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.