|Looters outside a shop in hackney. Photograph: Kerim Okten/EPA|
Several days later, with riots still going on(!!!), Swedish news report that the start of the riots was when a father of four was shot to death by the police. They also explained that the police had earlier let on that the man had shot first, but that investigations had now shown that the man's gun had never been fired...!
This was reported on the same day as UK prime minister David Cameron went out with the statement that they were going to evict people who had been involved in the riots, and their families, from government subsided homes...
...Ok, that's not the analysis I expected...
And that's where, for a moment, I thought that maybe it was not the UK I was hearing about. It sounded so much like Tunisia a few months back! This was just what you would expect from any underdeveloped country with a despotic regime: Police brutality sparks riots as the poor people turn to rage, feeling that they've had more than they can take. The despotic regime answers by more oppression against these poor people, creating more frustration and largening the divide between the people and the power, disillusioning the youth, but thinking that the method will work if they just manage to scare everybody into obedience, into hiding their true feelings. A terror regime.
My fiance laughed when he heard about it, and said: "This could just be Kenya!". (He's Kenyan.)
But it wasn't Kenya. And it wasn't Tunisia. It was no country that we have - up till now - considered underdeveloped. It WAS in fact the UK.
UK government, rethink!! Where's the love?? You can never create a society where people are happy and prosperous by terrorising the population! By kicking out the innocent children, parents and spouses of rioters on the street! By creating a larger and larger divide in society, between the rich and the poor, or between the masses and the few in power! Don't you know that people who feel like they belong to the society are productive members of it, whereas those who feel like they are outsiders and as if society would be happier if they just seized to exist, often do lots of harm to this same society, as well as to themselves, and people in their proximity? Well, to which category do you think the poor children and spouses that you are about to send to the streets will belong?... Maybe that is why collective punishment is prohibited by international law. It creates more bad than good.
Well, you had better do better. If your goal is for your country to stay rich and prosperous, with a largely happy, loving and creative population, simply if you want to make a country where people can have good lives, now and in future, then you'd better build the foundation: A population where everybody feels included. Where they feel that their rights are being respected, and if not, then they can protest and know that society will bring them justice.
If on the other hand your goal is simply to stay in power as long as possible, and you don't care which methods you have to use or how your people feel, or for that matter, that you may do great harm to your society that it will take future governments a generation or two to fix... Well, perhaps even then you should consider doing better. We all know what happened to the Tunisian government, after they had sparked the rage of their poor, and then tried to stop the riots with more oppression.