I’m sure many people were appalled at the recent riots that engulfed the UK by storm. It’s depressing to recall what really happened.
To Africans back home, the riots in the UK are a proof that people here also experience violence from the police. Many have in fact even lost their lost lives in police custody.
One can say that the riots were acts of criminal opportunism, and that the young people involved are incapable of using appropriate channels to express themselves.
Having been there and done all those acts of hooliganism myself, as a child soldier in the Liberian war, I can say that there is no reason at all for looting and destroying property as recently happened.
How is ransacking Currys, Tesco stores, Foot-locker, H&M, Jewellery stores, Supermarkets, setting the Tottenham branch of Carpetrights building in flames and all other businesses and homes going to redress the imbalance in society?
It’s easy to put the blame on the burglars and teenagers who simply wanted to make a point of their own. But looking at the root causes of the chaos, we can affirm that we’ve all been failed in one way or another by the police and, of course, by the government.
Unfortunately businesses were the real victims of the rioters, who were generally unemployed young people. These young people’s frustrations were further escalated by real anger of being left without a possibility of affording things that they previously could afford, such as having the luxury of going on holidays just like the prime minister and his colleagues were doing when their ‘roasting away’ in the sun was rudely interrupted by the vulnerable cry of the police for help.
I was surprised to learn that the London Mayor Boris Johnson refused to cut short his holiday despite rioting in the city. His stance was defended by Kit Malthouse, the deputy mayor for policing in London, who said a return would ‘kind of reward’ criminality. I guess the mayor thought the police could handle more than what they bargained for when they killed Mark Dungan.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the senior officials in charge of policing were also on holidays, which left the country with no senior political voice to help calm things down, at least.
I hope politicians have learnt a lesson from these riots. Perhaps, if they rethink public sector job cuts as well as drastic cuts in benefits, the young people won’t be so angry and explode at any slightest provocation.
And while rethinking the cuts, they should not forget to bring back free tuition as well. I’m sure the young people would love the government for that kind gesture. And I might as well just take a little holiday- break from my ‘Bean-Counting’ job prospect and go back to school to study a bit of ‘Political Science’. That would be so kind!
By Joseph Spencer
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