Below we have excerpts from four sources on the fire and its casualties. We learn that immigrants have squatted in fire-trap housing for upwards of 14 years while they wait for welfare housing. But in those 14 years they did nothing to rid their environment of rats, nothing to fix the building themselves to make it livable, but they had more wives, more children, more building resentment against an uncaring Humanity who didn't take care of their needs.
At what point is enough enough? At what point will men who raise their families turn on those who refuse? How many more dead children will it take before normal people say they've seen enough suffering among children whose parents are little better than savages who refuse to care for their needs? Blame the victims? No, the victims are dead. They will be followed by other children their parents refuse to tend.
Friday August 26, 2005 10:16 PM
AP Photo PAR116
By ELAINE GANLEY
Associated Press Writer
PARIS (AP) - A fire that raced through a crowded, rundown Paris apartment building housing African immigrants killed 17 people, most children trapped while they slept, triggering angry calls Friday for action on behalf of France's needy.
``More than ever, housing must be a national priority,'' Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said after Friday's blaze. Paris has 110,000 unanswered requests for low-cost housing, according to associations working with the needy.
Angry African immigrants surrounded Housing Minister Jean-Louis Borloo at the site of the fire, demanding help.
Former Health Minister Bernard Kouchner, co-founder of Doctors Without Borders, said the country has a ``collective'' responsibility for such disasters and called for a more ``heartfelt'' approach toward poor immigrants arriving in France.
In 1991, immigrants and others expelled from lodgings with nowhere to go camped out for four months under tents in the 13th district, not far from the building that caught fire Friday. Many of the building's residents were among the tent protesters 14 years ago.
The lodging was meant to be temporary, but many had lived there for years, underscoring the plight of poor immigrants in expensive Paris.
``It was totally unfit,'' said Cisse, who had lived there for nearly 15 years.
"There are no houses in Paris for families with several children. Maybe this society doesn't accept families with five, seven or eight children," he said.
"It is a problem to make real integration. These children are French children. Black but French, born here in Paris. The government and the city has a responsibility to find the correct houses."http://news.bbc.co.uk
Touré did not mourn his family; his two wives and all 13 children survived, helped by firefighters who lifted them out of their smoke-filled bedroom through the window. He said he was thinking of his neighbor, Dramane Diarra, another Malian, who is in the hospital with serious injuries after jumping out of his window to escape the flames: Diarra lost all six of his children in the blaze.
Adam Sage, Paris Correspondent for The Times
"However, the finance needed to really sort it out and ensure that everyone lived in safe, clean homes would be phenomenal. The French economy is already under huge pressure and money goes to the most electorally-sensitive areas.
"It would be unfair to say that Paris ignores its immigrant community but as in the rest of Western Europe, their welfare is not as politically sensitive as education, hospitals and crime. From time to time riots erupt in the suburbs and it is these, rather than their day-to-day lives, which inform public opinion.