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