London’s Burning: assuage the anger by cleaning up!

Sir Jo Robinson … doth tell me of at least six or eight fires within these few days, and continually stories of fires; and real fires there have been in one place or other almost ever since the late great Fire, as if there was a fate over people for fire. – Samuel Pepys, May 5 1667

After five days of nonsensically violent rioting, horrific images of cars and buildings engulfed in flames are reminiscent of the Great Fire of 1666, which gutted and eviscerated the city of London. Hundreds of years later a murderous blaze threatens to destroy the morale of a city. But this time, the fire of destruction is rampant in the mindset of hundreds of looters who fight for no cause. The flames are an ‘ideology’ void of meaning and aggressive in action.

Blame: the government; socialist policies; poverty; colonialist guilt; decades of pandering to a now dictatorial, out-of-control youth… whatever – the point is this: there has been a loss of moral framework and accountability is an anomaly – globally, nationally and locally. Blame… because it’s easy, responsibility is a much more difficult verb to accept and apply. Here’s the message being sent by the looters; it’s fun, so why the hell not? Vacuous violence driven by enablement. An empty rampage. Opportunistic and barbaric. Soulless. Sickening.

Anger and argument are par for the course when tragedy strikes.

Justifiably so.

But London needs help – psychological help, political change, policy intervention and a change in heart – but more desperately, the city needs communities to forge a unit, to do what we can to help our neighbourhood…

On Thursday 4th August, Mark Duggan was killed by a shooting incident from a Police firearms officer on Ferry Lane Bridge, near Tottenham Hale Tube. A peaceful protest was held outside a local police station that evening demanding answers as to how it occurred.

That night, against the wishes of the family, groups took it upon themselves to begin some of the worst rioting the UK has seen since the 80s. They continued for 5 nights.

This is not about the riots. This is about the clean-up – Londoners who care, coming together to engender a sense of community.

CLICK HERE to join a Riot Clean-up; create your own clean-up team and see what’s going on in your area!

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