It’s difficult for me to write much on the London riots at the moment; rest assured I will have a lot to say once I return home. I couldn’t agree more with this article written by Nina Power in the Guardian. It is overwhelmingly clear who is rioting and not hard to work out why. Outbreaks are occurring, as they have done for decades, in the impoverished inner cities – most reading these may not know of Brixton, Toxteth & Handsworth riots of the 1980s. It is in these environments that the working class youth grow up, amidst a backdrop of poverty, crime and disillusionment; the majority of young men looting London’s streets right now simply have nothing to lose. Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Islington all lie in the top ten most deprived boroughs in England (see link on child poverty in London). It doesn’t take a giant leap to also notice that it is precisely these areas that are lay home to the knife-wielding teenage gangs that make post codes no-go areas. It is in these areas that many fatherless kids grow up with no role models or aspirations to succeed in life. It is all too easy to condemn these young men as nothing more than mindless thugs and criminals; it takes a little more to look beyond the media images and to understand why a generation of London has so much frustration and anger. Successive governments have routinely failed to solve the problems of unemployment and social strife that bleed these communities dry. Delve just a little bit deeper and you see that it is also these boroughs that are most reliant on government spending and logically will be those most effected by the spending cuts. There seems to be no problem throwing a few billion into East London when it comes to building the building the glamourous, investor-friendly Olympic village. Shame they never asked the residents of Stratford their views on 2012.
I’m posting this Taskforce track for two reasons: firstly its one of the best UK hip hop tracks every made. Secondly it offers a perfect description of the shameful environment in which many of my generation grown up in the UK.
On a lighter note I arrived in Dharamasala at 5am today. Have just visited the Dalia Lama’s temple. The town is home to the exiled Tibetan community and is situated at around 2000m. We have an incredible view of the valley from our hostel window and am planning on trekking the Indrahara Pass in the coming days.