The Riots: In Their Own Words
is currently on iplayer
for those who can receive it. The programme was meant to be broadcast last month but had to be delayed because of a trial in Birmingham. This is the first episode of a two part series; the second part speaks to the police involved.
For those who are not in the know, on August 4 last year, 29 year old Mark Duggan was shot dead in Tottenham, North London by police officers from Operation Trident. A quite disgraceful conspiracy of silence
surrounds that execution, and it seems unlikely that the actual perpetrator will ever be brought to book, by legal means, at least.
Mark Duggan's death sparked a demonstration which had an almost carnival atmosphere, then things turned nasty, and spread first to other parts of North London, then to South London, and finally to the rest of the country.
In Balham, South London, a businessman with a track record of philanthropy
saw his shop go up in smoke. Further south, in Croydon, back in the news this week for the alleged murder of 12 year old Tia Sharp
, a shop that survived two world wars and the Great Depression was left in ruins
We also saw attacks on totally innocent people, and the programme includes the footage of the cruel double whammy visited on Malaysian student Ashraf Rossli
, who was viciously assaulted and robbed, then robbed again in seconds by unrelated assailants.
This programme uses the words of the rioters but not the people themselves. Although many of them belonged to the criminal underclass, by no means all of them were black, like Laura Johnson, who didn't appear in this programme because she is otherwise engaged
Although the usual suspects
have attempted to explain away or excuse the rioting, the looting and the senseless violence, one woman hit it bang on the head where the rioters had gone wrong. They should have left the shops and gone for the police. If they had done, if perhaps they'd broken a few bones, at the very least the police would be a lot more circumspect in future before they open fire on an unarmed man.
The simple fact though is that the vast majority of the rioters and looters had ulterior motives, or were caught up in the madness of crowds, a madness that wrecked their own communities, including especially the lives of the small businessmen and women who like the working class are the backbone of this and every nation.
If though there is one unifying factor for the rioters if not the looters, it is an at times burning hatred of the police. Hatred can be both irrational and unjustified, but more often than not, when so many people hate you, you're doing something wrong. We will see the police response to this in the second episode, which barring anymore court orders, should be screened next week.