Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Rich Door- Poor Door

As one lane takes you through canvases of beautiful art, another hits you with a whiff of warm Bengali spices, and you walk down to marvel at a massive chimney of an old brewery or you wander away losing yourself in alleyways of street boutiques and vintage markets. What more would you want? A charming little factory what makes bells, or a narrow gully home to the largest anarchist bookshop in the city. Or perhaps a mysterious night walk with Ripper tales.

Aldgate East, Brick Lane, Whitechapel.

Brick Lane

It is the London I want to be a part of, proud of. A meting pot of cultures, free thinking, free people.

That's until it became an 'investment opportunity'. 'One Commercial Street Tower'-  twenty one storey eyesore. There is no better way to describe that, but then again I hate tall glass characterless buildings. They seem to lack a soul.

But that is not my issue. Sky scrapers seem to be the answer to growing population in super cities. What's disturbing is what I read at the 'East End Howler', a local newspaper I picked up from the Freedom Bookstore. Apparently developers are 'sometimes forced' to provide housing that could be passed as affordable (still beyond reach for the average Londoner). The end result, the developer is faced with a situation where the desired residents will be living in the same building as the undesirables. (cringe)
The solution devised by Redrow (the builder) is to have two separate entrances.  The main entrance (rich door) has a vast lobby and security guards and an upscale reception, while the 'poor door' is around in a dingy side alley with nothing welcoming in the narrow access except mailboxes.

This has not gone unnoticed. There have been protests every week against this ridiculous hypocrisy. The protesters have talked to residents of both doors. One of them coming out of the rich door did not even know there was a poor door. (.really?) Some of the poor door residents have revealed more details of the discrimination. The lift frequently breaks down and they are not allowed to use the rich lift!

This is no longer about 'abolishing' the two doors. Maybe the builder will eventually be forced to do it, but what is really happening here? The bloody immigrants? This area has been the heart of the Bangladeshi Bengali community for decades, so what next... The Apartheid in East London?

Rich and poor entrances

Latest update(Nov 27): Round 1 goes to the Poor Doors. Richie Rich have agreed to 'talks' regarding the abolishment of the poor door. I walked around this building today, and there were quite a few cops lurking at the entrance, but no protesters.

Voices of the working class. Newspapers at the Freedom Bookshop

I admire the will and the dedication with which people are writing and publishing such journals for free distribution. What's the motivation? Maybe 10 people will read it. Maybe five will blog about it. Being aware and being alert. It is important for the information to be shared and passed on.