London on fire, is there any good left?

Normally, I like to keep my articles tuned towards lighthearted topics — television, movies, macabre humor, and so on — however, recent events demand a quick deviation from the usual stuff to focus on a bit of real news.  Shocking, I know, but bear with me.

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news, you’ve heard of the riots going on in London — started when the police shot and killed a father of four who loved his mother and was an upstanding member of a London gang.  His fatherhood status and devotion to his mother aside, the shooting of a gang member (who happened to be armed, but did not fire off a shot from his converted blank-firing gun) was enough for yobs in Tottenham to “defy the establishment” by stealing anything not bolted down, burn anything bolted down, and murder some innocents.  It’s shameful.  It’s pathetic.  It’s also been going on for four days.

Without getting into too much detail regarding the “loving father of four”, Mark Duggan, I’d like to point out that he was a gang member, a drug dealer and, at the time of his death, was armed with a blank-firing gun that had been converted for live ammunition, so his family life is rather moot.

Good guys don’t have anything to do with illegal drugs, don’t carry illegal weapons, and aren’t members of gangs.  Jerks father children all the time, and everyone has a mom, at least biologically.  Bottom line, he’s not in need of sympathy, and the world is not poorer for having lost him, there’s probably even a line of bottom feeders waiting to replace him in the gang.

All Duggan was in life was a spark that has so far burned down historic buildings, cost millions of pounds in damage, and resulted in the deaths of at least three people.  He was the catalyst that is putting London to shame in a way that nothing else could.

The London thugs deserve great quantities, of shame, not sympathy.

What a welcome for a first year accountancy student, Mohammed Ashraf Haziq, a twenty year old who has been in the UK for only a month and is now recovering in hospital after having his jaw broken by some thugs who saw an easy target.  After having his jaw broken, the young man was “helped to his feet” by a supposed good Samaritan, who in fact, was simply another little pig who wanted easier access to the bag on his victim’s back.  His wallet and mobile phone were both stolen by the same looters who helped him to his feet, and the entire thing was captured on film, which has since been posted to YouTube, unfortunately with video grainy enough that his “helpers” will likely not be caught.

Sadly, Haziq got off lucky compared to others.  Tariq Jahan was with his son attempting to protect a friend’s business from the looters when his son, 21 year old Haroon, was mowed down, along with Shazad Ali and his brother Abdul Nasir, by a 32-year-old man who is suspected to have been a part of the riots and is currently being questioned on suspicion of racially-motivated murder, causing extreme tension between the Asian and African-Caribbean communties.

Tariq Jahan said that he was just around the corner, and came to help after seeing the three men on the street.  He started CPR and then was told that one of the three victims was his own son.  Today, he mourns and pleads for calm, says that two days from now, the whole world will forget him and his son, someone who was a good young man determined to not allow the rioters to destroy his community.

Shazad’s wife Khansa, whom he recently married and who is four months pregnant will be forced to raise their baby without it ever knowing its father, all because they were trying to protect their homes from the violence that had caused so much suffering elsewhere.  The world is poorer for the loss of these good men.

A primary school worker, a postman, and children as young as 11 years old have all been arrested, and charges are fast tracked to deal with the more than 800 arrests that have been made.  Magistrates have said they are lacking sufficient sentencing powers despite PM David Cameron saying he “would expect anyone convicted of violent disorder will be sent to prison.” but so far, there have been fines, curfews, and bail with electronic tags.  A 19 year old and 22 year old were spotted with a shopping trolley laden with power tools which they claimed to have found, and were not concerned when informed that their “found goods” were stolen.  Families have been showing up at the magistrate’s offices together, with an uncle and nephew duo both charged with looting in Croydon.

As usual, people have “learned their lessons” and are remorseful, or have their excuses lined up for the judge, including one father who claimed that he was getting diapers for his baby, and has since been remanded into custody due to the judge deeming him a high risk to rejoin the chaos (or possibly also get a flat screen television and a Rolex watch “for his baby”).  As much as people claim to have “learned their lessons”, Max Hastings of the Daily Mail, who covered the Race Riots in Detroit and hears much of the same lines used, wrote in an article that “the people who wrecked swathes of property, burned vehicles and terrorised communities have no moral compass to make them susceptible to guilt or shame.”

He also brings a fresh idea on what these creatures are: animals, stating  “they respond only to instinctive animal impulses — to eat and drink, have sex, seize or destroy the accessible property of others” and considering the contempt that these people have for their fellow man, he might be on to something.

It seems hopeless, but amongst the pain and suffering of the people who have lost their businesses, jobs, homes or family, there are a few beacons of light.  To aid Ashraf Haziq, a website has been set up with the plan to bring his family to London to visit him while he recuperates in the hospital, it can ben found here and already has more than 17,000 pledges.  Tariq Jahan, despite losing his son, has called for peace, and has urged people to not seek revenge.

Manchester police have been cheered for hunting down rioters in their own city, and will hopefully see no retribution from higher ups for being seen dispersing a little on-the-site justice to rioters they were able to chase down.  Sikh men stood guard outside their temples, located in nine different locations in London, armed with sticks and bats and ranging in age from 18 to 83.  The Turkish community, in a show of defiance to the rioters, patrolled the streets of their communities, kept their businesses open and showed that they were better and braver than the cowards who would destroy their homes.

Television presenter Dan Snow took down a looter in a shoe shop after chasing after rioters who beat up a business owner near his home.  Pauline Pierce has become a youtube sensation after her impassioned speech berating the rioters was caught on film, a speech born after seeing a young white man set upon by black thugs and begged her for help.

More stories are coming forth, and hopefully, following the Prime Minister’s green lighting of water cannong and rubber bullet use on rioters, the worst is behind.  In the meantime, turn your thoughts, or your prayers, to the victims of the riots, to Haroon Jahan, Ashraf Haziq, Khanza and her unborn child, to the hundreds left homeless, jobless, or worse.  Hopefully the healing can begin.

To read Max Hastings’ article about the riots, please click here.

To see Pauline Pierce stand up for what is right, please click here.

Thanks to the Daily Mail for their photos.  To see their coverage, go to www.DailyMail.co.uk


Andrea Brinson is a staple in Landmark Report's entertainment division and the in-house phenom for all things British.

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One Response to “London on fire, is there any good left?”

  1. Posted before the 16 000 cops sent in and the 1000+ who have been sentenced by the magistrates, Pat Condell really gets worked up over this as it does, for him, hit close to home:
    http://kaffir-kanuck.ca/2011/08/12/pathetic-pampe

    You've covered more of the side stories prior to the Cameron recalling Parliament than most MSMs have. More of the reality that the chickens have come home to roost:
    http://kaffir-kanuck.ca/2011/08/11/london-still-b

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