In the last few weeks I've been trying to think of a subject/debate that would be worthy of a blog update and could not think up one until now. I actually actively refused to comment on my facebook status about the London riots until it ended and even then I sat back and read countless friend status updates about the whole thing and was shocked and sometimes appalled at what my own friends would say about it.

So here goes on my take of the London riots. Obviously everything put here is an opinion and I in no way endorse the violence or behaviour of the rioters.

I, like everyone else was glued to the T.V over the last few days watching the drama on T.V unfold of mobs in various cities and towns over England rioting and looting their way across our peaceful, tea drinking island. I actually happened to be at home last Saturday evening and watched the start of it while many were out drinking and boozing. Come Mon, things had got much worse.
Tied in with the riots, supposedly, was the fact that Mark Duggan, a 29yr old from Tottenham (London) was shot dead by armed police last Thurs. On the Sat, 300 people peacefully protested for justice for the Duggan family. I'm pretty sure after this, things turned a bit crazy and the peaceful protest turned into a mob, then buildings were set alight and then somewhere out of that the looting started.
Here is my first opinion on the whole thing...the riot was in no way motivated by religion, budget cuts, police oppression, race or ANYTHING to do with being beaten as a child (yes that was a hot topic in the media). After the peaceful protest, images of looting were on T.V everywhere (yes the media did not play a fantastic part in it all) and suddenly every young person with no respect for the law or themselves were breaking into countless stores to steal whatever they could. The Riot, in my opinion, was pure and simple greed.
A colleague of mine was telling me today how a 16yr old girl who can only be described as a 'chav' was saying to the camera that the riots were "bout respectz" (about respect- I’m sure you got that bit) and that it was to do with "da rich pplz holdins us down" (the rich people holding us down - you might not have got that bit). Me and my colleague found this a little humorous given that the girl couldn't even speak proper English and that looting stores and making our country look an even bigger joke than it already is would not make people rich and poor "respectz" her or any looters.

There was another story that surfaced which actually made me very sad and also really painted a clear picture of England and that was the story of Haroon Jahan, 21, Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31 who all died while defending a shop in Birmingham against the looters. They were hit by a car and died. I know there were small pockets of people defending their communities but here were three young Muslim lads defending their shop against the looters and were killed because of it. I think it goes to show that the Muslim community had more idea about respect, honour and community spirit than most. That isn't to say everyone else who didn't defend their shop is a coward but that these guys died defending against a mob motivated by greed and pointless cowardice. Even more amazing was that Mr Haroon; Jahan's father Tariq Jahan went on national television to ask the rioters to stop.

I believe that the youth culture of today is both weak, leaderless and that we have embraced not only a nanny state in England but that laws, welfare, education and parenting have let the youth down. It seemed perfectly acceptable to the rioters to smash shops, break in and then casually walk down the street with a T.V too big to carry. Afterwards, some of the shops were torched. I see these kinds of people going to the job centre everyday for their welfare and then spending it on drink, cigs and anything but what welfare is for. Who can blame them? Government and society as a whole seems to have accepted this. In fact, I almost applaude them. If people have a way of dodging the system or exploiting its loop holes, who can blame them? In fact, if someone said "here take this flat screen T.V, you'll get away with it," I'd wager more would take the opportunity than wouldn't. Greed always outweighs logic and this was clear and simple with the riots. No actual reason or message the rioters had other than being motivated with what they could get away with.

I also think the media saying that lax parenting is a cause for the rioting is a point to be made but in no way endorses or explains them. There was a debate in the media that not slapping your child about was a reason these people have no respect. That is bull. My mother used to slap me and my brother around harder than she should have when we were kids. She never used that anger on my sister and I do not see my sister out looting. Also, me being beaten as a child had no knock on effect with raising my son. I've never raised a hand to him. People make their own choices between good and bad. I don't think parenting comes into it in once you are responsible for your own actions. Lack of parenting might be a factor, it is not an excuse. It doesn't make me a better or worse person because I got slapped about as a child.
University students combined with an aspiring dancer and an accountant were in jail alongside the chavs who tore up the cities. It comes down to personal choice when deciding if it is right or wrong to steal out of a shop. Sadly, most of these people have not learnt that and probably never will whether parenting was there or not.

Lastly, and this kind of shocks me but I’m getting used to it, is peoples reactions on facebook to the riots. We are all entitled to our own opinions, this blog is mine in response to the news BUT over the last few days I have seen things ranging from "shoot the bastards," to "Send them to Afghanistan," to even more astonishingly "bring back the death penalty." I know in times like these people get angry and write stuff that is just a bit over the top but I’m sure the police shooting 1000 people for looting would probably put the fear of God in the whole nation and that the country would be placed in absolute anarchy if that happened. I believe in education and finding a solution to the disaffected youth of today not simply 'shooting' everyone! I think what surprises me more is that people were so shocked at what happened. This is England after all. I think our values went out the window years ago. I seem to see more and older people beaten up in the media, people murdered because of race or colour and people still believing our 'civilized' country is still a good one.

I think people would do well to look at the values of Mr Tariq Jahan, his son (rest in peace) and the Muslim community for what it means to be British and to install some of them values that all of us as a nation seem to have lost.

My thoughts go out to the Jahan, Ali and Musavir families.

8/11/2011 11:44:17 am


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