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Sorab Shroff

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After the Tottenham Riots

Posted: 14/08/11 15:56

The 'SkyCopter' has now left for newer, more urgent stories and Tottenham residents stepped out this weekend for their weekly shop. And for those Tottenham residents who do not live on the High Road, this was our first glimpse, with our own eyes, of the burnt down shops, homes, pubs and post office. (The road was shut off until Thursday, a crime scene).

The Anglican, Somalian and Nigerian churches resume their Sunday Service after being so rudely interrupted last weekend. As I had my hair cut, we heard some urgent shouting and we all looked out of the hairdressers, worried. The spot outside was where the bus was burnt down last weekend. It only turned out to be a man shouting about the end of the world. We smiled and hid our relief.

The post office that got burnt down was a large one, with many, many counters. I wonder where the pensioners go to get their pension now? A pub, that only opened three months ago, now partially boarded up. It's name: The Pride of Tottenham.

A friend recently wrote on Facebook, "I have to admit surprise that Tottenham had any shops to loot." But it had, and still does. Beyond the Asda and the fried chicken shops, there are shops that sell stuff that is so good, it wouldn't be out of place in some artisan shop in Wimbledon. The shop at the end of my lane gets warm, freshly-made crisp Turkish bread thrice a day. The fishmonger has better fish than you'd find in the aisles of Waitrose. The Muslim and Christian butchers (the first butcher has words praising Allah on its walls, the other butcher has a Cross on his) sell an extraordinary array of meat, such as you wouldn't find in the shrink-wrapped average supermarket.

The Anil Supermarket, Medina Butchers, Shivani News and the International Hairdressing Saloon in Tottenham are all open for business.

After the dramatic, awful events of last week, it is difficult for those of us who live here to craft a narrative: for some, life seems to go on; for others, who were burnt out of their homes, they need to find reasons to go on.

The Irish woman next to me continues her careful gardening, the elderly mother still takes her disabled daughter out for a walk, saying hello to all the shopkeepers - and it all seems to carry on. Without being sentimental, this doesn't feel like the ghetto. The SkyCopter has left - and The Pride of Tottenham, despite being partially boarded up, continues to serve.

 

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