The riots are over – for now

Jessica Ann Chapman (Wales, UWCiM 2010-12)

The British riots are over and the media attention has turned to other matters but these violent actions have awoken a deep rooted indignation in many areas of Britain, that have been ignorantly over looked. The media has called the riots “mindless acts of criminality”, blaming the youths of today; claiming the violence as simply something done out of boredom, that the murder of Mark Duggan is just an excuse for these ‘attacks’. But for those who know, this is not an act done for attention nor is it done in protest for the death of one man, it is the sheer anger that has built up through years of entrapment.

British council estates are often surrounded by affluent areas, with what the media tells us we should have. Every advertisement on the television tells us what new product we need to fit in and be part of the crowd but for many of the protesters these items are out of their reach, or at least by legal means. This forced mindset of materialism has an influence especially on the young generation. Imagine sitting in a class where everyone has the latest Nike trainers, something so far out of your reach, and being outcast for the simple fact that you haven’t got the money to spare or that you wear clothes from a charity shop rather than from a designer store. It is clear that the class divide in Britain is growing; these riots highlight that, the upper middle class call for benefits to be cut to rioters that were caught. What good can it do? These people are trapped in their helplessness, generation after generation remains unemployed and each year things get harder and harder. Rioters acts should not be condoled but the root of these actions should be addressed, something that the affluent conservatives fail to observe.

Even David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, was in favour of evictions following the riots, a man who has never even experienced what life is like on minimum wage let alone on benefits, even looking down with contempt on those that do. The media has incited fear in the public leading to irrational consequences being called for. Water cannons and rubber bullets were called for as a widespread rioting country was feared even talk of calling in the army, actions thought of usuallly in times of crisis. But everyone seemed to fail to realise that these are oppresive reactions of what effectively lasted a few days with minor damage done. This kind of punishment has a name in interntational law known as ‘collective punishment’ and is nothing short of radical. The reaction of the public and of the media is dehumanising. The riots are just the start of an ongoing repulsion of the system. Yet we still don’t look at the motive, the reason, as such as more rioting is inevitable.

– United Words –


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