have not come to pass. The Grenfell Action Group residents' association consistently warned of fire safety concerns; twice in 2013 and in November just last year. Their clear arguments were not understood.
We continue to police the justified anger of the victims because anger en-masse leads to rioting, and rioting is not believed to be the right response. But residents of Grenfell tower have never been rewarded for doing the 'right' thing. Some of those trapped in the blaze were reportedly given instructions to 'stay put' as their homes and lungs filled with smoke. They died doing exactly what they were told would save them.
When continual changes were made to their homes that made them less safe, they made complaints to the council's tenant management organisation. They wrote reasonable blog posts outlining their concerns. They tried to make themselves heard through every channel they were supposed to.
"It is our conviction that a serious fire in a tower block... is the most likely reason those who wield power at the KCTMO will be found out and brought to justice" Grenfell Action group wrote in their chilling November post. They themselves worried reasoned debate would never see them acknowledged and believed only the avoidable destruction would result in the necessary change.
Even after the carnage, there is still no assurance that the KCTMO will be brought to justice, with no sackings yet made, let alone arrests. The screams are still somehow silent. To stave off riots the government must show it can speak a language other than pain and violence. But even as the death toll rises, there is still inaction and hand wringing, a lack of urgency that will only see fury spill out of people's chests and into the streets if it persists.
Anger doesn't further divide when divisions have already reached their furthest extremes.
Orr continued in her piece that "anger doesn't help people to listen. It divides us all further." Anger doesn't help people to listen, but rationale does not either when you are not rich. Anger doesn't further divide when divisions have already reached their furthest extremes. The residents of Grenfell tower died because they were poor and many were poor because they were black and brown. Since the event, some have been given just £10 a day to live, others are sleeping rough, have been neglected, for the same reasons.
Huge divisions have been illustrated not by anger, but by the incident itself and the subsequent response from those in charge. Many saw their own neighbours jump and burn to their deaths, and yet Theresa May was the one too frightened to visit survivors. Boris Johnson's sister Rachel Johnson even referred to her as one of the victims of the fire as she 'can do nothing right'. These faux pas are made by types who keep the mansions empty, instead of filling them with victims. It almost feels baiting.
When I volunteered at Ackwall village, amongst the swathes of locals a large amount of the volunteers I met were from much further out. A group had even travelled down from Birmingham to help. In a borough that is 71% white and with a higher proportion of high earners than anywhere else in Britain, black and brown working class people are overrepresented not just as victims of the tragedy but as volunteers. However physically far from the site, the tragedy of Grenfell remains close to home for working class people all over this country. Because it could have been any neglected, overlooked council home anywhere - similar cladding is said to have been used on up to 30,000 buildings in the UK.
That same diasporic feeling of discontent led to the riots of 2011 which tore through many different areas including Croydon where I am from. Some of the worst affected sites have still not been redeveloped. But by now, we should know a riot won't be avoided by polite requests and posturing.
As Martin Luther King said, it is the language of the unheard - so if we don't want uprisings, we cannot simply tell the disenfranchised to 'keep calm and carry on' - we must hear. We cannot tell those who have already lost everything what they have to lose. If we don't want uprisings, the angry and the affected need to be done better by and now. They need to be promised the security of their community. They need to be assured the deaths of their friends and family were not in vain and justice will be served. If we don't want uprisings, frankly, they need to be given a tangible reason not to.
Yomi Adegoke is a journalist. She writes about feminism, race and the intersection between the two. Follow : @yomiadegoke