Wednesday, 10 August 2011

August Riots

Riots, looting, arson, protests. For the past 3 nights now, various parts of London have been attacked by gangs of rioters, looters and arsonists. There have been terrible scenes, dreadful stories and appalling news everywhere you look. Places such as Tottenham, Brixton, Hackney, Ealing, Clapham Junction have been attacked by thoughtless, mindless thugs and criminals. Shops have been looted: large chain stores (H&M, JD Sports..) and small, innocent, independent shops damaged or destroyed. This mindless violence seems to have no cause - looters have been interviewed and explained they want to 'get the rich' and its the 'fault of the Conservatives'. Why this means they need to set light to a small florist, for instance, is beyond me. 

Tonight its Wednesday evening and I've just heard on the BBC news that there are (as there were last night) 16,000 police officers on the streets of London. Last night was relatively calm apparently.. although certainly in my area, shops were shut and locked up by 6:30pm - even the Salisbury's Local was shut up. The high street was like a ghost town, eerily awaiting its doom. Thankfully, nothing happened in that particular area of London. But does it take 16,000 police officers to achieve peace? Apparently so.

Some good things have surfaced from all this - the various clean up operations where Londoners have joined force to clean up the affected areas the next morning have shown the solidarity of real Londoners for one; but the whole thing has just been dreadful, shocking, appalling, sickening. 

I've been reading the various news reports and opinions quite a lot and I found a couple of interesting pieces, which begin to question how this has happened, why this has happened. Here are a couple:

The insightful Camilla Batmanghelidjh, founder of Kinds Company:

An excellent blog, raising interesting points (I hope the blogger doesn't mind me mentioning it here, but it is an excellent piece):

And another insightful piece:

I'm going to continue reading from various sources and try to begin to grasp the full extent of the situation: what does this all mean for London, for society, for our future? What is really happening here?