Saturday, 13 August 2011
What makes you want to riot?
What is it that makes you want to riot?
Could it be this?
The bizarre case of the pregnant woman sentenced to three years in prison for reporting a violent rape certainly hit a button when I read about it this morning. Police treated her as guilty despite her injuries: gashed knee and back of head, black eye, bleeding vagina. Vital evidence either not collected or destroyed, such as the male public hair lost in the lab. I mean, THREE YEARS?! Sure, that'll encourage us to report sex crime. Stick us in a burqa and tell us to shut up, why don'tcha.
Or could it be the woman about to be evicted from her Conservative-led Wandsworth council flat because her son was charged — and not convicted — in the riots? I've heard of soldiers wiping out a whole village because some of them were insurgents, or all the men of a town being shot because a soldier had been killed, but since when did that warped justice take hold here, a world bastion of decency and democracy? Punishing the innocent due to a mere association with the accused is the mark of an authoritarian regime serving the few, not the many.
I've read that David Cameron is consulting the Chinese government about shutting down the internet social networks. Now that is a riot.
We're going back to a time when children were hanged for stealing a loaf of bread. Remember the opening scene in Pirates Of The Caribbean III where the pirates are being hanged en masse? Including the little boy? We didn't cheer the hangings: they were disturbing. The knowledge that this disproportionate mass punishment was barbaric, from our enlightened modern western perspective, is under attack. People in power now, as then, have as little sense of themselves as the rioters do — how else would you fail to see the damaged humanity in these lost youths? If you can't feel yourself as human, you can't see others as such, and the only thing dividing you from the "scum" is that you have social power and they don't.
Not all these rioters are hardened criminals who killed and torched. Five months prison for accepting a pair of nicked knickers is not setting a good example.
Brecht asked: Who is the bigger criminal? The person who robs a bank? Or the person who founds one. We can now ask who has done the most damage: the RBS, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs bankers who started the recession and are continuing to damage society? Or the spiritually and materially impoverished rioters?
Madam Miaow on Looting & the UK riots: as above, so below.
Madam Miaow's mash-up video to The Bermondsey Joyriders' "Society Is Rapidly Changing".
Rap responds to the riots.