I woke up to the news that the riots which started out in Tottenham in London last Saturday have spread across the city that I once knew so well.
The rioters, looters and pure opportunists have swept from Hackney in the East to Ealing in the West and from Clapham in the south to Camden in the north, smashing windows, burning cars and buildings and making off with goods from supermarkets and electronic shops and warehouses.
Also, the ferocious troubles have gone beyond London to Birmingham in the Midlands and Liverpool and Bristol in the north and west of England respectively.
Do I get a sense of deja vu when viewing the BBC website with its always on time and online reports in words, voice and pictures?
Aren’t the scenes reminiscent of what’s been happening across the Arab world since the start of this year, from Tunisia and Egypt to Libya and Syria and in whose chaos the British Government n other Western democracies have been playing cheer-leader, judge and referee? And always supported by a conniving UN!
Some explain the current violence in Britain as anger and frustration in segments of society who feel deprived at being left out of the good life. Isn’t that a contradiction to the equality and empowerment that democracies are supposed to confer?
If what happened in the Arab world is about regime change and people wanting empowerment and equality, why can’t we say the same of what’s happening in the UK now?
Isn’t it ironic too that the British riots’ fast spread is now being blamed on Twitter and Blackberry when the very same techologies are hailed for helping to spread the message and the news of freedom like sand storms across the Arab spring?
I wonder when it will be the United States’ turn to feel the people’s backlash? Aren’t there anger and deprivation seething somewhere in the 50 states now that Standard & Poor’s has downgraded US bonds? Or is Burn Baby Burn very much a Sixties thing? 🙄
No doubt another long hot summer for the historians and analysts to pore over.