Celebration is a distinctly upward affair. We raise our glasses, as we do our spirits, we lift our eyes to follow the upward trajectory of colourful fireworks. To exalt is to leap with joy.
This association seems to have escaped those in charge of the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, who have decided to include in the celebrations the “spectacular” demolition of the Red Road flats.
In effect, a number of bombs will destroy five high-rise dwellings.
The historical/social/political/aesthetic context of these buildings, in this instance, is immaterial. Around the world millions live in comparable dwellings and thousands have lived in these. They have been homes, places of lives and memories.
The crashing to the ground of redundant housing, no matter how high, is a melancholy sight and, in today’s troubled world, such “spectacle” is likely to evoke thoughts of disasters, both natural and man-made – war-torn cites, earthquakes and 9/11.
What perverse thinking can make an act of destruction an appropriate curtain-raiser to the Games?
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