SW8 Six Months on
| story filed by:|| onionbag blogger|
Six months ago this week saw Jean Charles de Menezes shot dead at Stockwell tube station, wrongly mistaken by the Met Police as a suicide bomber. It's been a strange six months around SW8. The mainstream knobber media whores moved on less than a week later, always preferring the chase rather than the kill. An IPCC report was commissioned, and finally completed last week as a timely anniversary approached. But the good 'ol British judicial system saw no reason as to why the de Menezes family could see it.
Stockwell meanwhile has emerged out of a surreal six months, still mourning for what took place underground, but all the more stronger. Sure there has been divisions, but I've come to realise that's there no such thing as a knobber-free hiding place. Especially on your own patch.
SW8 is NOT a knobber free zone
onionbagblog is just that - not a knobber-free hiding place but a blog where a lone SW8 resident gets to bang on about all things local. In no way do I represent Stockwell, nor would I want to either. But there has been a very visible coming together of some sort of community feeling following the de Menezes killing. Local meetings have seen dialogue between groups and individuals whose previous only contact would have been queuing up to buy milk from Costcutters next to the tube. And yes, this is the first time that one of my neighbours has appeared in a picture on onionbagblog.
Stockwell is no longer that place where the Northern Line meets the Victoria Line. It is firmly mapped as a place where the Met Police fucked up and an innocent man was caught in the crossfire of police paranoia, not helped by the mainstream knobber media whores who were looking for folk devils post July 7th.
And so on Sunday morning, Stockwell remembered Jean Charles. That's not strictly true - some local people, some not-so-local people converged outside the tube station to pay their respects. Vest Man was oblivious to it all, sitting outside onionbagblog HQ in his, um, vest, just as another cold snap came to Stockwell. The ticket touts still mingled outside the tube station, not so much paying their respect, but momentarily shutting up shot. Dear Old Doreen was probably still stalking South Lambeth Road looking for me.
But for a couple of hundred people or so, those balmy late days in July were firmly back on the agenda. As with all things Stockwell, there was a sense of make it up as you go along. We assembled outside the makeshift de Menezes memorial (in truth an MFI book cabinet, lovingly attended each week by sympathisers) and then... waited.
A lone strummer plucked away at a few chords, much to the disbelief (and anger) of the returning mainstream knobber media whores. They were no doubt expecting some celeb-endorsed speech and a perfect piece to camera. Instead they got a slightly cheesy hippy busking for the Man from Brazil.
The sun shone brilliantly at the agreed hour of 1pm, and for a very short period of time, the distance between Brazil and Stockwell didn't seem that far. As has happened before, the quest for justice for Jean Charles wasn't the only item on the agenda. Palestine placards were raised, and mainstream photographers took photos of them. After a peaceful personal moment remembering how the past six months has changed MY Stockwell, I took photographs of the mainstream photographers.
'What the fuck are you doing?' asked the agency boys.
'...taking photos,' came the reply.
They still don't understand.
A number of car horns beeped as they headed up the Clap'ham Road. A No 2 bus beeped the loudest, a symbol of Jean Charles' final few moments in SW8.
After half an hour or so I walked past the Stockwell Memorial Gardens. The whitewashed empty patch where Jean Charles was remembered reflected back in the brilliant January sunshine. You may remember how my local knobber Councillors took it upon themselves to remove an officially commissioned remembrance to Mr de Menezes without any public consultation. No rational public explanation has yet been given, although I note that the knobbers are up for re-election in a few months time.
My SW8 sources tell me that Lambeth Council has officially approached Brian the Mural Man to come up with a new design 'appropriate to the area' to replace the whitewashed Brazilian flag. Good old Brian; a four page document was despatched back, outlining his professional credentials to undertake the commission.
The final sentence was:
'I propose to paint a Brazilian flag.'
We WILL remember.
Crap Picture Gallery (click on thumbs to see large image)
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