Monday, August 22, 2011

Hi! London is no longer burning

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So I’m sure you all heard about the four days of rioting in London where the world seemed to have gone a little mad, and 16,000 police were directed to the streets to contain a weird, mainly dysfunctional, under-organised populace from wanton acts of arson and violence and fairly direct acts of looting.

Other than being massively surreal, it didn’t really affect most of London in person. The media coverage was huge and the discourse and debate that it instigated was intense, interesting, mundane, and sometimes completely clueless, but on the whole it just seemed a real mess. The main thing that struck me (other than the fact that the rioters themselves didn’t know what they were rioting for) was how much finger pointing was going on, and how fast the blame game began. It was parent’s faults for not controlling kids, it was society’s fault for marketing/branding, it’s black culture, white culture, it’s people on the dole, it’s kids, it was the recession, it’s the government, it’s police, it’s about respect, money, power, boredom, control, it’s footballers’/celebrities/your mama’s fault. But it was EVERYONE. The judicial system is heaving with the number of people being sent to prison, but the figure show that there was not one certain group – black, white, rich, poor, employed, unemployed. The latest is it was London gangs. I don’t really feel like passing judgement because London doesn’t feel like anywhere else I’ve been in the world. Or maybe it feel’s like everywhere else I’ve been, all in one. The most affluent suburbs are bordered by council estates and desperate people. Employment isn’t exactly spirally upwards, and the government is cutting public spending ‘for the recession’ while a large portion of the population is still angry at last year’s MP spending fiasco, and the bank-bail outs.

I don’t think there was any excuse for the way people behaved. Over 170 police were injured, a few dozen civilians, and 5 people were killed. People lost their homes and livelihoods because a bunch of hooligans were bored.

I just need to point out that the picture of Beth was from our way home Monday night where we were trying to get a taxi, and driving through Camden I snapped some photos while we were waiting for the group of 14-20 year olds to be chased away by riot police. Beth went to the supermarket in Crouch End while I was at work the next day wearing a hoodie and got stopped by police! I guess people were really on edge.

I was never worried, but I could hear sirens all night and Tottenham is just round the corner. I meant to say something a while back but never quite got round to it! I actually wanted to do it after the second Athens’ post but I never managed to find my photos of all the police in Greece. Stay tuned for Venice (I promise) more Athens and Sweden when I get round to it! Long weekend coming up so maybe I’ll get some time :)

Revolt in peace and happiness!

Alex

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