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Maan Al-Majali Headshot

This isn't About Duggan

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Like the majority of Londoners and Britons, I am utterly disgusted (also very worried) at the events of the past three days and the continued violence across our Capital - and now beyond. I cannot by any means condone, instead I vehemently condemn. However, I do not condemn whilst sitting on the' higher outside' looking in, I have been brought up in underprivileged, uninspiring environments filled with disincentives to 'act right'. Yet having been exposed to such environments, I am still at a struggle to figure out exactly what, how, and who...

I believe these riots and the causes produce issues beyond what meets the naked eye, and issues that require thorough examining. The initial catalyst - the killing of Mark Duggan on Thursday 4th August by Tottenham Police Officers - has quickly digressed to a more serious focus on the very social fabric of our societies.

Note to the reader; it has taken me around 10 minutes so far to decide on how to proceed wisely onto the next paragraph, I am currently staring out my window, and my mind is just wondering away. The sun is visible, it is setting, but it is also raining, confusion hits me and so too the uninspired feeling of the future of our young generation.

There are close to one million people across the UK aged 16-24 who are unemployed, the number of people in this age group not in full-time education is currently at approximately 4.26 million. Although these numbers have seen a slight improvement recently, this represents a generation that is quite frankly, lost. In an era of global economic turmoil, vigorous Tory public spending cuts, a rise in university tuition fees, and sleazy relationships between the law, politicians and the media, one has to ask; is there any light at the end of the tunnel? Where are the incentives to 'act right'?

The killing of Mark Duggan, father of four, was only the spark to the flame that has developed into a raging fire representing discontent, dissatisfaction and disadvantaged attitudes of the youth of today's London.

Deep and Underlying Social Issues

We are seeing the rise of an increasingly lost generation, driven and influenced by 'popular culture', music that inspires getting wild, drunk and high, making money by any means necessary, looking 'good', being careless, being free, partying all night, doing bad and feeling good about it, and being overly liberal without responsibility or consciousness to the effect it has on the fellow citizen and the community. Have you listened to the lyrics of today's music? Listen carefully next time, ignore the party beats, just please listen to the lyrics. An apathetic, self-interested society on many levels.

Our "role models" are nothing but overpaid celebrities and sports men / women, who - bar a selected handful - do not do anywhere near enough for their communities and societies that they ply their trade in.

I blame this also on the MP's and politicians that are quick to condemn the violence all the while, once upon a time, milking us tax payers to pay for their outlandish expenses on lavish lifestyles with their only concern being their legacy in political history books, whilst slowly but surely losing touch with their general communities, voters and most importantly the working classes.

A major factor is the relationship between parenting and schooling, which also needs serious re-examining. The two need to start agreeing on and acting upon lost souls in classrooms. I'm not a parent, but I do know what good parenting consists of, that's why I am here (considering my immediate environment), doing what I do regardless of household grievances over the years, and not lost in a path that was presented to me and I could have easily followed had it not been for the vigorous, solid, and strict upbringing brought upon me with such dedication, firmness and respect. We can agree to disagree on this point...comments are of course more than welcome, let's start a debate here. We need a debate.

Economic Problems

There is a clear connection and correlation here between a recession hit United Kingdom and the affect it has had on grass roots. As mentioned above, unemployment rates in a key demographic is a serious and apparent problem. Cameron's Big Society is a nothing but a big dream. What incentives do these youths have to contribute to their societies and communities? None! We live in a Facebook generation where volunteering and community work does not come close to 'what my friends are doing'.

Incentives, incentives, incentives, I cannot stress this word enough, and opportunity. When both are near non-existent, then angry opportunists will prevail.

Policing

Tottenham Police ignored repeated calls for dialogue by the community in a peaceful protest outside their station last Saturday evening. Community leaders warned that this will quickly develop into violence if demands for dialogue were not met...and now look at the results. Violence could have been impeded, and once again, the Law acts as another disconnected institution (along with the Government) to the people they are meant to serve, protect and represent.

The police are now stretched for resources, if violence increases consistently, should the Army be drafted in and deployed onto our streets? Now that would be a site for sore eyes, yet very necessary...possibly.

An Daftly Attempted Conclusion

I have no conclusion, only time will tell where and how this will end. All I know is that this is not London, this is not what London is about, however this is the situation we are faced with, and we each have a role to play in our society to improve and prevent, to respect, to be accountable to the future of our society and communities. Another part of me whispers: but this is London, this is the foundation and this is the future, we are angry deep down, very angry, all we need is a catalyst to humanise this deep anger. Furthermore I totally disagree with another Huffington Post blog published which states that this is a problem facing 'black Britain'. This is a problem facing all races and backgrounds, White, Black, Asian, Middle Eastern, anyone who lives in underprivledged areas in London and across the UK.

I will sleep tonight hoping that this violence ceases very, very soon. I don't care about the image of London considering the Olympics, to be honest it should be the very least of our concerns.

Regardless of all the social difficulties mentioned, these mindless acts of public terrorism need to stop, and I use the word terrorism as this is a form of wide spread social violence and unrest, caused by the minority against the majority - a fitting description.

Stay safe London...

The foundation of every state is the education of its youth (Diogenes Laertius)