Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Musings of a Londoner about the recent riots

I love London, loved it the very first time I was here 1996 and I feel a strong connection to my new home since I move here almost five years ago. It's vibrant, it's exciting, it has lots to offer and it's a beautiful city with great architechture. I've felt safe at any given time, by day and night. Even when I was on a bus after work, in the middle of the night, witnissing a robbery. The gang of kids have stopped the bus, opened the back doors, grabbed a person's bag and ran off. It all happened within seconds and left me speechless. I wonder if their parents knew what their 12-year-old kids are doing at 4am in the streets of London. I also wonder why they didn't do anything about it if they knew. I see all sorts of things that bother me; the youths doesn't know what respect is - not all of them, of course. Recently, a young young held the door open for me, I was so perplexed I had to say how much I appreciate this polite behaviour, because you don't get this often.

Londoners are shaken by the riots, the other day I was on the market in a nearby affected area and people who don't know each other part with the words, "Stay safe, luv." One can cut the tension with a knife, shop-owners are in front of their properties to react quickly, people seem to be look around much more. London's relaxed atmosphere has changed for the time being, at least in those areas. I personally have difficulties to sleep since I live above a shop and you never know when and where it could kick off again. Now I'm not usually an easy unsettled person, but I had a bag with my passport, memory sticks, bank card and a bag for the iguana at the ready. My heart rate goes up every time when black heavy armed police vans race past my house and I worry about those who are hit this time. It's not only the shop owners with often their live's work at stake, it's also the families who live in that area, who have to evacuate their homes, not knowing if they will return to an intact flat or if it's going to burn down.
The picutes and videos of the riots shocked me, how can a person stoop so low to steal from a heavy bleeding boy who's very obviously scared to death when they approach him? And this guy walks off as if he's just won a match with a heavy weight, I don't think there's any chance to get this guy back on track. He's a lost cause.

I'm also fed up with excuses like: these kids are poor and don't have anything. Well, they have a roof over their head, they have something to eat, to wear and hot and cold water coming from a tap. I would suggest they'd go and pay the really poor countries a visit where people starve on a daily basis, where people lack the basics and don't have a chance of an education. I blame bad parenting and nothing else. Those kids don't have respect for others or even for themselves. 
Last week, I had a conversation with a very young plumber, he might be nineteen and he told me he's left his parents' house at age thirteen and lived in social homes ever since, he said he's not into drugs or alcohol and he loves his job. He's a real gem and the proof that a bad background doesn't mean you need to go off the rails. It might be an explanation, but not an excuse and I hear it far too often.
Good education begins in your own home, kids need love and bounderies, blaming the system for their behaviour, I find, is not quite right. What I blame the system for is that those kids get away with anything they're doing, the ramifikations should be worse, plus I think those who have been charged should clean up their mess instead of the volunteers who do it for them.

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