Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Up in smoke and cinders...

I studied in London for two years and have always said that this city will forever hold a special place in my heart. So it is a personal sorrow for me to watch the news and see arson and looting occur in the name of "frustration" and the supposed "venting of anger" in this historic city;  and see very little control being established by the law enforcing agencies to put an end to these  riots. That the British police are racist is no big secret, and most certainly the death of a person from police firing would certainly have triggered a response of outrage and protest; but to run amok and destroy the property of innocent people, and steal with blatant disregard for what the consequences are for those whose livelihood depends on these businesses, is down right criminal.

Buildings are gutted and cars lie burnt in the streets of Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol  and  Nottingham, as hoodlums take advantage and use social networking sites to fuel the rampage-parade with a vengeance; and display an ugly opportunism that is horrifying. On a recent television debate on this subject,  a panelist from the UK jokingly made fun of the history of English thuggery and said it came as no surprise that such incidents occur since this is part of a cultural tradition since many centuries! I suppose British humour will be the only tide to ride in the wake of such a dark period in British history.

It is well established that the Asian communities in Britain are hard working and contribute significantly to the country's economic growth. This often causes deep resentments with the African-American community and those from the Caribbean. So the fear in such times is that such riots can turn communal.

Theories of these riots being pre-planned and a conspiracy are now doing the rounds. Whatever maybe the case I do believe quick and firm action needs to be taken by the prevailing British government, and order restored as the first priority; with the culprits booked for vandalism and rioting and stringent punishments meted out to act as a deterrent to copy-cat scenarios. If local goons can stir up such havoc and continue to inflict terror over cities over a sustained period of time, without the police being capable of quelling this delinquency, then one truly wonders what will be the fate of the people of Britain  if a terrorist attack of magnitude occurs.

My London holds memories of the smell of paint in my studio, visits to the museums, dinners in Soho, cursing the rain whilst dashing from one tube station to another (!), cycle rides over the bridges on summer days, and walks in Hyde Park with conversations that centered around art and dreams, all folded together; amongst many other things that youth and optimism nurtures.

That people have to guard their localities themselves against rioters is sad to hear. I hope that this mess ends quickly and that better sense prevails. I hear that people are coming out in London to clean up. After all to destroy what is yours must mean you have very little comprehension of who you truly are; so it is heartening to know that human courage has begun to triumph in England,  and peace and normalcy may soon be accomplished because  the will of the people  desire this to be part of their  existence.

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