Some thoughts on the Riots

I don’t know that I can say anything that hasn’t already been said about the recent riots. I’d recommend you all go over to my friend Matt’s blog though, because he’s thought it through more than I have and always has something interesting to say.

I’ve discussed the riots with a lot of people, and a few things have occurred to me. Not really reasons for it or anything, y’know, constructive, but just some passing thoughts.

Power

The kids who originally started this riot didn’t have any power. They were raised in a society that told them that they both could and should have it all, and that they could and should be famous and the centre of attention. That same society then ignored their basic needs and voices. They were told to go get it all but never told how to get it all.  One kid was asked by a journalist, “What are you gaining from this?” They replied, “You’re talking to me, aren’t you?” As a friend pointed out, that’s perhaps a more politicised response than you’d get from many of them, but I think that has something to do with all of them. They all want to be heard. To be seen. To be noticed. This quote was taken from the excellent Penny Red’s blog– “Two months ago we marched to Scotland Yard, more than 2,000 of us, all blacks, and it was peaceful and calm and you know what? Not a word in the press. Last night a bit of rioting and looting and look around you.”

Greed

Then we get the people who didn’t start it originally, but just wanted a free iPad. Greed. Nothing more, nothing  less. Let’s not dress it up with political dissatisfaction over public sector cuts, or disenfranchisement. What started as community tensions boiling over in a horrible flashpoint evolved into recreational greed. You’ll always find parasites near a wound.

Nothing in Scotland

The BBC were referring to the riots as the “UK Riots” yesterday. Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, pointed out that there had been no riots in Scotland, Wales or Ireland. The BBC are now referring to the riots and the England Riots. A fair point made by Salmond, although Scotland is not without its opportunistic and its thugs. What’s been bothering me though is the smug satisfaction many people are taking in laughing at England’s misfortune. Yes, Scotland hasn’t had a riot. Yet. We may not have one at all. Doesn’t give us the right to point and laugh. My friend and I today were discussing the idea that maybe the reason Scotland hasn’t had a riot is because of, well, our problem with sectarianism. While the neolithic morons who take part in non-sensical Old Firm violence and Catholic/Protestant sectarian violence in Scotland are entirely too stupid to know what they’re actually talking about half the time, there’s no denying they feel connected with something, a part of something. When they let their poison out, they at least feel like it’s going towards a cause. I am in no way condoning this, by the way. Just pointing out what a feeling of community and purpose might be achieving in this one, warped way. In addition to that, the tension and frustration built up in these people might be getting a slow release all year round due to their stupid rivalries, averting a catastrophic blow-out like we’ve seen in London. We may not get one big riot, but we get a thousand acts of violence every year. It’s just spread out more. Not sure, just a thought.

The riots appear to have calmed down. I hope so. I hope the worst of it is over and we can start looking at how to avoid the next one. I hope lessons have been learned and I hope people have been motivated into action. Most of all, I hope that this is the last time I need to write about riots in my blog.

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One response to “Some thoughts on the Riots

  1. Good post; interesting thoughts on sectarianism. There’s certainly more of that in Scotland and Ireland than in England, and maybe it does act as a release. THESE riots may have been English rather than UK, but I’d imagine the underlying root causes – whatever they are – will be present throughout Britain.

    Then again, I genuinely think there was an element of mass hysteria in the whole thing, with some sort of social contagion spreading through social networks (IT and otherwise). We might never know what happened because a lot of it was temporary insanity that weirdly just STOPPED. That’s not making excuses, because there are definite issues that need addressing, but let’s face it, the whole thing was just weird…

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