[Image: a smiling woman in a black and brown stripey hijab]
Part 6 of a series of posts honoring the Grenfell Tower victims.
Khadija Khalloufi, from the 17th floor of Grenfell Tower
Khadija Khalloufi, 52, was a pharmacist, a Marks and Spencers worker, and
the carer for her husband, Sabah, who had health problems. Both lived in
Grenfell Tower, but became separated from each other as they tried to escape. Khadija escaped the building with help from a firefighter but died of smoke inhalation, her husband was told, “in the greenery and the flowers, in the fresh air.” She was the fifth Grenfell victim to be named.
Sabah spoke of his anguish after she was confirmed to have
“We had a 30-year marriage. She was my other half, she was my partner. She was everything.
Being a retired person, she was the only one to look after me. Thanks to my friends who are all here, but that was my wife. This is a different situation now.
She was always with me. Someone very important is missing. And why? What did she do? Does she really deserve that?“
She spoke frequently to her family back in Morocco. Her brother Karim told LRB:
“Khadija was the eldest child. She was always like a second mother. She came to London a long time ago and worked to send money home. That was her first aim.
…When she came home last time she seemed different. Something different in her eyes. She went to Rabat. She insisted on seeing people she hadn’t seen in years. When she was going back to Heathrow for the last time, she sat silent in the car and we cried saying goodbye.”
Sabah was granted an emergency passport to attend his wife’s funeral in Morocco, after his was lost in the fire. But her family in Morocco have said that they were “blocked” from attending the Grenfell public inquiry.
“When I went there I didn’t ask for anything, I went there to find out how my sister died, I was suffering. I didn’t have good treatment, they put me in a hotel and they forgot me. My mum was really suffering, she was crying all the time, she didn’t expect that she would be as badly treated like this. Really we are still suffering, we are still grieving and no one is helping us to get over this.”
Her brother was prevented from attending the inquiry.
Today it is nearly five months since I and my mother applied for a visa to the UK.
“We had been led to believe that we could be in London for the inquiry, but now does not seem to be the case.
“No-one seems to care about our history or relationship to this case, or to care about our pain, our heartache or our desire for answers.
I am now at a loss as to what I can do to defend my family’s rights in this case and to represent my sister, who seems to have no representation.”