Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Riots

The London sky was heavy with black smoke. The helicopter circulating above our little flat had interrupted my restless sleep. My sleepy, cautious head, poked itself out of our slash style window, to witness the dark, destructive, world outside.
It's been a month since the London riots, and still the frightening memories are etched in my mind.
The night which shocked London, Britain, and the rest of the world.
I watched the events unfold through the media, the newspapers and television, and from the (I feared, not so safe) environment of our east London home.
With sickening horror I watched youths, the children of our future, many covered in masks and hoodies, but also many loud and proud of the crimes they were committing. Laughing, looting, setting fire to homes and property. How did it all go so wrong?
Revenge, some people said, revenge and resentment for the authorities. And in their young not so innocent minds, the privileged residents of Britain, who had no idea what it was like to live on a council estate, with nothing to look forward to but debt, unemployment, and gang violence.
Through tears in my eyes I followed the story of the young boy from Malaysia. Far away from his family for the grand total of one week, assaulted and then mugged by the very same lad he thought was helping him. How could that lad stoop so low? I was ashamed of my country, deeply disturbed by teenagers who walked our streets.
Arrests were made, court appearances and jail custody reached a record high. Mothers were turning in their sons, a father who lost his own son pleaded on national television for this mindless nightmare to stop.
A Facebook page was set up to help the young Malaysian boy. Decent strangers donated money and posted kind words to aid his recovery, to restore his faith in human nature. Communities took to the street, cleaning and clearing their neighbourhood, bonding and reminding London, Britain, and the rest of the world, that we will not let the minorities win.
Where there is bad, there is also good.
Where there is hopelessness, we must remember there is always hope.
Where there are lives ruined, there are also harsh lessons to be learnt.
I pray I will never see such ghastly events occur again.
Broken Britain is slowly piecing itself back together.

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