August 10, 2011 1 Comment
And so I jump on the proverbial ‘bandwagon’.
My ACS Presidential predecessor of years gone by (2006-7 I think Alfred? – check his blog post on it all) told me the other day I should blog about the riots/looting/hooliganry currently engulfing the streets of England’s grey and pleasant land. I thought I’d not. But after having just returned from attempting to clean up the streets of Manchester after the thuggery moved northward, I decided to whip out my pen….keyboard!
Firstly I do not apologise for using the words: hooliganry and thuggery, for the behaviour we have witnessed over the past 4 days has been just that.
While I maintain that our country is in a sorry state, while I maintain that some young people are harassed by police, while I maintain that vital services for youth are cut and decimated; I maintain the following:
A political revolution looks like the millions who marched on Washington in 1963 to defend the civil rights of 15 million African-Americans.
It looks like the million who marched on London when we went to Iraq in 2003.
It looks like the thousands who peacefully (mostly) marched on London against the rise in tuition fees in 2010.
It looks like the thousands gathered in Tahrir square in 2011 demanding the resignation of former Egyptian president.
A political uprising/revolution/demonstration/insert other favourite word does not look like hooded gangs setting fire to Miss Selfridge in Manchester city centre with a few free clothes.
It does not look like the Bullring Shopping Centre in our 2nd city being mobbed
…and it certainly does not look like a 150 year old family business going up in flames in Croydon.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a middle class Tory with your “head in the clouds” (something similar to what I’ve heard said), a disenchanted youth who lives slightly above the bread line, or you’re an average student who is neither middle nor working class but in between. All ‘people of goodwill’, to use the phrase of Martin Luther King Jr. must see that this is pointless/mindless/ineffective foolishness!
What about the kids who want their EMA? What about the kids who hate the police?
Let’s get two things straight. This is not simply about young people (a few older folks are involved) and furthermore neither is it – irrespective of the rantings of the lunatics who assign themselves to the BNP/EDL or other senseless organisations – about race! To use the words of one Mancunian counsellor last night (9 August) ‘I’ve seen white youth, asian youth, black youth’.
At the end of the day it comes down to my personal opinion, based on the actions summed up when I analysed what I believe a true revolution/political statement to be; and it is that on the whole this is a case of people jumping on ‘hype’. Let’s be honest, most of what has occurred outside of London – outside of Tottenham for that matter – is simply a case of what one young yob said last night when he showed his face on Sky News and what some young girls in London said – an attack on the police, the so-called rich, a bit of fun and a chance to fill a vacuum of police presence!
I truly believe that most of this is ‘hype’. Equally we ought not to dismiss the concerns of many of the rioters and others r.e. cuts, but at the same time remembering that much of this is indeed mindless hooliganism, borne out of a nature that is so estranged from authority, government…and personal property!
We must look at ‘Why?’ We must do something about the deeper issue, the question is not, ‘Why don’t the government stop the cuts?’, the more prudent question is ‘Why do these people find pleasure in destroying homes and livelihoods?’
People are destroying their own communities. They are destroying homes - in any other time this would have a phrase attached to it - attempted murder.
The man with the grocery store, the man with the independent clothes shop, the lady who runs the off licences are not the rich!
It’s Mr. Smith, it’s Miss. Jones, the guy down the road who gives your mum a lift to work as he opens up his corner shop where he labours 7 days a week!
And so to conclude…
Yes the cuts are bad. Yes the removal of youth services removes access for young people. But let’s get used to it, the government are not going to do a U-turn and so it turns to us in society to engage, to start up what we can, help where we can, get engaged with young minds and be a society, a community – put the ‘Big Society’ into action!
And finally I speak to my fellow Christian brethren and to myself! What a witness we have been left with by Our Lord Jesus Christ until he returns. To love the poor, to feed the hungry, to love our neighbour as ourselves and to ‘do good to all men’ as the Apostle Paul said later on in the New Testament. Let us go forth with this mandate and share His love, His great good news and the great hope that there is in Him and him alone of knowing the one true God and serving Him in this life, in this country!