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Riots of reality and states of illusion
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-08-15 08:20:37
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The last few days the news are full of reports from England and most of them portray groups of young criminals with a lot of them coming from wealthy or middle class families vandalizing and destroying the estates of hard working people. And today I read in one of the online news that a family was kicked out of their council home because their son was a suspected looter. The same time the British PM threatens to call the army to help and “lawful” or “good” citizens take over and clean their city. In the meantime nobody bothers to ask or at least wander why all this happens, why I kid from a middle class family looter a shop with clothes and why a good student and model pupil puts fire on a show shop.

Actually if the thousands of kids that took the London streets - despite of what started it and from the look of it it was just an excuse – are young criminals and a lost generation then Britain is really lost! And the British government and in general the British authorities think that punishing exemplarily hard kids of sixteen and eighteen they found a solution then they are doomed like the authorities were back in sixties and seventies dealing with hooliganism before understanding that the phenomenon had nothing to do with football.

And haven’t we heard all these before? A few trouble makers, known-unknown petit criminals causing all the trouble and nobody is wandering first of all if they are just a few how the hell manage to turn into hell cities like Athens, Paris and London and secondly how these few transmit into thousands in the news agencies’ photos. And to get things worst something we all admire during the rebelling in Egypt, Syria and Middle East now suddenly they became driven liars in Athens, Paris and London? Because the social media participated in the whole thing and they connected the most reverse sides of the youth of the British society. It was not the Pakistani second generation immigrant and the unemployed English boy, it was all British people doesn’t matter their background. And in Paris it was just the same it was young people doesn’t matter their origins colour or background and in Athens it was just the same. What they all had in common it was the feeling of a lost paradise, a hopeless future and the murder of their dreams. Has anybody realized that nowadays we are talking in Europe and USA about second and third generation of unemployed? Generations that grow up in benefits and they think that this is a way of living and anything else is stolen from them and forbidden.

And coming to the middle class, the middle class in Europe has come closer to the working class than to the money holding upper class. Families that could offer to their kids’ private education turn nowadays more and more often to the public schools and university fees have become privilege and not a right to study. I wrote the same things a year ago while the riots in Athens were on their peak and nothing has change today with the London riots. These are kids who have seen their dreams murdered and the unemployment their only way. How do you expect a seventeen year-old even a twenty year-old despite background to accept that the only way to survive is if your family has money?

Of course you feel sorry for the shops’ owners who saw in hours their investments vanish is smoke and yes most likely they are hard working people who created what they created through hard working and often battling contrary to economic status but in the eyes of these young people they represent the other side, the establishment and in extension the greed of the markets or somebody tries to tell me that a person nowadays created an economic empire out of hard work and not sometimes stepping over dead bodies? Even I in my fifties cannot believe that.

But what impressed me more reading all the news and all the announcements from Britain was the feeling that politicians, state, establishment and the media live in a different reality which makes me at least questioning their real agenda. They think that by saying that we living hard times and we need to cut things from everywhere even if that means more poverty, more unemployment, more misery and the same time the only thing that seem to real interest them is how the stock market is doing do they really expect the people to accept it? And if till now in Athens, in Paris and in London they had to do with sixteen, seventeen and twenty year-olds what are they going to do when the crowd will be with thirty, forty and fifty year-olds?

Berlusconi without second thought said that Italy has to find in the next few months 42 billion Euros with measures like firing civil servants and raising taxis. Cameron has already attacked a long time sickening welfare state with unbelievable cuts with pompous and Victorian announcements, Sarkozy has totally lost control of his economic policy and Merkel looks more like a bank’s clerk that battles for the banks’ interests than a chancellor; Obama is making compromises he hadn’t even see in his nightmares in the name of the American economic stability and the same time the very few who hold the global economy and control the stock markets can talk about a future. The rest can only balance between the misery and the despair and I’m afraid despair is a very bad adviser when you are young.

So before taking measures the states have better stop rioting the people’s reality and come out of their illusions after all the governments and governors very Machiavellian often forget that they are there not to rule but to manage the interests of the people and not their voters which lately are much less than the real numbers of the people who live in their countries as lately elections shown us in many countries in the west.


P.S. The British government according to the news got lately an American advisor, a former N.Y. sheriff who according the news agencies will advice PM Cameron on how to react to riots. And will his advice include successful past from his American counterparts? How to create ghettoes or how to manipulate minorities with drugs?

Concluding and in the name of this good “cooperation” between USA and Europe I would suggest some former Greek Prime Ministers and economic ministers as advisers for the American president to deal with the debt!!!

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Emanuel Paparella2011-08-15 10:43:37
Thanks for helping us to see the bigger picture, Thanos. Indeed, as Tina Power has written as a conclusion to a recent article in The Guardian (titled “There is a context to London’s riots that can’t be ignored”):

“Images of burning buildings, cars aflame and stripped-out shops may provide spectacular fodder for a restless media, ever hungry for new stories and fresh groups to demonize, but we will understand nothing of these events if we ignore the history and the context in which they occur.”

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