Image: London Burning
Day three of the London riots and there are 16,000 police officers on the streets of London tonight. To put that into perspective, there were 34,000 US soldiers in Afghanistan when President Obama took office.
While I do not support the London riots, the media and the government's treatment of the rebellion have been appalling. Mark Duggan's death was the spark that set the city on fire. The riots are about ongoing social and political inequalities in a failing global economy. Prejudices, the economic strain of worsening unemployment, and the Cameron government's spending cuts to social programs are affecting normal citizens (youth -- not criminals and thugs), who are young enough and connected enough (Facebook and Twitter) to act and plan their aggressions. Add to the mix violations of human rights, colour and race and what you're seeing is an extreme exercise of will in a failed democracy that could be any city.
The impact of social media on society is becoming increasingly remarkable. From organizing fiery destruction to restoring clean order, a crisis in the world today spreads like wildfire. And whoever believes youth today are apathetic and disengaged is clearly not paying attention. These are the times and we are the people. Humanity and instinct haven't changed. This is a time-old war between the haves and the have nots.
The citizens of London are raging against the current order in a lack of humanity for the people, by the people. A marked difference from the more peaceful protests that occurred in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia this spring where property was protected and looting prevented despite the large numbers.
Interestingly, London rioters were not just looting H&M and Foot Locker, they were trying things on first. Had they been buying staples: bread, milk, etc., they would invoke our sympathy. But because they loot designer bags and Tiffany's -- luxury items, we view them as selfish and superficial thieves. But this is a political issue. These young, intelligent Brits live in the ghetto and continually dispossess in a society rich with possessions. They are wannabe consumers. Luxury has become sliced bread.
This isn't what Mark Duggan's death should stand for. The senseless violence and outis taking media attention away from the real issues. It is our humanity that burns in London tonight.
"Hell is empty and all the devil's are here." Shakespeare