I'm not just a donkey - I'm a terrorist one

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Listen to them or they'll loot and be proud

When I first arrived in London years ago,  I lived on East Street, in Elephant  and Castle. A poor deprived area which looked like any street in a refugee camp, youths hanged out on the corners, no schools, no education, no hope and no voice. Knives in their pockets and hoodies covered their heads and foreheads, they stood, stared and threatened. One night on my way back from the supermarket carrying two big bags of shopping, I was followed. I could hear them whispering, I could hear their foot steps and even their breathing. I tried to walk faster but they were younger and walked faster than me, I was scared to death. Knowing that some police men had faced death a few steps ahead several years ago, didn't make the situation any better. I didn't know what to do. One thing was for sure I knew I didn't want to die for some cheese, butter and milk. I dropped the shopping bags on the floor and turned to face them. I don't know where I got my courage from, but I turned and looked at the boys. They were two kids, both white and no more than 13 years of age; they didn't expect my move as much as I didn't; they stopped a few meters away. "What do you want?" I said. They remained silent, they didn't say anything but remained looking. "I have this stupid mobile, some biscuits and chocolate, and an empty wallet, Pick?" I said. A smile appeared on one of the two faces, which made me dance from happiness. Not literally. I knew I was safe, at least safer than one minute earlier. One of them started walking backwards and the smiling one remained looking, I smiled and threw him some tea biscuits, he winked at me and said "cheers, bro". They left happy and I left happier. Since that time I never had any incident in England, not in London and not anywhere else. I felt that there is a bond between these kids and me, I always know how to look at them, when to smile and when not, when to speak to them and when not. I believe that there is a way to talk to these kids. In Canterbury I befriended them, they weren't the politest people you'd ever meet, they didn't smile because gangsters don't. However, they were not criminals, not mobsters and not sick people. They weren't thugs or scumbags as media and politicians are describing them now, they need no plastic bullets, no water cannons, they are not Irish at the end. They are illiterate, they don't know how to communicate with each other, or watch a good film and appreciate it. They want education and clean Media that does not make them out to be jerks and scumbags, a media that does not brainwash them with stupidity, violence and lies.  They want someone to notice them, someone to listen to them and someone that can make their dreams come true. Someone other than Simon Cowell to make them superstars and superheroes, and he didn't. I spoke with them and we did photo shoots together. They all posed the same: like gangsters they weren't, but sadly believed to be. They all read the SUN newspaper for that boob and those two nipples on page three. They knew nothing about politics, but surprisingly enough they knew that Iraq was being attacked then by their government. They were with the Iraqis without questioning their motives.
 Because they simply hated their governments, those governments who left them on the edge and kept on pushing them slowly so they'd jump into drugs, crime and now riots. And when they do that politicians and police race to say: he had a gun or he was a drug dealer. No one has the courage to stand and say "It's our Responsibility, Neither a Labour member, nor a Tory or a Liberal Democrat.
 Because they are all partners in this.

A few months ago two dogs died when left by a police handler in the back of a police car. The Police dog handler was prosecuted straight after. Mark Duggan died after being shot by police men in Tottenham, not a word, not a justification to the family. Riots hit England South,  north and center.
 Was it Mark Duggan? was it really him? No it wasn't him. He was just the spark.

It's equality that these marginalized youth are missing.
It's the education that these youth are not given. (17% of the 15 years old are illiterate)
It's the governments that leave teenage women to go and get pregnant, and corporations that encourage them and print a "Happy 30th grandmother" birthday card.
It's those well dressed bankers who loot and steal without questioning
It's those Politicians who steal public money and rule with every little help.
It's those politicians who cut deals with Murdoch then say we didn't.
It's News papers like the Sun and its sisters that say nothing but shit.
It's Tv stations like Sky and programs like "Peter Andre: Here to help"
It's the recession and a greedy capitalist system of ready made food to taste the difference.

These youth are not thugs, not criminals, not mobs, not muppets, not thieves and surely not Scumbags.
They are not after trainers like my friend put it, and not after Plasma screens.
These are youngsters denied their voice, denied hope and education.
No one speaks to them, no one listens to them.

Listen to them, don't imprison them Cameron and above all don't call them names. Otherwise they will loot and they'll be proud of it and there will be no Peter Andre to help.

 [Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters]

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