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London unrest

August 9, 2011

Day 4 of the London (and UK) riots has seen all the shops in my area by Tulse Hill station closed by 3pm this afternoon. I was in the hairdresser when a passerby warned the owner to close early due to approaching trouble. She duly pulled down the shop shutters effectively locking us in the shop. Once my hair was finished I hurried out the back entrance to see bystanders by the rail station and a lot of traffic for that time of day. It was like everyone was on a mission to get out of the area and home as soon as possible.  Apparently, there had been trouble up at  West Norwood earlier but where the supposed approaching trouble was coming from I don’t know.

I stopped off in the newsagent to see some customers doing what like a small scale panic buy, as the Co-op had shut as well as the Tesco garage. Sainsbury’s in West Norwood was apparently still open but who was going up there to investigate? Once home I settled to check the news reports. Rumours were swirling on Twitter that Tulse Hill was next on the rioters’ agenda and for the next two hours a strong sense of unease filled me as I began to recall the disturbances from last night and scenes of youths looting Clapham Junction, Hackney, Croydon, Ealing and Peckham. The fires raging in each of these towns with police, residents and business owners watching helpless as the city’s youth went on the rampage.

Much has been said about the mindlessness of the behaviour of the kids (lets face it majority of them were) involved. But to echo Dave Hill wiriting on the Guardian website yesterday, I don’t mindless is the word to use because I think these kids and the many adults that were with them knew exactly what they were doing, and knew the consequences, and the message they were sending out. A casual look at the items being stolen, the shops targeted denoted a sense of entitlement as if to say that these are things that I have been denied and now is my chance (and right) to take them as I please.  Two girls interviewed in Croydon early this morning as they drank their stolen wine (I’m imagining Chardonnay or a cool rosé) summarised it as such: that they were letting the police and the rich (ie people with businesses) know that they could do what they wanted. With statements like that I honestly don’t know how to begin to respond. It is on one level immature and ignorant and on another demonstrating the level of lawlessness that is infecting our society.  A lawlessness which economic, political and social intervention alone cannot resolve. We need a spiritual intervention to counteract this  ‘me, myself, I’ culture that we operate in or else things can only get worse.  People on Twitter have been mocking the ‘prayforlondon’ hashtag but in all truthfully without God what else are you going to do?  The Bible  says in Proverbs that without the knowledge or fear of God, the people cast off all restraint, and that is what we are seeing on our streets today.

My heart and prayers go out to the family of Mark Duggan, who have not been able to grieve as they should be entitled to because unfortunately his death has been linked to the past days events, however tenuously. In the midst of all this drama, it’s easy to forget that someone’s father, son, partner, brother and friend lost their life and those that are left behind are waiting for answers and most importantly for justice.

From → Life, People

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