The first two weeks of August have been a troublesome period for those in the Great Britain; who have seen a riot in Tottenham escalate to widespread unrest across the city and beyond within 72 hours: plundering, attacks on security forces, the burning of houses, vehicles, and residential buildings. We, the Pakistanis, are more accustomed to seeing burnt out vehicles, and buildings on our TV screens on the streets of Baghdad, Kabul or Karachi than we are in London. So it’s a profound embarrassment for the UK which is a country without the profundity of troubles affecting those other places mentioned. It is hardly astonishing that people are trying to assess the reasons of this chaos.
The quickly contagious character of this vulgar unrest suggests it was not merely correlated to the shooting by police of a ‘suspect’ last week.
There will be days or weeks before the inquiry committees are set up, and months before they report their conclusions. Until then, the masses will keep on commenting as to the probable causes of what went wrong, and where. Whether Mark Duggan was shot by police because he was an imminent threat to anyone or not, may or may not emerge. Whether or not the nonviolent protest was carelessly handled by the police will be a subject of debate, rather than a factual finding. Legal questions will be raised about the closing of youth clubs and youth projects in response to the government’s debt condition; and the percentile of youth joblessness. Are these violent mobs of youth, who will likely pay a great deal for their destruction if they are caught on CCTV, victims of the bankers? Probably Yes, or Probably Not. Many will doubtlessly debate on these issues.
But no matter what the discourse, the ‘scenes’ will make UK contemplate long and hard about how disconnected they are from the segment of the public that is fully engaged in an immoral violent behavior. The press releases of democratic leaders, that such violent attitude is ‘unacceptable’, look at best a statement of the apparent, and at most evil a evidence that they had no clue that things were this terrible in their own kingdom. Just as with Breivik, and Lehman Brothers, they had NO CLUE it was approaching.
Firstly, just about all commentaries about community unity in the past decade had matured on the Muslim population, and how minutely they had assimilated in to the social order – to the elimination of all other troubles. Britain, like other hard-core capitalist countries, has fault lines based on religion, age, race and urban liberals versus ‘middle Englanders’ [not almost as inflated as the liberal versus conservative crack in the USA, which is described by vigorous mutual loathing]. The present state of affairs should seriously make UK government become conscious how much the mob-infused youth have in familiar with the suburban mainstream watching in dreadfulness. This is as huge a model of a deficiency of social consistency as one could ever anticipate emerging.
Secondly, this violent group has been failed by those in authority, the civilisation and the system for generations; and this disregard has been inflated by politicians mechanising the case that the Muslim population is the obstruction to social synchronisation in the general society. Those who had been diverting all concentration on Muslims rather than addressing the real social pulling-together issues must split some of the guilt for what is happening today.
Thirdly, whenever citizens address any anti-social actions and growing lack of reverence in society they do not critically tackle why these attitudes have degenerated over several decades. The debate usually halts at how the capitalist system has added to the inequalities. Some will soon comprehend that the credit-crunch has come back home to bite, and the splits in ‘Broken Britain’ have been uncovered.
But very seldom do we have an sincere debate on how liberal principles have contributed to the collapse of family life; and how the crash of families has advanced to a couple of generations of young people becoming disengaged from ethical and moral principles that their ancestors collectively held in the post war era.
Very seldom do we see a study of how the capitalist system led to this breakdown of family life, as populace had to prioritise work, and the quest of money, over the ties of family and the society. Though they may sometimes truthfully appraise how capitalism encouraged uncontrolled individualism, such that people think of themselves and not others, they do not really consider how that has portrayed and let from the banker to the looter, both who apparently only recognize their own sense of self-entitlement. They do not believe that a society that feels free to insult and disrespect the sacred, will eventually and inevitably disrespect itself.
The vices of the capitalist system: the principles of individualism, lack of reverence and nonexistence of any sense of eventual accountability – these are too essential and intensely disturbing for policy makers in the West to tackle.
With the evident cracks in the western system of governance emerging with the ongoing riots, credit crunches, and debt crises, it seems that the London Bridge is burning down again, and the Muslims in the West will strive hard to safeguard standards of family, society, and realisation of their Creator in their homes, in spite of opposition from those who hold ill feeling to Islam, and would have a preference to see them adopt British values. The Muslims in the East, like those on the subcontinent, the Far East, Central Asia and the Middle East will strive rigorously to question if their salvation lies in the pursuit of secular values of the evidently declining West, or in the understanding and implementation of the 1300 years time-tested system of governance of Islam in the form of Caliphate, one way or the other. The debate is but becoming astoundingly inevitable!