Part’s of London and across the UK are burning and the threat of rioting continuing has not let up. But there are two aspects to all of this and only one part is the rioting.
Mark Duggan was shot dead by police in circumstances that are still unknown, but it is now believed he did not fire a shot himself. What are now nationwide riots started as a protest outside the police station in Tottenham near to where Duggan had been killed. “Mark’s parents and family went to stand outside Tottenham Police Station,” Frank Crowe friend of Duggan says. “It seemed to be a major cover-up.” “It started off with just the peaceful protest,” he says. Frank says he can’t really explain how the peaceful protest turned into days of violence.
So what seemingly started out as a protest against a police shooting has denegrated into full scale rioting and criminal behaviour. And with it any chance of a non political examination of the shooting death of a man by police is gone and the socio-economic reasons that sparked it too are largely to be set aside in what will become an issue of law and order. Criminals are not revolutionaries, they don’t prove a point by their actions and Mandela in an Adidas Hoodie they are not! But as those who would seek to find the truth in amongst the chaos we must not simply see this as a riot, it isn’t! Riots don’t start for no reason at all, they require a level of anger amongst a large group of people. They require that said group of people feel so removed from society that they are literally willing to burn it to the ground and that they feel, rightly or wrongly, that where they direct their anger is the appropriate target.
There can be no doubt that certain minorities have faced undeserved scurtiny by the police in areas of London. This is not anything new and riots of previous decades in the same areas are testament to this. But what rioters fail to recognise, that protesters do, is that causing destruction and behaving criminally will win you zero supporters and set you back in any cause you might have. The aftermath of all this will not be as much about disadvantage and the underclass but about law and order. Never again will come the cry, zero tolerance, tough sentences and fight back will all be the buzz phrases as London cleans up. But if some of the roots causes are not addressed then another riot, as in the past, is only a matter of time.
By all means those who act in a criminal manner must face the full force of the law. In fact sometimes heavier sentences are warranted given the fear, anxiety and financial loss that the English community has suffered as a result of a few. But there are always lessons to be learned and they aren’t about how to crack down on criminals. They are about building a society and a community that is inclusive, that provides an opportunity for all and that addresses the underlining issues before they reach a point where a percentage of that society turns on itself.
There are those who say there isn’t racial profiling or a gap between the rich and the poor. But this footage that has gone around the world shows exactly that and it is deeply ingrained, even on the BBC.
Why are the young people of the Western world seemingly so apathetic to the issues of our world and why aren’t we marching in the streets? The answer my friend’s is not blowing in the wind, but it is in the music!
- 1963 “Blowin’ in the Wind” – Bob Dylan
- 1968 “Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud” – James Brown
- 1969 “Give Peace a Chance” – John Lennon
- 1971 “What’s Going On” – Marvin Gaye
- 1973 “Get Up Stand Up” – Bob Marley
- 1977 “God Save the Queen” – Sex Pistols
- 1989 “Fight the Power” – Public Enemy
- 1992 “Killing in the Name” – Rage Against the Machine
As Generation X and Y we often look back at our baby boomer generation and scoff, if only they had of known what we know. “Oh mum, if only you knew what I know about the Afghanistan you would think very differently!” We whatever we think of our parents views, we cannot deny that in their day they fought for them much more than we do. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Gandhi, Mandela, Charles Perkins, Mother Teresa and Che. In the music of Dylan and James Brown, with John Lennon and Yoko in bed to the truth of Bob Marley and Sam Cook you simply could not escape the progressive movement in art and activism. And while it is not dead and there certainly are those working for change, you couldn’t get a million man march today unless you count people gathering on facebook or twitter as statistics.
Are we the post 9/11 generation, in fear of being unpatriotic even where we believe change is required?
Bill Maher – Kidiots’ Leave the children behind. At least until they learn something. A new study has shown that half of American high schools agree that newspapers should only be able to publish government-approved material. Almost one out of five said people should not be allowed to voice unpopular opinions..This is the first generation after September 11th, who discovered news during a ‘watch what you say’ administration…George W. Bush once asked, ‘is our children learning.’ No, they isn’t. A better question would be, ‘is our teacher’s teaching?
I’m not going to take the easy route and bag Justin Bieber, he is a product of an industry that is about making money not interested in the art. I’m not going to take a shot at aspiring song writers and performers who feel they have to shape themselves in this way to get success and be heard. But this is largely a result of music that offends nobody and inspires just as few. It doesn’t say anything about us other than we will except whatever is fed to us. The responsibility lies with the two groups that really drive this. The music industry and head honcho’s of music studios who have long since sold out and are more Wall Street than MoTown. And as consumers we have to take a great deal of responsibility too. Bad music might be shoved down our throat at every turn, hollow lyrics are on every radio station, but we consume them. We have made the decision, perhaps a subconcious one, to tune out of the truth and only take in the bubble gum pop.
Make no mistake, real artists are out there. They are writing and performing, recording and inspiring. But they wont get the air play they deserve until we demand it, until we buy it and until we begin to show an appetite for music with meaning over songs only played to sell stocks!