Tuesday, August 9, 2011

London Burning: Anarchy in the UK

It has been a terrible last few days for London town. I was particularly upset to see images of my old suburb, Brixton, being mobbed, ransacked and set alight. There was footage of shops less than 50ms from my old house being looted and destroyed.

Image from the Telegraph

My friends who are still living there were kept awake all night with fear, after triple-locking the doors they kept vigil to the sounds of rioters outside, sirens and police choppers circling above. They sent updates throughout the night via facebook and twitter. Judging from tweets and facebook status updates, everyone in London is terrified.

Image from the Sydney Morning Herald

I do not understand why this is happening. There is no rhyme or reason to it. It’s mindless destruction for destruction’s sake. It’s mainly kids who’ve been doing this. Little bastards. Don’t they realise how lucky they are to live in a peaceful country? They’re not living with war or persecution. They’re creating anarchy and fear just because they can.

Source here

Meantime, on a happier note from London: I had a nice delivery arrive from the UK last week: my luggage. Two suitcases and one tea chest showed up FIVE MONTHS after I shipped them. Ridiculous! Anyway, it took me several days to unpack and suffice to say, my wardrobe is now EXPLODING! In amongst all the clothes was my very precious stash of African fabrics that I purchased from the markets in my old London suburb of Brixton. The joyous colours and vivid patterns make me think of the wonderful smiling faces of the locals and the crazy vibrant church outfits worn by the African Mammas on a Sunday for church.

It was such a joyful, creative and colourful suburb with a strong sense of community that had strengthened immensely since the original Brixton riots 30 years ago. I was so disappointed to see that this violence had been brought down on the community for a second time - and not even for a reason. Last time it was an uprising against racist suppression by the police: this time it is for nothing but greed and ignorance.

The fabrics arrived in the same shopping bag that I purchased them in with the logo of the shop in which I bought them: Freeman Textiles in Market Row – part of the labyrinthine covered markets. It makes me think of the family that ran this little shop and indeed of all the other small businesses in the area, so many of which have been unfairly targeted by vandals and looters. I wonder how they will pick up the pieces, if their businesses will survive and how they will cope with their losses.

I think in this dark time for London, when the streets are plagued by thugs and dickheads, it’s important for the rest of the community to pull together, celebrate the positive things that they can and not let their spirits be dampened.

So to celebrate the positive, I've uploaded images of the bold, cheery prints of the fabrics from Brixton which serves as a reminder of the joyful, colourful and cultural spirit of the community that will overcome this hardship.

I’ll leave you with this amazing quote and symbol of hope from Counciller Steve Reed – Leader of that Borough’s Council (from this article). He refers to local business Ms Cupcake which was located a street behind me and I love this story!

“...I was astonished to find Ms Cupcake, owner of a bakery on Brixton’s Coldharbour Lane, out in Brixton this morning handing out brightly-coloured iced cakes. She told me this was no day to sell cakes, and she wanted to show the world the true face of Brixton –smiling, generous, and big-hearted. So she came out to spread a little love in the form of her cupcakes. That for me is what Brixton’s really about. And that’s why last night’s incidents will not scar our community. This is a community that is strong, cohesive, and proud of itself. No mindless thugs are going to damage that.”

I will have to get sewing with all these wonderful fabrics to create a sartorial tribute to Brixton, the amazing community and my time there!

1 comment:

  1. http://www.urban75.net/forums/threads/peace-one-love-brixton-graffiti-on-burnt-out-footlocker-store-brixton.279323/

    We love Brixton :)