I have earlier written that London is a dream destination to me and many others in the world. Today the dream seems a nightmare at the sight of some areas in the city. From the day I moved to London, till recently, I have never seen any criminal activities around the city nor heard of it often. Before I moved here, I have read reports about the crime rate in England, but after moving here most of my friends assured that there were very least no. of incidents that happened as such. The City has always been monitored by CCTVs all around. Every activity on the street is seen and Police used the system very effectively to cease such activities.
The area of Tottenham was close to my previous stay and it all seemed very messy to me. Reasons could have been poverty or irresponsibility. This area had so many street mongers all the time. I wasn't surprised when the riots began in that area. Generally the very sight of the area will make one understand what you get from it. I wouldn't say all of the residents are so, but definitely the public areas seemed mayhem to a newcomer like me. When police shot a guy suspecting to have a weapon and a life threat, it was understood that the police had shown discrimination against the communities. Peaceful protest began condemning the shooting and as per some sources, the riots began when one of the police mishandled a teen trying to control the outburst. Twitter and Blackberry messenger had enormously helped the rioting mobs to connect and spread the violence in no time to other areas. It was reported that these mobs claimed that police have to learn a lesson and the rich need to suffer the consequences. Also reported that most of these rioters were drug and alcohol addicts and of course most of them in their teens and the bursting anger was due to the earlier police raids and arrests of the people from their community. When riots took place only in the Tottenham area, it was believed that all happened due to the outburst about the shooting. But when it spread like a wildfire to other areas, it seemed crazy chaos. Within in 3 days millions of pounds worth properties were damaged and shops were looted. After 1st day's looting the stolen items were sold for just 20-50 pounds when their original value would be around 1000s of pounds. This violence spread like craze amongst other bonkers who had no motive to carry on the violence except to share some hysteric fun. Some of the videos show these mobs happily looting, and sharing funny comments while the police watched helplessly.
I was actually surprised by the police taking least action against these looters. In some areas, normal citizens complained of police being spectators while the rioters looted away. A woman complained that she witnessed the looting and police who were few in number were literally nervous to face the huge mobs. The reasons of damage can also be redirected to the system failure because as soon the riots started spreading to the other areas, even a common man or a newcomer like me were also able to assess which areas would take over these acts. But police stated that it was unpredictable for 2 days. And when there were huge mobs protesting around, what will the small no.of police do to stop them with no rights to fire a plastic bullet or water cannons at least. The turmoil just increased manifold within hours but the action plans were not improved. Until yesterday, government was not able to put a stop to the riots. Arrest were made after the damage has all been done and several private cars, building were burnt totally. If the insurance doesn’t cover the riot damage, I guess the losses can take ages to be recovered.
Another missed common sense fact is that, these rioters who set warehouses on fire and looted shops did not understand that they are also cutting down the jobs. One Sony warehouse which was burnt had approximately 700 employees who might lose their livelihood until the warehouse resumes its operations. And what about the parents of these youngsters… what have they been doing while these teens were creating havoc in the city?
Now it all boils down to a racist slanging match. How pathetic? Regardless of our creed or colour we should be standing together for what is right and wrong. The man who was shot should have been brought to justice for what he had done not shot to death. But the fact he has been shot should not have led to these riots. We cannot bring racism in this battle, but have to understand, despite the race it is the few individuals who chose to be this way that caused the problem. With 2012 Olympics ahead, these riots are certainly a serious threat to the country’s image. Prayers for peace and harmony!!! Let this city be a dream destination as always!!!