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The tragic deaths of three Russian nationals (reported as Kosovan by the Guardian, which does however, get some other details about the schedule for demolishing Red Road entirely wrong) at the Red Road Flats stunned Glasgow and made international headlines. As far as we know, the Serykh family, refugees who had arrived here from Canada, met the news they were to be deported by tying themselves together and throwing themselves off the veranda of their tower block. They were found at the bottom of the block early in the morning.
I had held back from commenting on the incident straightaway, for the sake of general decency, and because the exact picture was so unclear. But a blog documenting so-called socially engaged art cannot ignore what such incidents suggest to us.
Questions remain about the official narrative that explains the incident - a suicide pact in which all three people can be induced to jump simultaneously seems implausible, and going round the rumour mill are suggestions it may have been a murder. But I am also wary that these other counter-narratives – the involvement of the Russian mafia, or Kosovan gangsters (true or otherwise) play into ethnic stereotypes that distract from other, much more important questions over the predicament of asylum seekers in Glasgow.
Whatever the particulars of the Serykh case itself, the wider questions about how people who find themselves in situations similar to the Serykhs are treated remain, and have been covered fairly well in the local press. I certainly agree with the calls for a full inquiry.