Tuesday, August 09, 2011
London Riots: Chaos in the Capital
Emdad Rahman: Amidst the rubble and the clearing of waving billowing smoke London wakes up today, shaken but still fearless and undeterred.
Just a year to go till the Olympics and it’s all kicking off in my hood. Capital chaos has reached the extent whereby our poor exhausted leaders are having to leave their sunbeds to attend to more pressing matters.
These are the welcome scenes that greeted Londoners on the way to work this morning.
“My girlfriend works here,” a painter and decorator told me. He kept absent mindedly wiping his hands on his overalls in disgust. “What’s the world coming to?” He shook his head and mumbled he was late before trudging off to work.
The owner of Zee & Co on Roman Road stood in a stupor. He was there physically, but his inner being was on another planet. “I knew it was happening last night, but there’s no way we were going to come over,” he muttered.
Even though the news on the telly has been beaming graphic footage and images of the rioting into our living rooms, bedrooms, public rest rooms all throughout the night, nothing prepares one for the shock and sharp intake of breath when actually being confronted by the image in real time.
This local business had been stripped clean of all assets and stock. There was debris everywhere, broken glass and damaged fixtures and fittings. Somebody had been thoughtful and helpfully left one right trainer and one right Moccasin behind.
Criminals of the same ilk attacked the Islamic Bank of Britain and neighbouring businesses during the evening. It was the wrong tactical move. Somebody hadn’t sent the memo to say that it was Ramadan and the Mosques were jam packed. Just like the Turks in Dalston, worshippers from the East London Mosque streamed out en masse to protect their community, chasing off the cowardly thugs who beat a very wise and hasty retreat.
All London games have been cancelled and so has the England V Holland match at Wembley. “It is with regret that tomorrow’s (Wednesday 10 August) international fixture with Holland at Wembley has been called off” read the F.A statement.
All London jails are full with many being transferred to as far as Brighton. With cuts in force, the Police are being tested to their limits. So far they have struggled with calls for the army to step in. “I don’t want to be patrolling the streets of London,” a member of the Armed Forces said on LBC last night.”
I’m not a Police officer but aren’t the Police treating these thugs as they would deal with aggressive protestors at a high tempo rally. Any idiot can tell you that these are criminal chancers and it’s time to start treating them as rioters and looters, not protestors. This has nothing to with the unfortunate death of Mark Duggan. At present it's all about containment. The fight is not being taken to the criminals.
And parents! Where are your children? You could (try) solve this in an instant. Well bad parenting or otherwise you’d better get your rears shipshape. It seems all bets are off. All Police leave is cancelled and there will be a 16,000 strong Police presence out in force tonight. These are not riots as the BBC has reported. It's criminality. Opportunitistic thuggery affecting the normal day to day living of the people of this great city. Chrisp Street Market, Poplar is on alert for tonight and I hear there’s extra security around Greggs, Percy Ingle’s and Poundstretcher. Barking Town centre is on the list. And I think it’s getting ridiculous. What self respecting looter would clean out Lidl?
On a serious note, Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman announced: “We are one community, one Tower Hamlets; and it is the responsibility of all us as neighbours to look after each other, our local area and our services.” As I stood there reading and pondering the Mayor’s message a woman magically appeared with a broom. Another appeared with bin liners. A man with a broom stood by my side. Someone offered us a tray of hot beverages. The clean up was about to begin.
The comeback has started – it’s the Istanbul spirit. It's this community togetherness that will ensure that the capital will deal with this united.
We will not be beaten. London will dust down. London will rise.
Posted by Number 7 at 11:39