Caros audiophiles, several Portuguese friends have contacted me this week to check that I am safe amid the street riots happening in London and now in other cities. Well, my little ghetto community so far is unharmed. The news pictures have been shocking, The media have exaggerated the problem, but the areas affected have no doubt been physically and emotionally battered and abused by a senseless ignorant minority. A minority in numbers, and it seems, minority in age involving children as young as eleven years.
I believe this situation will end very quickly. Not only because of a much larger police presence in the streets, not only because of the threat and determination by government to catch and to convict the crminals, but most importantly because of the loud condemnation expressed by all sides within these local multicultural communities.
Whatever the reasons for this unexpected rebellion - and it is interesting to note the power of social media technology such as Facebook and Twitter to incite and unite groups of people - the targets of this violence suggest that it is nothing to do with racism or anti-police hatred or the shooting by police of a drug dealer. Even if these reasons are a catalyst, what is the connection with destroying indiscriminately the homes and cars and shops of innocent people in their own communities? Yes, the police have been attacked but only because they were obliged to be there. But it seems that most people have been more interested in stealing TVs and computers and clothes and alcohol. This surely is opportunistic by a majority of people following the lead of a few instigators. Including many schoolchildren on summer holidays with nothing much to do and thinking it might be fun to join in.
The next few days and weeks should clarify how and why this happened. And of course there will be deeper questions asked. About education, about parents' guidance, about social responsibility and respect.
From an earlier era of great civil and social rebellion in the late 60s/early 70s, a song about how children and parents can learn from eavh other: