So I got into a twitter dispute with my good friends last night about the riots that took place in London…
Grrr. Seriously?! If I see a #prayforlondon in my feed, I shall be vexed and unfollow. Try to be sensible please. Not a Japan tragedy ffs.
@eevilmidget Bit insensitive. We know it's not Japan but people's homes/businesses have been burnt to the ground. They just want it to stop.
@piffpaffpooff @eevilmidget a lot insensitive actually. Wasn't going to say anything but as it's been mentioned...
@liniebar @piffpaffpooff Not at alI. I disagree with distasteful recycling of emotionally embedded hashtags for the sake of trending drama.
@liniebar @piffpaffpooff Of course I understand suffering of Londoners + prayers are needed. But why piggyback on other cities' tragedies?
@eevilmidget @liniebar That's not what your tweet implied though. It implied people are overreacting to the riots as being a traumatic event.
@piffpaffpooff @liniebar but some people have overreacted. Best to avoid comparing tragedies though London is not the scale of Japan's.
@eevilmidget No, not scale of Japan but kids who think it's ok to burn buildings that other people are in? Just as terrifying in its own way.
@eevilmidget @piffpaffpooff I love you Rina, but I'm afraid I'm unfollowing you until next week as I can't understand your insensitivity. X
@piffpaffpooff @eevilmidget @liniebar I'm afraid I completely agree with P and L on this one Rina, not very well thought out...
Well... after giving it further consideration with an overnight test, herewith the context for my point of view, which I still uphold.
Sense & Sensibility
Perhaps I bordered on being insensitive. Alternatively, maybe I’m just not hypersensitive.
I was not questioning the validity of whether or not victims and spectators of the riot felt that the situation was shocking, appalling, heart-breaking, and terrifying. I was protesting at the use of a one-size-fits all sentimentality for significantly nuanced types of tragedy. Despite the prolific use of the ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ mantra, people were clearly indulgently marinating in the gloom of the situation.
The #prayforlondon hashtag was referencing #prayforjapan, and I thought such a comparison lacked perspective. Again, this is not to disqualify the genuine sorrow of Londoners, but what happened in Japan was catastrophic. The world could only hope for divine intervention as it witnessed the unstoppable force of nature. What happened in London was neither unfathomable nor implausible. It was unjustified and woeful destruction, but not a calamity.
Moreover, social unrest in a mega-city is hardly unforeseeable and unhistorical. Yes, the metropolis is meant to represent civility, but the social unsociability of man will intermittently burst into various forms of unrest. It’s like expecting life in the Wild West without the threat of saloon shootouts.
There was no need for extra fubar metaphors. It was not anarchy, just as it was not a violent demonstration against social oppression. The arson attacks did not engulf London in a 1666 bonfire. I understand that people desperately wanted the disorder to cease.
Another issue with #prayforlondon is that the situation actually required human intercession. Domine dirige nos. Grab a sword and shield, and defend people! Demonstrative of this was how the Turkish shopkeepers in Dalston exercised the power of active citizenship. It was still within the remit of communities to physically contribute to the protection of property. Each capable Londoner has accountability. As the city burned, where were the pails of water and adult barricades? Where were the parents of these misguided adolescents?
Manila has endemic corruption, with a squatter population of millions, in a country that is registered as a failed state. Benefit cuts? We have no NHS, no free education, or welfare support. Many do not appreciate the fact that in the UK, there is still a first world government system that heralds the security of its citizens. Something in society always needs to be fixed. Nevertheless, until people start forsaking the country in droves of diaspora proportions, I cannot accept the hyperbole of a Broken Britain. Again, I plead for less sensationalist hysteria please.
O judgment! Tou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason.
The rioters were undoubtedly stupid and selfish. Looting is not an acceptable recourse for the alleged ‘have-nots’. The ‘poor neglected’ card cannot excuse anti-social behaviour, in the same way that using your colour, gender, or religion is a pitiful societal impulse for being uncivil. People always have the choice to make better decisions that are universally human, regardless of money or class.
The Devil Made Me Do It!
Blaming BlackBerry technology is Basically Bonkers. BBM’s lack of traceablity should be upheld, especially in view of the recent NOTW outrage about the breach of privacy laws.
As for Research In Motion, I’d be interested to see if the company decides to become a real brand advocate to tackle the need to do something about all the anti-social behaviour of the UK. That 37% per cent of 16-24 year olds using their smartphones is an opportunity for doing something really good for business.