I was attacked in the Daily Mail newspaper last week, along with others on the left, for protesting over the Grenfell Tower fire.
I didn’t realise it until I started getting random right wingers commenting on my Facebook page and messaging me. It was quite a shock.
People were sending me abusive messages. They fixated on the idea that I hate the government and the police.
I do hate the government and the police! But it felt like the attacks were racialised—as if I in particular am not allowed to be critical.
People sent messages saying if I don’t like this country go somewhere else. Another told me to go back to my communist country—wherever that is.
They used sexist language too. It gave me a sense of the kind of people who read the Daily Mail.
What they don’t understand is that we live in tower blocks. Our friends live in tower blocks.
When the fire happened at Lakanal House in Camberwell, south London, in 2009 I was living next to it. My sister lost a classmate.
I don’t feel at all apologetic or guilty for protesting. I think the people sending the messages, and the Mail, are trying to single me out.
They want me to feel like I’m the only one who’s angry and protesting.
But when I’m on the demonstrations, I know that I’m not alone.
The right are ramping up hatred because they are frustrated after a bad general election for the Tories.
So they’re becoming more vocal. They want to make the left feel bad.
They say we should have respect for the victims—as though protesting is disrespectful. But really they just don’t want people to be on the streets.
They want us to mourn but not to fight.
But having respect for the victims means making sure this never happens again.