I missed my blog post on Monday because I was sick. Thankfully it looks like it was just a brief bug and I'm feeling a lot better now.
The break gave me some time to get up to speed on the riots and subsequent looting that started last weekend in London, and spread to Birmingham and Liverpool. What started out as a peaceful protest over the shooting of Mark Duggan, a Tottenham resident, has, it seems, been used as a flashpoint for unleashing blind rage and greed. The rioters can't even claim to have been protesting anything anymore. It's just greed and a desire for violence.
I'm aware that there are people who believe that this was an inevitable result of marginalisation of lower classes and unemployment, but the fact remains that some people have decided they have a right to cause violence, injury and destruction to people, places and businesses that have done nothing to them. I've watched videos of people left beaten on the street, only to be robbed by opportunistic passers-by. I've seen images of buildings burning to the ground. Businesses left in ruins. People fleeing their homes. Double-decker buses reduced to crumpled slag.
There are places in the world where people stand and fight for their freedom, for their rights as human beings. In the UK there have been people, en masse, violating the rights of their fellow human beings, all to watch a building burn or get a free television. These actions have no noble motivations. They have no worth or value. They are sickening and selfish.
I am, however, glad to see that there are still some people with a sense of decency; evidenced by volunteer groups rallying across social media to help authorities with clean-up efforts. Now that things seem to be calming down, I hope that the damage can be repaired, and that the cost isn't too great. It's heartening to see how decent people are pulling together to repair what's been done and protect their communities, showing that they won't stand for this kind of behaviour.
I hope that when the last fires have died, and the last bits of rubble have been cleared from the streets, the people of England can look to that solidarity as a sign of that they can achieve. There'll be all manner of blame thrown around in the coming months. I would rather see individuals held accountable for their own actions, myself, than lay all blame at the foot of the police or the government. Choices were made, and there will be consequences.
By the same token, rather than see marshal law or "quick fix" answers like curfews or the banning of hoodies, individuals should take responsibility to rebuild their communities, stronger than before, and to remember these lessons. For every window broken, every car torched, let there be people there with the strength to rebuild. And let that decency spread into everyday life.