The riots and protests, which have been taking place in London since last Saturday, and were triggered by the death of Mark Duggan, have taken unimaginable proportions today. What started as an organized protest against racial and social injustice has already lost its ideological message. The perpetrators seem to be little concerned about human rights, equality, or minority integration when they are only using the death of Mark Duggan as an excuse to loot and attack innocent business holders and civilians. Today the gangs of teenagers looting the capital and other UK cities seem to be detached from the death of Mark Duggan, who was shot by police during his arrest in Tottenham Hale last Thursday.
It is now obvious, that what is going on in the capital has little to do with the social concerns of those, who claim to be suppressed and mistreated by the state and the authorities. It now seems that a certain group of people has found a new excuse to loot, steal and attack, and this time, it is in the name of nothing. It is vile, chaotic, disorganized, random and totally outrageous. It is not a manifestation of a suppressed minority, it is a result of the passivity of the silent majority.
The events of the last couple of days however are a strong reminder of the gap between the state and its minorities. Britain has always been a host country, where people from different nationalities and the former colonies have been able to find not only refuge, but also social support, citizenship and a home. Since the post-colonial period, Britain has been a shelter for many from the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Asia. It has prided in its ability to integrate foreign nations, and to provide social care and political protection. The irony of it all is that many of the people who are looting the capital at this very moment, have done very little to contribute for its development. It is impossible to generalize when trying to identify the perpetrators. It is now clear that they come from a mix of social and racial backgrounds. Many of them however have been raised with what Sylbourne Sydial, founder of the independent think tank Facilitators for Better Jamaica described as ‘the victims mentality’. Many of them are kids and they have been brought up with the belief that they are the victims of a corrupt Western capitalist system, which disables the weak and counts for the strong. In reality, this is not the case, but certain social groups feel more comfortable following the victim scenario and adhering to the antagonistic social pattern of racial and ethnic intolerance. Because it is easier this way.
The truth is that the perpetrators, who claim to be the victims, have victimized those, who are contributing to the welfare state and the social benefit system in this country. The people who will be most affected by the so called riots, are the small entrepreneurs, and the business owners, who pay taxes in order to provide social benefits for the ‘victims’. And this is the irony in this story about the host country, which is now suffering from its own post-colonial ambition.
By Gergana Dimitrova