Guest Blogger: My take on the events in London…..
“A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard”, Martin Luther King. When people have no other platform to be heard, they create their own. They start a revolution. On Thursday 4th August 2011, Mark Duggan was shot dead by a police officer at point plank range.
Witnesses say he lay defenceless on the floor when the fatal two bullets were shot. He was labelled as a “gangster” by the media with no evidence or proof. There were allegations that he shot at a police officer and the bullet was lodged in his radio, this bullet has now been revealed to belong to another police officer. So why was he shot? His family demanded answers, and so did his community. A peaceful march was quickly organised from his house to Tottenham Hale Police Station. They settled outside the Police Station and chanted the simple demand, “We want answers”. They wanted answers and were right to demand it, but not according to the police as one officer came out and set on a 16 year old girl with batons after she approached them to ask a question. Chaos ensued, out of anger the crowd turned on the officer and soon this peaceful protest became a violent riot. Buildings, Businesses, commercial and police cars all torched to the ground. People started looting in broad daylight and soon they spread to all parts of north London. But this is not just for Mark Duggan, how about Smiley Culture, Jean Charles de Menezes and Ian Tomlison? Where is their justice, the death of Mark Duggan forces them to answer questions of which for so long they have ignored. When a generation for so long has been ignored, should they sit by and do nothing? Do we blame them for rising up?
“Non-violence is a powerful and just weapon. It is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.” I felt a huge amount of pride when I found out about the original peaceful protest; finally the youths of today are standing up for themselves and want to get their voices heard. When I received the news that it had become a riot, with people using the death of this man as an excuse to raid and rob shops, I could not help but shake my head. What happened to the people who stood up for their rights rather than give an excuse as to why it should be taken away. As I watched the news the original motive was forgotten, all I saw were references to “hooligans”, “trouble makers” and “criminals”. Our voice was no longer being heard, we were being ridiculed and labelled. The small minority ruined it for us all.