Smash and Grab
It was a blazing hot night in London.
I wasn’t there. I was in Larnaca, Cyprus,
at my second home with my family;
mum, sister and my yiayia and bapou
(that means grandparents in Greek,
a language that I can barely speak).
I try to understand the news in Greek;
most words beyond my comprehension
but those images spoke for themselves.
A murder. A protest. Rioting. Looting. Fires.
A few long distance phone calls and texts
to check my nearest and dearest at home
and to get a clearer understanding
of how this all started and how it might end.
From a distance it looked quite exciting,
masked youths and riot police fighting.
From a distance I didn’t think about houses,
family businesses and innocent passersby.
Having turned off our international roaming,
we knew nothing of plans on BB Messenger
to replicate these riots, to copy cat this chaos,
duplicate the destruction, to loot high streets
across capital and country… From a distance
it just looked like a hot night in London.
Hot tempers flared by unanswered questions.
Violent cries to police silence. Arson and greed
and did I mention greed? Protest impersonators
walking home with flat screens to be mounted
up on their walls like trophies or sold instead.
What a way to disrespect the recently dead.
At that point I felt so sorry for Mark’s family
whose personal peaceful protest was hijacked.
Then further news of Syria and of Somalia
makes Londoners look like spoilt children.
“What do we want?” “Everything!”
“When do we want it?” “Now!”
We have raised these children. We can’t just blame
the parents, social media, the police or politicians.
In a way, I was glad to see our young people realised
their power that hot night, even if only in destruction.
With such inflation on an education what can you expect
but ignorant behaviour from those who cannot afford it?
But my university degree gives me
no better understanding right now.
It’s no wonder no one looted the libraries.
They wanted trainers so they could run
from you and your bullets, made of metal,
rubber and discriminatory legislation.
Forget about future aspirations; not waiting for
2012 to go for gold but a smash and grab relay,
jack the jewellery shop then down to Dixons
so they could watch their own instant replay
in High Definition on wide screen plasma TV.
But why do these children hate a country
that so many would literally die to get to,
seeking asylum and refuge, running
from war and discrimination to us?
Where we ignore and we pretend,
are politically correct and politically inept,
do nothing about anything we can possibly
avoid or sweep under the rug.
As a carpet of crime covers this country,
what’s criminal is the neglect with which
we have raised these children.