Monday, 8 August 2011

London's Burning


London's on fire. Set ablaze by its own angry and disenchanted youth and undoubtedly with it's own dark underbelly of criminal networks playing an influential hand. What started as peaceful protests over a police shooting has ignited into three days of the ugliest riots this city has seen for decades.  The flashpoint that has caused this explosion seems now lost and insignificant after the widespread and senseless violence that has and continues to spread not just throughout London but now to other UK cities.  The pictures on the news are unbelievable and frightening. I'm actually scared. Staying in tonight with blinds shut, glued to the news and wishing really badly that Mr V was here.

Last night I heard the stirrings of the disruption starting with the sounds shouting and fighting on my street and the police helicopter flying overhead for hours. It's not unheard of for this area which is notorious for problems with youth gangs but by the morning it was clear that the riots of North London has set a rather disturbing and sinister ball rolling.

This morning I arrived on my local high street to find the entire length of it cordoned off by police - I had read that a few shops had been attacked but naively thought that it wouldn't affect my tube journey. The tube was shut, the street was off limits to traffic and pedestrians and this was why...


Then throughout the day news reports of breakouts of new rioting across the metropolitan area prompted colleagues at work to pack up early and hurry home to avoid being on the street at dusk, expecting things to get ugly as night fell.  I didn't even attempt the tube or the high street on my journey home. But the amount of violence and damage still going on is shocking and there are horrific fires burning in several boroughs, some neighbouring ones, putting the homes and lives of residents at risk.

I remember as a young teenager, living in a sleepy suburb in Australia, reading about the poll tax riots in London with incredulity and wondering with fearful awe how anyone could live in a city like that.  Roll on twenty years and I'm living down the road from it all.  I thought I loved London.  Tonight I'm not so sure.

17 comments:

  1. My thoughts are with you--I actually thought of you specifically when I learned of the riots.

    One evening when I was living in the Marais, there was a riot. It had religious motivations, and a friend's fiancé's head was smashed in. He didn't recover. But that was just a night's events, and oddly, the effects didn't resonate (that might be a Parisian way, quite frankly). Still, very scary.

    Stay inside and take care.

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  2. I've been sitting at my computer for the last couple of hours - I keep trying to blog but I just don't know what to say. I love London, this is heartbreaking.

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  3. Just watching the disturbing scenes on the news. Just hope these mindless idiots come to their senses soon. Hope you are ok - stay safe. M x

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  4. Oh no!! That is crazy! People get soo caught up in the violence that some forget what they were angry about or just use this opportunity to act the fool!

    Please be careful!

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  5. I am thinking of you. Stay safe! I just saw the pictures on the news. Scary and unbelievable, and I'm dumbfounded that people will add to the mayhem by looting. So awful.

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  6. a really sad situation.

    take care of you...

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  7. Yuck. Stay safe. I'm worried that economic inequality and banking industry shenanigans might be buying this country the same kind of unrest sooner or later.

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  8. I remember the Handsworth riots of 1981 vividly as it was local to me. It was a terrifying time and I'm horrified to discover it's all kicked off again. Birmingham's been under siege all night.
    Stay safe. x

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  9. I honestly can't believe this is happening. And in London, of all cities. I don't usually watch news, so I've heard about all this only today.
    Stay safe and I hope it's all gonna end soon.

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  10. It's bizarre what people will do when they're angry. And even more so when they set off the people who wanted a reason to do wrong.

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  11. Stay safe! It's absolutely unbelievable!

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  12. It's incredibly sad, my work trip had to be cut short due to this horrible violence, wishing you to be safe dear!

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  13. Thinking of you and London. Just unbelievable what's going on...from the other side of the pond, seems just surreal to see the news coverage. Stay safe!

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  14. It's been crazy. As a fellow Londoner, I'm just so proud of the communities that stood up to them and all the people who are helping with the clean-up operation yesterday. I still can't believe it's happening and has spread to other parts of our beautiful island x

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  15. Checking in to make sure you're okay, hon.

    My brain's been feeling violated because unlike you, I never felt fear about London, or England as a whole. In fact, when I needed some calming, when I needed to believe that there was a place where things were still pretty much all right and honorable and under control, I'd lie back and think of England. Too many romantic novels, too many aristocratic costume movies, I suppose!

    I've been a little more aware of immigrant and burgeoning terrorist issues in London since reading several of Daniel Silva's Israeli spy novels, but still, I'd hoped my naive, bright image of London would prevail.

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