I’ve had this post in mind for a few days now but I haven’t had the words to describe how I feel.. I as a Londoner have lived and have loved this city for years..But as I watched Sky News and the BBC and any other news channel for that fact I was ashamed of being a Londoner. The pictures I saw of livelihoods burned to the ground and shops being looted, the pictures of people’s houses being damaged and the vile, unremorseful behaviour of these people filled me with anger. As the riots spread across the country it was clear copycats would make sure things didn’t end easy. I perosnally couldn’t believe these people would be our future generation, the attitude I saw on the streets was unacceptable and unexplainable.
I say unexplainable because some of these rioters were undergraduates, some had jobs even a primary school worker was amongst the rioters. I say unexplainable because I couldn’t understand what had made these people feel so out of touch with their communities. What had made them have no pride or respect for their neighbourhoods? As I saw everyone competing on how to punish them and how the army should be brought in to contain them and although I was filled with anger because people’s lives were destroyed – Questions niggled at me and remained unanswered.
Some people would argue this was bound to happen in Britain because of the cuts, because of the inflation and so on. Maybe it’s just me but I fail to understand how someone stealing a 42inch TV is going to help in anyway. I fail to understand how burning someone’s shop will help. I fail to understand these rioters’ violence and lack of respect.
As I followed the Arab spring and as I remembered the Egyptians who cleaned up their streets – young & old..I remembered how even half way across the world I could feel their sense of pride for their country. As I watched Yemenis sit-ins and I saw anyone who entered the square searched for weapons because they refused for anyone to resort to violence – I felt the respect for their country. As I saw Bahrainis give flowers to soldiers who were shooting and killing them, and I saw them treat some of the wounded in their own homes – I felt their sense of unity. As I saw Libyans failing to give up I felt the hunger for a better future. As I saw Syrians brutally oppressed yet peacefully resisting I felt the determination. As I saw Britain loot and destroy their own country – I just saw thugs. Now some might say why do I support others abroad and not in the UK.. To put it simply others abroad have a cause and have fought and are fighting regimes peacefully. To put it simply I know regardless of race, religion or sexuality in the UK anyone can go and protest without the fear of being shot or beaten. These rioters took advantage of the opportunity and caused havoc, they weren’t politically motivated – they were just opportunists.
My unanswered questions still remain unanswered. This country that I have spent most of my life in has members that are detached and who obviously have no sense of responsibility. We as part of this country – communities and governments alike need to address this so as to fix what we can. We all have a duty as citizens to make sure we have a future generation which has a sense of pride, determination and respect for where they live and the people. Lets deal with these criminals and then lets try and integrate our society more because something is seriously wrong in England. Prevention is always better than cure.
My condolences to the families who have lost loved ones due to these riots.