Monday August 15, 2011.
By Hameed Abdul Karim
Riot policeman stand guard in Tottenham, north London, late Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, after two patrol cars were attacked by members of a community where a young man was shot dead by police on Thursday took to the streets to demand "justice." Officers had been attempting to carry out an arrest under the Trident operational command unit, which deals with gun crime in the black community, according to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. (AP)
Long years ago I talked with a British educationist and asked him why it cost so much for a foreign student in the UK and so little to a British citizen and whether it wouldn’t be a good idea to increase fees for them and correspondingly reduce the fees for a foreign student. What he told me had remained in my head ever since. He said if the government were to do that there would be a revolution in England.
Well, it looks like that’s exactly what happening in England right now. No it’s not a revolution but certainly the resentment has now hit the streets and it’s such a shame to see the quaint old buildings go up in flames. But on the other hand Imagine how a youth would feel when he hears his helpless father bemoaning the cuts in social spending and how much more it’s going to cost him to put food on the table and to educate his children.
Imagine also how the mariginalised in British society feel when their government spends billions of pounds on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq not to mention the heavy costs involved in spying on other countries fattening the fantastically rich moguls in the arms industry. And then if that is not sufficient to fire your imagination the government channels the money saved with cuts in education, housing and social welfare to banks that have gone belly up despite living off the poor for years and you will begin to get the picture. This policy of marginalising the already marginalised and subsidising the filthy rich with tax cut benefits has become all too patently obvious. Bear in mind the fattened calves are patrons and financial backers of the politicians, In short punishing the poor in what is now referred to as the ‘cuts culture’ has stretched them to breaking point. Unfortunately the politicians are quite out of sync with what’s happening in homes of the poor – but that’s what you expect in a capitalist society like Britain.
To add insult to injury, Prime Minister David Cameron, fresh from a ‘cut’ holiday overseas, came out with his Churchillian poses and sound bites making you think he was in competition with former premier Tony Blair. He said he believed that if the youth can riot the way they had, then they are old enough to spend time behind bars. Spoken like a true dictator! The first ‘rioter’ produced in court was only eleven years old.
Pirates and Emperors
What was expected of him was a compassionate approach to the crisis; an approach that would be humanitarian in nature with a view to heal the wounds of the poor that politicians like him had created in the first place. Instead he lambasted the youth with words like ‘looters’ and ‘criminals’ overlooking the fact that his country had plundered and pillaged poor nations in Africa and Asia for centuries and continues to do just that in Afghanistan and Iraq in step with the continental cousin.. It reminds one of the tales narrated by St. Augustine about a pirate being brought up before Emperor Constantine in chains. On seeing him the emperor exploded ‘Oh so you are the pirate!’ The pirate replied ‘I only steal a ship or two every now and then and you call me a pirate, but you plunder and pillage the whole world and you call yourself Emperor’.
All Races Involved
Initially it was thought the riots had an ‘extremist Islamic’ connection or that they had racial connotations considering that the alleged ‘underworld figure’ killed in a shootout between his gang and the police was a ‘black’, but as time went by it became clear there were ‘whites’ among the rioters. Straining at the leash, as it were, CNN made subtle suggestions there might be a particular race responsible for the riots, like as if to say it’s okay if ‘we whites’ riot but not when ‘blacks’ do. ‘Our’ rioting will certainly have legitimacy and justifiability (like our overseas wars) but this cannot be said of the ‘blacks’ when they go on a rampage. There is a feeling the Western media is attempting, in not so subtle a way, to incite the extreme right wing Christian groups in the UK to convert these riots into an anti Muslim and anti immigrant campaign.
Media Moguls and Politicians
Media and the politicians who work hand in hand with one another in their lust for power as was revealed in the case of Rupert Murdoch’s late and unlamented News of the World and its phone hacking scandal, have played a pivotal role in keeping the people at each other’s throats with non-stop news of the ‘other’ (meaning Muslim) wanting to take over the UK and the rest of Europe. But who can believe the Western media anymore? Why, only the other day NATO announced they had killed all those who were responsible for downing a US helicopter when only the day before that the US said the helicopter had crashed due to mechanical failure and that the Taliban’s claim that they had shot it down was palpably ridiculous. It’s when what’s called ‘mainstream media’ lies through it teeth on behalf of their partners in politics that the social media comes into play with the truth and sometimes with unchecked and unverified stories. Something has to be done about the ‘mainstream media’. News of the world has given ample reason to ensure the media is checked and that it stops playing games to divide people for the benefit of the politicians.
Muslims to the Fore
The news that’s coming out of riot torn areas in England is that three Muslim youth had been deliberately run over by a car when all they were trying to do was to defend and protect their neighbourhood, which include ‘whites’ from the rioters. In short they were doing the job of the police and they had to pay a heavy price for being heroes. Will they be remembered the same way ‘whites’ would be remembered if anyone of them had been killed in similar circumstances? Will this heroic act be a heart changer for the likes of David Cameron and his fan club in the racist and virulently anti-Muslim English Defense League (EDL)? Let’s hope so.
There might be a connection between David Cameron and the EDL considering that he delivered a speech in February in Munich on the failure of multiculturalism, which when translated means the Muslims have ungratefully refused to give up their faith and traditions in exchange for British generosity, hospitality and altruism on the very day the EDL was terrorising Muslims in Luton. Needless to say the far right extremists groups in England and other countries in Europe were delighted with the support the British Prime Minister was giving them.
What is the solution to the financial crisis in the bankrupt Western world? Stop the wars; stop the killings of non-white people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Palestine and use the money thus save to help the poor get back on their feet. Punish the ‘banksters’ with jail terms and not with hefty bonuses. It is true there is some level of democracy more in the UK than in the US. But of what use is such democracy when the ruling elite doesn’t pay heed to the demands of the people. Millions of people took to the streets in England to protest against the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the occupation of Palestine, but the government turned a deaf year to their pleas. The people know wars are not for their benefit. They know it’s for the benefit of the capitalists.
Leaders must realise the people are not ‘sheeple’ as the Arab spring has clearly shown. Taking a cue from Egypt, Israelis have risen against the big talking regime of Prime Minister Netanyahu. The protests in Israel exposed the Western media’s preoccupation of preventing any negative image of Israel from reaching the world. How did CNN, BBC, CBC, Fox and others report the unusual uprising in Israel? They completely ignored the event and said sweet nothing. Only Russian Television and al-Jazeera covered the ‘show’. People in Syria are sacrificing their lives daily to end Bashar Assad’s tyranny as are people in Bahrain and Yemen. In Wisconsin in the US people rose up against the pension cuts. It looks like there is a worldwide people’s movement in full swing. Politicians must eschew violence and instead concentrate on the welfare and well being of the people they rule. They must remember the positions they hold are a trust and not a right to fatten their and their supporters’ bank balances. For starters nations like Israel must end the occupation of Palestine, Britain must end the wars they are fighting. It’s very nice to see India sending a delegation to Syria to urge Assad to end the bloodshed. But India’s role is hypocritical as long as she is occupying Kashmir with the same ferocity as Bashar al Assad. China too must give up its occupation of Tibet and Xinxiang.
Norway’s Prime Minster has shown the way for other leaders to follow. It’s left to David Cameron to follows suit with compassionate and humanitarian steps to put his house in order. It’s nice to see the riots in England are being described as a British problem and that practical solutions are needed to solve the issue.