Monday, August 8, 2011

London summer, Arab spring

Some commenters are evoking the Arab spring in the context of the ongoing events in London.  The comparison is not especially apt.  For a glimpse of the outbursts in the poorest of Arab countries, Yemen, click here.  A better comparison, if one with an Arab component is desired, would be to the orgy of car-torchings by lumpenized North Africans in the banlieue of Paris, a couple of years ago.

[Update 10 Aug 2011]
Another novel wrinkle [keyword: The World Upside Down]:  British Muslims (Turks and Bengalis) defending their neighborhoods against the invading hordes.   What the police could not or would not do, the citizens did, standing firm.  -- Even so, the article as written is open to grave objections, loudly voiced by the readers' comments.

Compare now also this.   Sir, we grieve with your loss, and we salute your forbearance.
A face like Job, or Abraham.

A reason this is a significant story, is that it is not essentially restricted to England.  This wasn't sparked by a sudden crumpet-shortage.  What happened in London and Birmingham, could happen in Amsterdam and Berlin.
These are difficult times.
Here I am, supposed to be merrily blogging away  about Cantorian Realism, with side-glances at humble woodchucks and monostichs-about-monotremes; but the world outside our windows keeps throbbing, throbbing.   It is difficult to contemplate the cosmos sub specie aeternitatis when your own neighborhood, or even that of Tottenham, is in flames. (As regards the former:  Our next-door neighbor, having ceased making mortgage payments, burned his house to the ground -- nearly taking ours with it -- apparently figuring that, if he couldn't have it, neither could anyone else.  As Saint Hunter would put it:  Bad craziness.)


There was a hauntingly memorable movie awhile back, starring Clive Owens, called “Children of Men”.  It depicts a London and environs that is not so much post-apocalyptic  as post-anything-that’s-any-good:  there hasn’t been a nuclear war, or a nuclear winter;  space aliens have not landed, no asteroid has hit.  Yet the populace shuffles in glum and colorless clumps;  things are disconnected and staticky; random little fires burn here and there;  the streets, the people  are disheveled;  trash and graffiti everywhere.
This movie was brought to mind as I watched in amazement the scenes playing out live in London.  Giant fires, and no fire-trucks;  gangs of looters, and no police, or a police curiously paralyzed.  Streets devoid of traffic, and otherwise either empty or momentarily mobbed;  the whole scene lit, as on a movie-set, by the eerie orangey-vermillion light of arson.  Masked and hooded figures moved, now erratically, now methodically, like the sheeted dead.

[Update 16 Aug 2011]
After the strangely passive police response, the (shall we say) muscular  judicial response.
Consider he case of a multi-level loser  who posted some inflammatory material on Facebook.  But then:
" Blackshaw was the only person who turned up to his own riot and was promptly arrested by police."
 Poor schmuck.  He will probably go to his grave  without ever having been properly laid.
But the matter of interest here is (U B the judge!):
* Do you think the fellow was subsequently charged with a crime?
* If so, what sentence do you imagine was handed down?
Answers here.


  1. yodellingnarcissus@hotmail.comOctober 21, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    Dr Justice

    Worth mentioning perhaps some later developments in the story of Tariq Jahan who made such a memorable impact in Birmingham:

    First here:

    Where he is awarded a 'Pride of Britain Award' for his actions on the day. Richly deserved but still not enough.

    On the other hand:

    Just goes to show that perhaps no one is perfect, or perhaps that anyone can be a hero at the right place and time.

  2. Oof. Reminds me of this guy:
    Davis had even less excuse -- parking-lot rage...