Watching the news was like walking into a wall. At first it seemed surreal; abroad, the home news always seems like a foreign country. Today, it feels like a bad dream.
I am paralysed with anger, and weep with pity at the horror of it all. To watch the scenes of cold-blooded, unleashed egotism is more than I can bear. This is MY city; this is my home.
This is the fragile, futile awful truth; civilisation, with all its concomitant luxuries and prizes, is made of glass; a stone’s-throw away from rubble and ruin. All it takes is for someone to throw a stone, and for no one to say no. Last night, and the last few nights, many, many stones were thrown, and bricks, and home made bombs, and battering rams, and fists.
The part that devastates me as a teacher is that they are, seemingly, children; teenagers; gangs. These aren’t protestors; these aren’t activists; these are bored, opportunistic children. Don’t say they’re disaffected; don’t say they’re economically disenfranchised; don’t say they are the detritus of a society that doesn’t care. They don’t care. They are the fruit of a womb where actions have no consequence; where people take what they want; where might makes right; where do what thou wilt shall be the only law. This is the logic, the emotional paradigm of an infant, angry and selfish, allowed to calcify and endure past adolescence. This is reward without sacrifice; this is appeasement without boundary.
This is where justice, compassion and kindness are not; this is the dark side of the moon; this is the opposite of everything you have ever worked for. Don’t look through the entrails of burned out buildings, overturned cars and ruined shops, looking for some hidden message or meaning, some augur, some sign, some unifying explanation that makes sense of this. Violence and cruelty and savagery caught like a flame, and a firestorm followed; the violence and darkness that exists within all people, kept low by civility and empathy and society, but allowed now to leap from city to city. Millions, billions of pounds worth of damage; countless more value lost from the intangible economy of the good life. And for what? A widescreen pasma? A few bottles of Blossom Hill? A fireworks display?
We need kindness; we need love; we need leadership. We need the boundaries redefined and confidence brought back to the streets. We need our government to do the primary job for whcih it is meant to be fit: security, stability and peace.
The horror. The horror.