Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Mumbai: The aftermath

For several months this site benefited from the insightful analysis of 'Harry Fenton' in real life, my friend Nigel Pike. Last November Nigel's son Will was caught up in the terrorist atrocities in Mumbai. Attempting to escape with his girlfriend Kelly Doyle from their third-floor hotel room, Will fell, sustaining serious injuries. He is facing the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

At every stage in in this cruel calamity I have been shocked by the incompetence and indifference of the Foreign Office, parts of the National Health Service and the British government which has abandoned Will, offering him a one-off payment from a Red Cross fund of a meagre £15,000. Had he been injured in a terrorist attack on British soil he would have been compensated. Had he been in a car crash, he would have been compensated. Had his injury taken place at work, he would have been compensated. But because he was the victim of a terrorist attack abroad, the government says it will give him nothing. Not a penny.

Will was a target because he was British. The terrorists went from room to room looking for British and American guests to execute. Since he returned to London from Mumbai five months ago, the British government has preferred to pretend he does not exist.

In today's Observer the full story of what happened after Mumbai is told. You can read my account here, and a report by the chief political correspondent here, and a leader here.

This morning Will and Kelly launched a website, a public appeal for a change in government policy and for funds to help them though the years ahead. You can read that here. Please do.

You can also listen to a radio interview with Will which went out this morning on BBC Radio Four's Today Programme


lagatta à montréal said...

Dear Linda,

I have thought of this horrible story many times and had read your Observer article (I always read the Observer online). Yes, Gordon Brown should speak to the family.

Bravo to Kelly Doyle by the way.

Thank you for sharing this.

Toby Wollin said...

Linda- thank you so much for fighting alongside Will's family for justice for him. This is horrifying.

Fay said...

I have often wondered what happened to "Harry's" son after that terrible attack. Thank you for the update and good luck and best wishes to all in the battle to get things changed.

Jo said...

Horrifying. Awful. Shameful.

And here in the States we wouldn't do a damn bit better.

My best wishes to Will and Kelly, and to Nigel. Thank you for writing about this.

Madeline said...


I am so sorry for what your friend and his son have had to endure, and the heartache you must feel as you observe their stuggle. You don't know me from Adam but please know you and they are in my prayers.

However I feel compelled to respond to commenter Jo--
your assertion is patently untrue. It is not necessary to denigrate my and your country in order to make someone else feel better about the failings of their own.

tiah said...

My post from yesterday didn't work... essentially thanking you for the update. I have wondered the outcome. Very thankful he is alive; but, saddened to hear of the treatment he and his family have received by a government and NHS that are perfectly capable of being better than this.

Rosaria said...

This is a deep injustice. Considering the so-called 'war on terror' is a global phenomenon, and terrorism knows no boundaries, there indeed needs to be bi-partisan compensation agreements between countries at risk, for victims of terrorist attacks.

The scourge of terrorism and its aftermath cannot, must not, be treated in isolation.

To do so is to give a secondary 'victory' to the terrorists who will have traumatised lives yet again.

I will be donating to Will's cause.

phyllis said...

Will's interview can also be downloaded from iTunes on the BBC Newspod podcast for May 11.

Icy said...

The attacks on Mumbai were terrible, and it is awful that the government is ignoring Will (and his family) and their difficulties. Living in a wheelchair is a challenge (as my father-in-law can attest to) and you need financial and govenment assistance as well as other support.

My thoughts (and donation) are will Will and his family.

WendyB said...

How terrible. Thanks for drawing attention to it.

Melissa said...

Hello, I have just been listening to Will on GMTV. I am astonished to the law on no compensation on terrorist attacks abroad. I found this story to be very touching and as I have just read through web links to find none of the government have been in touch in regards to Wills accident. The people we have in power make me feel sick to the stomach. The money being spent on silly decor we hear about on the news with our tax payers money, yet this kind of incident is not looked at, or taken into account. This has opened my eyes and I hope to help out. I am a young woman myself who loves travelling. I wish you all the best in the future and that this law can be changed. I'm sure you will have much support once this message gets out. Im glad to see Will and his girlfriend in good spirits and I wish them both lots of love..
Kind Regards Melissa x

Anonymous said...

1.Will was in a foreign country, not Britain. When you leave the country you take your chances.

2. He was not injured by one of the terrorists, he was injured by his botched escape attempt.

3.Nobody forced him and his girlfrend to go abroad. Why does he deserve money?

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Anonymous said...

It is outrageous that innocent people can be targeted and attacked with impunity around the world. But it happens often enough that folks who make decisions to travel to such places ought to know better.
If they had gone on a beach holiday and been attacked by a shark, would they be asking the government for compensation?
If they were in Mumbai on government business, then the government has an obligation to help. If not on government business, government (nor citizens of England) has no responsibility but is generous to offer anything.