It will come as no surprise that as a local North Kensington blog, as members of the immediate community around Grenfell, that THINK has had quite a lot of trolls over the two and half years we have been operating. Now we can be outspoken, we can poke harmless fun at some people in power and not everyone will like our blog and will agree with what we have to say – and that’s totally fine.
THINKers are used to opening our inboxes and seeing unpleasant things from trolls from a long way outside our community (usually Grenfell- related). Occasionally, the “crime”of being female can get us quite a few unpleasant emails and comments too. We probably shouldn’t be, but are, used to it- part of being a campaigner and blogger is also growing a thick skin.
We often deal with this by simply skimming through our emails, not engaging and discarding any bonkers or hostile ones and also making comments on our posts subject to approval before they appear. That usually stops any nuisance as we are depriving these morons of attention and their five minutes of “fame”
But in recent times, we have also received some comments to our blog which have clearly been made by locals and some comments in person which have offended and undermined us. We will not let them win. THINK are not bullies, and also recognise that some of these people are traumatised and even (supposedly) on the same side of us so THINK will not be personally naming and shaming here.
When we covered the fire at Markland House. One THINKer received, in person a few local people and friends of theirs from other areas (no they don’t live in Markland House or anywhere else on the Silchester Estate either) amusing themselves by making distasteful comments that we were using this just to boost viewing figures for our blog. But we have also kept receiving nasty comments and emails over the past month with comments to that effect.
So let’s just clear matters up shall we? The THINKer who reported on the fire lives in Notting Dale Ward down the road from the Silchester, and knows a number of people living both in and nearby the building. That afternoon when she heard someone in the street mention there was a fire there; she dropped everything and ran down there to find out what was going on, and also in fear of what she might find there. She also lost friends in Grenfell and some of her friends are survivors by the way.
On fortunately finding out that nobody was hurt and that the fire hadn’t been more serious, she talked to a number of residents and to Cllr Mo Bakhtiar outside about it to report their concerns in the blog. A number of residents recognised her and welcomed a local person reporting the issue.
One reason why our THINKer is a familiar face to some on the Silchester Estate is because before this blog started, she supported the residents’ campaign against its (thankfully cancelled) regeneration.
Back then, NOT ONE of these people who made the offensive remarks actually was seen to support the campaign or had previously joined the residents at meetings or on demonstrations to save it!
As the later comments and emails we received were anonymous, we do not know for a fact if these were the same people but let’s just say that some of the wording rather gave things away.
We sometimes attend more Town Hall meetings than have hot dinners. We support many other campaigns outside our area too. And as for local campaigns, where were some of these people when our Library and our College were under threat? Nowhere to be seen……
Fine – some people don’t like each other and we can’t all get along – but we can be grown up enough to stand on the same side with some we do not personally like without making trouble without good reason or else walk away.
Of course this sort of thing happens to many other locals. We will not go into individual examples – but it doesn’t help anyone and needs to stop. We are all entitled to our own opinions but let’s be sensible here Let’s not undermine someone publicly, lets not spread silly rumours and let’s not pick on people. Differences of opinion are inevitable but we can be grown up about this? Sometimes if someone’s negative opinions are based purely on personal grounds, it’s usually best to keep them that way.
Some also need to remember that having big spats that others get drawn into (we’ve have to stop doing this one ourselves in the past!) , sniping and bullying is very hurtful to many who are completely blameless in the matter – and please no more fake rumours about people either – hasn’t our community been through enough?
So here is our message to the snipers, the bullies and the armchair critics in our North Kensington community:
Some people do writing, some do art, some do history, some do music, some do campaigning, some do volunteering, some do theatre, some do politics, some do gardening, some do sports, some do film, some do media, some do teaching, some do caring and some just do. If you can’t do then leave it and find something else rather more productive that you can do – and leave others in peace to get on with trying to do some good in this community.
Because it could be your own battles some of us are fighting next…….