Wednesday, August 10, 2011

'hugs for hoodies'

britain's pm david cameron is rumoured to have spoken these infamous words and if it weren't for a rite of passage london fling i would have no idea of the significance of such a statement. while we might pop on our bonds hoodie to head to the gym or the quick milk dash down the shops in britain it has become a symbol of the disaffected youth. the same disaffected youth that are ravaging the streets of britain literally as i type.

it was while i was holed up in harlesden in london's north east that i first became aware of the juxtaposition between the classes in our nations mother country and it was during this 'holiday' that i was introduced to the british boogie man aka 'hoodie' gangs. at the time the authorities attempted to overthrow these hoodlums by introducing legislation  that would see hoods banned in public spaces. to me this seemed like a band aid on a bullet wound type of situation. not only are you not addressing the fact that you have a generation of estranged youth but you are empowering the 'symbol of fear' in question and handing these 'rebel without a cause' kids a tool to defy their number one enemy. authority.

this defiance has raged across britain over the last four days with news reports littered with the words 'baffling' and 'grappling' when describing the peoples reaction to the cause of this chaos.  some are even blaming social media network twitter and blackberry messaging for mobilising the mob. even calling for twitter and blackberry to cut off consumers in an effort to still the situation.  this type of logic is as flawed and ineffective as banning a sweatshirt.

the real cause is much simpler and perhaps more frightening. here you have a society where the gap between the haves and the have nots is so wide that essentially the have nots have nothing to lose. when you take hope from somebody what you're feeding them instead is a steady diet of anger, desperation and powerlessness, seasoned with something even more sinister. boredom. being bewildered by the uprising of the disenfranchised is like a smoker being surprised their lungs are riddled with cancer.

in a truly imperious fashion david cameron eventually ended his holiday in Tuscany to come home and wag the finger at rioters. he denounced their actions as ''utterly unacceptable''  a ''violent minority'' and as ''opportunism''. on the latter the oxford graduate is definitely onto something.  this is a case of opportunity. an opportunity for the voiceless to find a voice.

masses on the streets is nothing new. as they say desperate times call for desperate measures and if the measure of a civilisation is how it treats its weakest members then unfortunately we continue to fail.

a far cry from cameron's alleged opinion of hugs for thugs, he vows to end the riots tonight with an increased police presence and stern warning that rioters will "face the full force of the law".

admittedly what else can he do. they are so far past the point of police handing out hugs it's quite scary to think how this will end. but when the dust settles you can only hope that the arrogance of the affluent and in charge can see the forest through trees. unfortunately i think a conservative crack down is on the cards, one that bans more than a hood in a public space.

The Age reported that an employee from Manchester bookstore Waterstones said the shop would not close its doors despite escalating violence in the city, saying: "We'll stay open. If they steal some books they might learn something". maybe we all will.

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