Moral equivalence and justification of criminal acts in the name of ‘lack of opportunity’ is lame and pathetic tool. The world is out there to conquer through honesty, integrity and decency and hard work. If one wants to burn and destroy he violates the social contract that makes us decent human beings. The fun leaning shrieking rioters were neither ”well-mannered” nor ”gentle.” It is clearly a literal fact that a moral chain that hold values in a society is only as strong as its weakest link. Thomas Reid’s Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, 1786, included this line:
“In every chain of reasoning, the evidence of the last conclusion can be no greater than that of the weakest link of the chain, whatever may be the strength of the rest.”
These rioters were no revolutionaries stirring rebellion out to break the prison of Bastille. I will yield to ‘Les miserable’ Victor Hugo classic; “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” is attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette; during one of the famines that occurred in France during the reign of her husband Louis XVI. Upon being alerted that the people were suffering due to widespread bread shortages, the Queen is said to have replied, “Then let them eat brioche. Ironically these rioters were looking for ” cakes” not bread. These were riots for IPods, I pads, new bicycles, latest sneakers and not bread. These rioters were no Jean Valjean released from prison in the Bagne of Toulon after nineteen years (five for stealing bread for his starving sister and her family, and fourteen more for numerous escape attempts).
Hijacking of a death became a catalyst like the electrocuted two youths in suburban Paris became the cause célèbre of the Persian rioters in 2005. No one fortunately painted the riots with colour, creed or believe. The reason was simple rioters had only looting and looting more in mind. There was no other connotation coined and that is most appalling aspects of these riots triviality of acts. No one luckily termed it as ” Intifadas” like in case of Paris the creed did become an issue the riots were talked as ” Parisian Intifadas.”
Stealing from a injured kid and walking away without remorse was gross. It touched the conscience of the nation as did the rider being brought down. There is no need of drawing parallels and impressing moral equivalence for such criminal transgressions for the sake of menial iPods and iPads. The modus operandi and the operational strategy of these new violent gangs is harvested from :
1- Broken homes with no real guidance, 2- Social security that ensures ‘cradle to grave’ shield , 3- High on drugs, 4- High on rap 5- Free sadistic video games 6- Free connectivity to plan mass attacks through BB 7- A ‘lethal mix of all the above’ face the ‘custodians of law’ whose hands are tied with EEC Human Right Commission obligations,
A ray of hope when the dark clouds held supreme was Tariq Jahan had the dignity, the compassion and the common sense to demand an end to the violence that had shattered his life with the senseless death of his son Haroon. The journalist asked fittingly if these riots and rioters were legacy of a society that believes in nothing?
“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?” — Rumi
As soon as we begin to see ourselves as a “victim or an innocent” we begin to act as one. We mutate into evil or good our thoughts become our words, our words become our actions, our actions become our character, our character becomes our destiny!! Nearly all of them had a cellular; as luck would have it the technology that helped them organised the riots also helped the police to seize them. Riots were a horror movie humans using this unique emerging technology harbinger for global consciousness to organize ‘fun raids’ of total lawlessness, mayhem and chaos. GPRS works both ways i.e. leaves a trial behind.
This is a breakdown of guidance, supervision, training and lack of imparting values within the most vulnerable of the next generation. Entitlements and uninterrupted enabling under performance need to be addressed. No dole outs without training and productivity is the best course. Retributive justice may turn them into hard core criminals all those convicted teens need to be accorded vocational training whilst interned.
My mentor and Guru Peter Russell is always The Global Brain at my bedside from the day I came to know of him. Peter Russell incorporated in e the importance of ‘global interconnectivity’ to a fascinating extreme and rising global consciousness; I always underscore ‘The Internet’ era or cyber age similar to the central nervous system of a newly evolved global organism and have drawn parallels between the development of the central nervous system in living organisms and creation of Web communications here on Earth, I believe that when our connections will reach equal to our neural connections of a single brain a critical mass an evolutionary leap to a global brain will occur. The human race will then evolve into a super organism acting as a whole instead of 7-9 billion individuals. In these riots we witnessed somewhat exactly opposite, technology coming off age and showed its ugly tentacles by lending a helping hand to arouse the demons of ‘hate and venom.’ Instead of projecting positive energy the negativity took a firm grip over the minds of man.
I wish that this self destructive streak should stop and they should realize that what great opportunity they have to learn, love and respect. Contentment and happiness are interrelated, once you sense how big the opportunity is when you see hunger and abject poverty in Somalia, you know that how grateful this nation and people here should be. Burning shops of ‘nation of shopkeepers’ is so sad. They work very hard for the morsel they have.
We all live in a house with a little glass door and a small key! There is a social contract that we humans have as a sign of our progress, from ‘cave age and age of moats;’ the time when looters , pillagers, foragers and tyrants use to be kept out with somewhat different approach.
Over the years and 1000 years north of Magna Carta, we reached a level where we have ‘glass doors with a small key;’ we are suppose to respect the thin screen of glass as a symbol of our maturity and civilization; when we smash the door we smash our contract with the society. When a glass door in a society becomes a luxury, it is a sign of rethink, where are our responsibilities before we demand rights? Rioters violated right to due process; an essential part of Magna Carta that Lord Denning described it as “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”.
What they did was callous and unforgettable but they did not require to carry a yellow passport that marks them as prisoners, they were not asked to pay any debt to society in spite of indiscriminate use of tax money. Unlike Jean Valjean these people were no victims of excess of justice; they made no efforts of redemption through grace or basic morality! They were narrowly looking for high fun; hi-value items, targeted those places only. This was complete show of indifference towards others. Let’s stop cushioning the crimes in silks of human niceties. When you burn a building with people inside it; it is not rioting, looting, it is share criminality. If you can do that you should be able to face the consequences too!
This behaviour when these ugly things happen is indistinguishable from an effort to push value structure backward into ignorance of medievalism. Neither the perpetrators of the crime nor the victim deserve it, hold back and think what have ‘you’ done, ‘you’ have blemished human effort to love and respect, may we all try to learn from it and say never again. Forget not, but forgive and move on to heal the wounds. That is the best way forward. My advice to those who struggle to make it to the top is when you are deep in the well think of those bricks that jut out slightly to help you out of the well. Life is like rock climbing; it is all about finding small fissures and gaps that help to scale what is almost a definite vertical wall. Don’t ever be deterred by the steepness and size of the challenge.
‘We are essentially voyeurs with a sadistic streak and a healthy dosage of Scheudenfreud.’ Indifference and nuclear families at large are root of juvenile and teen disarray; there is a need of benevolent and compassionate effort to instil and restore veneer of tidiness and some order on facets of society where chaos based on momentarily high of frenzy and hysterical anarchy has taken firm hold.
Let us face our worst demons head-on with the help of our common sense, our books and our pen. Is it a tall order for offending teens to learn and say no to temptations of breaking the thin line of conscience? No, the only way out from incessant cycle of drugs, violent video games, gangs and gadgets is this simple way. As parents we need to teach our youngsters some love; respect and deference of that ‘fine line’ in the sand and make them aware of the ‘man in the mirror.’
‘I do not cease swimming in the seas of love, rising with the wave, then descending; now the wave sustains me, and then I sink beneath it; love bears me away where there is no longer any shore.’ Hallaj