The events at The Clutha in Glasgow last Friday night were awful, the loss of nine lives in such a tragic accident is beyond our comprehension.
However, out of that tragedy has come good, the people who witnessed the events did not run away to safety, they ran towards The Clutha to see what they could do to help. They formed a human chain to bring out the badly injured and stayed to help the emergency services.
Glasgow Taxis immediately started taking food to the emergency services working on site for free, they also offered to drive family and friends for free to visit those injured and still in hospital. Glasgow City Council offered to help financially those who had either loss someone in the accident or who had been injured and may therefore struggle to pay bills etc.
The actor Colin McCredie, best known for Taggart, started to gather support via social media to hold a fund raising event in January for the victims and their families.
What stood out most for me was the kindness of strangers throughout this terrible time. I happened to be the curator this week for @ScotVoices a Twitter account with a different curator each week who gives their view of life in Scotland. I started on the Thursday and by Friday evening the Twitter feed was all about The Clutha. Initially it was disbelief and sorrow, then the stories of heroic, selfless acts started to come through and people where supporting each other through this tough time.
Over the weekend I tweeted and retweeted appeals for information, photos or film of the accident by the Police, helpline numbers for the Council and Police together with individual’s reactions. The recurring theme was the kindness of strangers.
Now as time and life moves on for most of us, the images of The Clutha are fading, but for those affected they will remain for some time, indeed forever. One that will remain with me is the interview with Jim Murphy MP who happened to be walking by at the time and at 2 minutes into this clip is asked if that is his blood on his shirt, his reply is no. It has become for some a symbol of how ordinary people went into that situation and helped others they didn’t know by forming a human chain to get them to safety.
Then sadly there is the other side of the human condition, the ones who used the tragedy to promote themselves or their cause. The Westboro Baptists stated that that the accident was caused because Scotland believes in marriage equality for all. Whilst Katie Hopkins put an unfeeling tweet about life expectancy in Scotland for her own ends. Some people just need the oxygen of publicity no matter the cost to their own self-respect.
But their small insignificant actions were far outweighed by the goodness and kindness that shone through this awful time, the memories of that will stay with all of us far longer. Each time we think of The Clutha we should recall those who lost their lives, the people who went in to help and indeed are still helping afterwards and the kindness that strangers showed to each other.
Indeed it is an opportunity to celebrate the human spirit.
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