Tag Archives: riots

Are We Still the Good Guys?

Man, I really love-hate this novel.

Four days without a post; that’s quite a feat. 😉 Anyway, I’m back with a little post about goodness. And the lack of it. But also the abundance.

September has almost drawn to a close, and it’s almost the end of a pretty depressing month. There have been riots across the world which have left many dead, in the midst of those riots Syria’s plight has been momentarily ignored, an avalanche killed climbers in Nepal, and in lesser news, the world paid attention to Paris Hilton. I hate opening newspapers sometimes, because some articles can almost leave you with your faith lost in humanity. Murder. Rape. Child abuse. Worst of all, the fact that these things are becoming so common as to be banal.

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Of Islam and Innocence.

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It all looks so…cheerful, doesn’t it?

Sam Bacile…really? Am I the only one who thinks the pseudonym was intended to sound like “Imbecile”?

There’s isn’t a lot that’s new to be said on this topic. Some bigots/freedom fighters/anti-Islamists/truth-spreaders (depending on your view) posted the 13-minute trailer of a film called the “Innocence of Muslims” which (whatever your view) ridiculed the Islamic prophet. In retaliation, some Muslims (and again, whatever your view, a fraction of the world’s population) have stormed embassies around the world, killing some and injuring others.

Some claim this as proof that Islam is a violent, destructive and medieval religion which will never change. That it is growing and seeks to usurp the West.

Some say that this was provocation, and the reaction to the film was one of culture rather one of religion. That most Muslims have ignored the film and gotten on with their lives, and the rioters are just violent idiots.

I like to think most of my readers can guess my opinion on this topic. It can be summed up in these pictures. I live in a town which has a relatively high Muslim population. Last year (or the one before?) a former resident blew himself up in Switzerland. An anti-Islam group which opposes Islamic extremists was set up here in the last couple of years. (I call them anti-Islam and not anti-extremist because, unfortunately, despite their original noble goal of opposing extremism, most members are skinheads who weren’t of the right social class to join the BNP and who only chant racial slurs at their rallies.)

Yet, the town is not a hive of terrorist activity, anti-Western vitriol or pro-Sharia law demonstrators. It is a town. We have a nice mall. Sometimes it’s sunny. Sometimes it rains. We have a street you might call “Asiantown,” or whatever. There is a degree of distrust between races and cultures. It is the same as anywhere else, and it is bred by the fear of strangers and feeds on the fear of the unknown. It is solvable. At school, there isn’t a reason to fear other students, and we get along fine.

There’s been no reaction to the film in this town. Of course it’s been heard of. But no-one cares. A friend made a Facebook comment: “I wish people would stop mistaking culture for religion.” That was it. Up in London, 150 protesters burnt an American flag. They should be arrested, but they won’t be because this is England. Mob mentalities drive the riots in the Middle-East. Many turned to looting straight after breaking into buildings. There isn’t even a reason, it’s just senseless violence. It reminds me almost exactly of last year’s London riots. Something’s been cooked up simply to provoke a reaction. And it’s a sad situation which has led to the unfortunate loss of life of innocent people. I can only hope that whoever is behind the film is caught quickly.

If you disagree with me (or if you’ve guessed the town I live in from all the massive hints) feel free to start a discussion below.

Not Last Summer’s Riot, Last Summer’s Rut.

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Immediately, you know what this blog post is about. Not because of the media uproar last year, but rather because of the insidious reporting methods the media is using to stir up feelings and emotions again this year. For, quite aside from the Olympic reporting which comprises 90% of the July/August news (at least in the UK), many national papers have written brief, nearly identical articles about the London riots of yesteryear.

YES. This is August, granted that perhaps mention should be given a year on, especially when the events destroyed (and took) so many lives. However, surveys on the possibility of another rioting epidemic are unnecessary. Attempting to go back to the ‘roots’ of the story are unnecessary. Another debate about whether the riots were a racial issue, whether they weren’t a racial issue, is unnecessary. Especially with all the sensationalist headlines thrown in. Because that is what this is all about: sensationalism, papers hot off the print, and ultimately money. The media had a field day last August, and by God they’re looking for another one.

And it’s just a bit much.

Stripped down, to the basics, last Summer’s riots were about the youth. More importantly, the lack of correlation between the youth and other ages. “Back in the day”, our parents said, “we had to work for things.” They earned that first wage, bike, house, car. Today, we expect things. We expect that, after going to school for x years we’ll get a house, a car, and a job. A good job, not manual labour, because that’s for the immigrants (who are invading our country! WAAAHH!). God forbid you ever have to wait tables, that you’re ever in the position of listening to a senile old man enunciate his order in perfect monotony while you resist the urge to later spit in his food. Only failures end up there. And we expect to succeed, because we’ve been told as much. Because when a teacher asks a class of primary school children if they want to be a Prime Minister, and the sixteen pairs of hands fly up, you won’t hear: “Sorry kids. You didn’t go to Eton. You’re f*cked.” And so when the new, expectant generation first glimpses the great void that is to be the rest of their lives, fighting, rushing and competing to be successful because they’ve just realised that the world owes you nothing…we get riots. Because those kids want to delude themselves that they have that expected success, so they will smash and grab the things they are told are signs of success: the best shoes, a great TV, the newest iPhone. Or drugs, for a high that can make them feel on top of the world and successful. Or gangs, where they feel successful because of the group mentality, because they’ve pleased a leader or gained a reputation amongst their peers. Or just plain hedonism. Because success is whatever makes you feel good, right? Right?

It’s just a bit sad. We can’t understand the last generation, we see the success, but we expect where they have earned. Somewhere between the generations something went wrong. Maybe when the last was getting up-to-speed with new technology, wars, multiculturalism, whatever, they slipped up and forgot to help the next. Last summer’s riots? Just the first crack, the first rut, to show this problem Britain is so ready to hide. Because we Brits know how stubborn we are. And I suppose other countries view us as that tea-sipping nutter. Well, occasionally, we spill that tea. And when we’re trying to clean up, we make a bigger mess, and our nervous, characteristically sarcastic joke falls flat.