woensdag 10 augustus 2011

Are the riots and looting in London anything new?

                                           Tottenham riots 2011

Everybody agrees on the fact that the death of Mark Duggan ignited the riots and looting that are taking place in London, Manchester and Birmingham. The man got shot.  First the people are told that the police were firing back when he opened fire and so he got hit.  Later the story changed into he was armed and considered dangerous.
There are two stories about what he was.  His family and friends tell  that he was a true family man, not really innocent but certainly no criminal. The police keep to the story that he was an important gang leader and a crack dealer. I fear we will have to wait a long time before the truth comes out about his life and death.

                                           Mark Duggan

It does show again that the police are not  great communicators.  There have been incidents before and the people don't forget. There was the death of newspaper salesman Ian Tomlinson in 2009 who happened to be in the neighbourhood when there were demonstrations.  He had nothing to do with these,  got hit anyway and died because of it.  Stories the police told were untrue,  there was plenty of filmed material to prove it.  Last year the lawyer Mark Saunders was killed after being surrounded by 59 policemen for hours.
And there was the case a few years ago of the Brasilian Jean-Charles de Menezes who got shot seven times in the head because the police thought he was an islamic terrorist.

                                           Death of Ian Tomlinson

Furthermore the police lost a great deal of respect because of the close connection between the top of the police and the tabloids of Rupert Murdoch. The disappearance of The News of the World will not change this  for the public.

                                             Margaret Thatcher

When we go back in time we see the riots of Brixton in 1981. These were the days of Margaret Thatcher and  her economics. The poor saw that they were getting poorer and the rich were getting richer. There was a lot of dissatisfaction and it caused the uprising of mostly black poor people. This was caused even more because of the police being close to being racists. Thatcher was not a person for showing mercy:  the miners and the Argentinian army (Falklands War) have witnessed this.

                                           David Cameron and George Osborn

David Cameron has a different approach. He wants everybody to share in his Big Society. Till now not everybody sees that there is an equal sharing.  According to Cameron the youngsters in the gangs just need more love.  Till now there have been more words than action, we still wait for the first signs of "Hug a Hoodie".

                                           The Gordon riots by painter Seymour Lucas

Some newspapers claim that there is an organisation behind the riots. The looters are in contact with each other by mobile phone and blackberry. There is no proof of this. I doubt if they need these.
There have been riots and looting since there are people on this world.
The largest riot in history in London happened in 1780: the Gordon riots in which almost 300 people got shot by the police.

                                           Crowning riots in Amsterdam in 1980

And of course it's also not a real British thing, think about the riots in Paris and several other cities in 1968.
And of the riots in the banlieus in France in 2005. Even the Netherlands had their own, for instance the Crowning riots in 1980. The use slogan of the rioters: "Geen woning, geen kroning". No house for us, no crown for you (Beatrix of Orange).

                                                    Eel pulling

                                                           Eel uprising in Amsterdam in 1886

A legendary riot is the Eel uprising in 1886. A policeman hindered a game of eel pulling. The eel pulling game was officially forbidden because it was a bit cruel. A living eel was bound on a rope that was hung over a canal. Little boats would go under it and try to get it off with risking to fall into the water.
The bystanders became angry with the policeman and he got a severe beating. Other policemen came to arrest the people responsible. Things got out of hand, a big riot resulted and 25 people got killed by the police.
According to historians it really was caused by a big gap in wealth between rich and poor. Not having a mobile phone or a blackberry did not stop the rioters.
Nothing new is happening in England.

4 opmerkingen:

  1. Marie Cooper

    I like the fact that he mentions the Gorden Riots. It's so true, there have been many riots in our history. And they instigated change and made our society what it is today. From making the streets safer, working conditions better and giving people back some of their rights. I just hope that all the knee jerk reations calm down and people start using reason, using their brains to find solutions rather than throwing obsene insults and threats at the rioters (making them no better than them in my own opinion). Instead of threatening to take home, benefits and liberty from the rioters (and therefore affecting their families also) maybe society should ask some questions, focus on why this has happened, find solutions and heal the wounds rather than go for full on punishment, crushing any remaining hope these people have. If they felt secure and felt they had any place in society they would feel less inclined to want to smash it to pieces.

  2. I think your point about the riots being nothing new is a valid point to make, aswell as the fact riots existed long before technologies like Blackberry and Social Networking. What is sad about the whole rioting thing is that people have lost sight of why it is they are rioting. I saw one woman, surrounded by her children telling a shopkeeper whose premises had been trashed and looted, that there's nothing for her kids to do and they have every right to join in with the looting. She had no idea of the shooting victims name, all she knew was the fact someone had been shot. She was basically saying this man's shooting was an excuse to project vandalism and theft. The rioters are claiming they are 'taking what they are owed' How this brings the shot man any justice, I dont know. People are outraged by the riots purely because they are pointless. So while they are nothing new, they are a big disappointment to our society in the fact that the looting, trespassing, breaking and entering into peoples home whilst they sleep, setting buildings alight whether occupied or not, plunging us further into recession, destroying people's livliehoods and smashing up cars is by no way a means of protest at Mark Duggan's death, but just greedy ruthless people flaunting the fact that our country has become too soft where the law and the punishment of criminals are concerned. Lots of these rioters have been identified as children, some as young as 7! As many of them are children, what exactly is they are owed?? And if you've chosen to live your life on state handouts when you are capable of getting a job, then you too are owed nothing. This just shows what this country has become. The government really does need to pull its finger out where taxes, pensions, benefit cheats, anti social behaviour etc are concerned, but these riots are just beyond a joke now.

  3. I think these riots mean a bit more. There is a lot of dissatisfaction in society. It's not good to just react with severe punishments. I saw and read the news on tv and newspapers: the first people who had to appear in front of a judge all had jobs. Did you read my last example of an ancient riot? Triggered by a forbidden game; probably people were gambling on this.

    Children just copy what the adults show them: is the solution of solving the unrest in society in giving an 11 year old girl a sentence like she was an adult?

    I can already predict that the rioters will get heavier sentences than the persons involved of the NOTW scandal. And then I don't even mention the bankers who scandalously have enriched themselves. They get away with it.

  4. I completely agree! I just think the rioters have lost sight in why they are doing this. The bankers got this country and the rest of the world into economic crisis yet continue to punish us by charging high fees and inflating interest rates. The government did nothing to help, instead choosing to raise taxes, cost of living etc, so I can understand why people are angry and feel like they are owed, believe me I have this battle going on right now in my own life, but whether these people have jobs or not, the extremity of their actions is totally unjustified. Unfortunately there is a section of society that do believe that they can behave how they want, flaunt the law, claim benefits they dont need and they still think the world owes them! I live on a very rough estate, my husband and I both have full time jobs, our children are doing extremely well in their education, but unfortunately we are stuck here because we cannot afford to rent privately or get a mortgage due to the ridiculous costs of housing. This doesnt make any of us want to pop to the nearest Curry's store and smash all their windows in! As for the 11 year old being punished, extreme as it may seem now, its all a little too late anyway, if the laws were tougher in the first place, this behaviour would be less common, but I do know a few kids whose parents could do with some behavioural classes for theirselves and their offspring! ;) Its a sad fact that after all this trouble and unrest, the bankers, MPs etc will most likely carry on as before and get away with the proverbial blue murder :(