Disbelief and Fear in London
It’s almost impossible not to write about the riots that have been going on in London and the rest of the UK during the last 4 days and nights. The only connection I can make with sleep and the riots is that it makes me tired. Tired of the destruction and tired of the violence. Tired of a system that cannot cope with poverty and its ramifications ( eg. 47% of all children living in Islington live in poverty), and simultaneously it’s a system that upholds the wealth of a few. I also get tired when I watch TV and see Teresa May saying that the people on the streets rioting are criminals, thieves, thugs, troublemakers etc. The young black man (who did not participate in the riots but is being screamed at as if he was by T. May) replied: I am not disagreeing with you but they are also part of our society. He has already thought a step further..something which seems an impossibility for the politicians. Their thinking is very square and only seems to work in a linear fashion event 1 equals 1 issue to deal with. It’s a bit more complex than that if you are at all interested in finding a solution.
I also get tired when I visit my local cornershop and hear that three shops on my road have had their shop fronts smashed. Then again, it could have been much worse but I have a feeling that my neighbourhood is not bling enough for these criminal opportunists. I listen but I get tired when my local cornershop’s sales man vents his anger: This country is corrupt, London is corrupt! It’s the way parents raise their children! I sigh and give a half-hearted attempt at responding something about how the government let a lot of problems slide in between their fingers but I am thinking it’s just on the surface…the real issues behind the riots as far as I can gather is a feeling of despondence. A feeling that you as an individual don’t matter. You are not part of society. What’s the point of going to school? When you graduate you can’t afford the college/university fees to study further because you don’t have the money (9k a year just in tuition fees). What’s the point of learning a trade when there are no jobs? What’s the point of doing anything? when your parents are unemployed and do nothing themselves? They might not be able to read and write (ESOL cuts) but hey they have managed. Perhaps they have 4 jobs they commute to all over London just to be able to pay the rent which means you never see them and so you practically have to raise yourself (and your brothers and sisters). Perhaps your parents have an addiction to drugs or alcohol or a disability which means you have to be the main carer of the family. If your family circumstances are anything like these and you have no extended family to help, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of socialising with the wrong crowds which eventually could lead to drugs and crime. Then again, there is no excuse for violence and there is no excuse for committing a crime.
What I don’t understand is the looting and breaking into shop and stealing eg. 10 pairs of shoes. What are you going to do with 10 pairs of shoes? well, there is always someone who will buy them I guess. Still, stealing like that or stealing in general presumes that you think that somehow you have a right to steal the shoes. Are you stealing for the financial profit? if so, you must be very stupid unless you have 10 Jimmy Choos and already have a buyer. Are you stealing for the thrill of it? Go LA (Looters Anonymous). Are you stealing to test boundaries? No, 10 pairs are too many to be testing what you can get away with…so is it the fault of the parents? Do they actively/passively condone thieving? Or are they just absent? An absent parent can’t raise a child.
800 people have been arrested and the youngest is an 11 year old girl in Nottingham. 800 is a huge number – I wonder if the courts have revolving doors? Make them all pay for the destruction in fines so that the taxpayers won’t have to, they will have a hard time after the Olympics anyway. The photo I have chosen for today (above) is taken in Soho this year. It’s has an uneasy feel about it, almost like a horror film. A feeling of disbelief and fear, I think many Londoner felt earlier this week.
More: BBC News – David Cameron to further outline Riot Plans, BBC News – England Riots -Timeline, The Guardian: There is a context to the London Riots that can’t be ignored, Truly extraordinary speech by Fearless West Indian woman in the face of the Hackney Rioters, Google map of the Spreading Riots in London,