[Image: A white-haired man looking thoughtfully at the camera]
Part 18 of a series of posts honoring the Grenfell Tower victims.
Hesham Rahman, from the 23rd floor of Grenfell Tower
Hesham Rahman, 57, loved living in Grenfell Tower. “He was so proud of that flat,” his nephew Karim Mussilhy said of him. Like many people he made a final phone call from the tower – he called his mother to tell her he would be okay. But sadly, he died.
His nephew has written articles speaking of his anger at what happened to him.
“Later we learned he didn’t make it out of the tower. He had trouble
walking and often used a walking stick so would have struggled to make it down the stairs from the top floor.
He tragically died alone in his flat and many others perished that night
in the tower. He was identified on 25 August and finally laid to rest on 30
The Grenfell Tower fire has broken the hearts of our close community but above all it has united us in the fight for justice, to make sure that a
tragedy of this scale will never happen again.”
He also spoke out at, and about, the Grenfell inquiry:
“However, I was very mindful about censorship, as the inquiry asked for transcripts of what the families and survivors were going to say beforehand. Some families were asked to change certain words and sentences – to avoid naming companies or for being too political or straying too far from tributes to our loved ones.
So what did I do? I went off-script from the transcript I had shared. My point was: why are we having this public inquiry? This is the relatives’ time to talk. I thought they were giving us the right to pay tribute, not controlling what we would say. Our families have been torn apart for ever and our lives will never be the same. If someone wants to stand up there and say that we were failed and neglected, then that is their right. The fact is, our relatives are being remembered now because they were left to die.”
Hesham was a friendly and generous joker, Karim said. “I remember him teaching me how to write and read Arabic and always stuffing my pockets with chocolates and sweets… He could see the Westway football pitches from his flat where I regularly played and he would sometimes watch me and message me after playing making fun of how rubbish I was.”