4:14pm Friday 12th August 2011
By Mohamed-Zain Dada
'A riot is the language of the unheard.' Martin Luther King provides timeless analysis because there is no justification for the actions of the rioters but there are reasons. Justification and reasoning are two seperate things altogether. You can condemn the violence and realise that the moral impunity of bankers in suits is not so different from kids in hoodies.
My own experiences of the riots was a random car on fire on my road and my uncles shop in Ilford, East London being targetted by young people. Going through Wood Green with my cousin on the way to night prayers at the mosque we'd see 30 young people wearing balacalavas walking.
My experiences were limited to first hand accounts from friends who told me of the burning bus and widespread looting on Tottenham High Road. One thing which did emerge is the public's perception of the police, who went from villains after killing Duggan in Tottenham to being clapped in Clapham Common on their arrival. Funny how 3 days of lawlessness can turn the MET Police into heroes.
If they weren't made to look so incompetent, some might suggest it was a brilliant PR strategy. Closet racists also chose to use the riots as an opportune moment to reveal themselves. I saw a YouTube clip of young black boys on a bus being pelted by English Defence League thugs in Enfield. These kind of images were fit for the late 1980s and not the 21st century.
The real English defence league were the Turkish men protecting shops in Dalston. As well as the Sikhs protecting mosques in Southall whilst the Muslims were doing their night prayers.
At the moment, the narrative in our toxic discourse was the unruly, greedy youth of the United Kingdom. But our role models in society are greedy politicians and bankers who unlike some impoverished young people had privileged educations.
History is cyclical, it repeats itself and if we simply condemn and punish without understanding and solving the reasons behind the riots we are in for troublesome future.
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