Oh, London

I love London.

First things first, this is just a braindump. After watching the events of the last seventy-two hours unfold I needed to write *something*. This is my point-of-view, flawed as it may be.

I’m writing this at two in the afternoon, in my bedroom at my parents’ house in Forres.

It’s quiet, the only noise the tapping of keys, the occasional ripple of laughter from downstairs where my brother watches TV, a seagull cawing overhead or a car pulling into our cul de sac. It’s bizarre to contrast this rural serenity with what’s been unfolding in London, my other hometown, over the last few days.

The potted version, for those of you not already glued to twitter and the news outlets: Last week, police in Tottenham, an area in North London, apprehended a man called Mark Duggan, looking to arrest him. This whole encounter is currently being investigated, but the situation sadly ended with Mr Duggan being shot.

Fast-forward to Saturday, where a concerned group of people met in Tottenham to protest the shooting of Mark Duggan. Within hours, this protest had morphed into a full scale riot, with police being assaulted, cars being torched, shops being looted, fires being set.

This spread further on Sunday night, to Hackney, to Enfield.

And last night to Croydon, Ealing, Camden, Lewisham, Clapham, Chalk Farm and elsewhere. It’s terrifying watching the news being broadcast from places you know and seeing smashed glass and destruction and damage. I can only imagine how scary it is for my friends and loved ones down there. It makes me so sad to see what is being done to our city. The violence has also spread to Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool…

Tonight there are rumours of more unrest, but with up to an extra 10,000 police promised, hopefully less damage will be inflicted. I sincerely hope the influx helps to bring peace to the city, and will be keeping the brave people of our emergency services in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for all that you do.

I’m also thinking of my friends down there in London and hoping they stay safe and well – one of the most shocking parts of these riots for me has been the indiscriminate violence. I hope by early evening all my friends are safely home and that the evening passes without incident.

My heart breaks for a city where so many have lost homes and businesses…I watch the news unfold and want to cry seeing familiar places as the backdrops to violence, destruction, and horror.

I’ve been amazed at the slowness of the Government to react, I must say – there was serious rioting on Saturday, and yet both David Cameron (our PM) and Boris Johnson (Mayor of London) only made the call to return on Monday afternoon. Who knows what this delay will mean for the people of London and for both of their political careers…

I have been shocked by what some Londoners have chosen to do to our city, but also heartened by the community and pulling together that is happening – cleanup operations, people making tea for police who’ve been hard at work, support for businesses that have been looted. I hope that once the riots have dissipated and the dust has settled we can use these events as a catalyst to move on together and to make London a safer, happier place.

Stay safe, London lovelies.

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Some links on this:

The Guardian’s (excellent) live feed.

Caring costs: but so do riots

Britishness = tea.

Injured boy robbed (NB not my title on the Youtube vid)

Hurrah for all the clean up teams!

Looters on the World Service

Police overrun in Woolwich


  1. Simon Varwell
    9th August 2011 / 2:41 pm

    Must be surreal for you to be so far away from your normal surroundings and circle of friends when all this is happening. Do hope it calms down soon and you guys are OK.

  2. Riot Kitty
    9th August 2011 / 2:57 pm

    I have been thinking of you as I read the stories, and glad you are safe and far away for now. Hugs!

  3. Shan
    9th August 2011 / 5:06 pm

    It's so sad to see. I was heartbroken last summer when Toronto was taken over by G20 riots. It was sad to see my city being trashed, but it's nowhere near the levels of what is happening there. My parents are in London right now, so we're definitely keeping watch and praying for all people in London. It must be hard for you to watch from far away but I'm glad you are safe.

  4. Wiwille
    9th August 2011 / 8:46 pm

    I'm glad to see you're safe.

  5. Christielli
    10th August 2011 / 4:41 am

    I've been thinking about you as I've been reading about the riots, and I'm glad you are safe up in Forres. Mob mentality is ugly. I can understand how disappointed you can be with your government's response during times like these; we felt the same during the G20 riots in Toronto. Stay safe and my thoughts are with London.

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