A father speaks of his sons death, David Cameron pokes the Anonymous wasp hive with his stick and CBS fires up with the attention grabbing headline of “Muslims’ deaths in UK riots widen ethnic rifts”. With the sad news of 4 deaths and billions of dollars of damage, is this an excuse for privacy and freedom to be swept aside once more?
Oh equality and transparency, how did you ever become such an elusive pillar of democracy? It never ceases to amaze me how one class of society can be caught for petty crime and sent to jail, while others who “loot” the government , thus the citizens they work for end up with a slap on the wrist.
By no means do I encourage or condone the acts of rioters but I have to admit, I do find it somewhat hypocritical that in so many cases where the rich are involved in some form of fraud or an act in which they benefit financially, say for example “Parliamentarians looting their citizens funds with fraudulent expenses” or “Hedge fund managers looting the financial system”, the resulting conviction is usually a slap on the wrist compared to one boy caught with a case of bottled water being given a six-month jail sentence.. Both are guilty, but one always seems to get a lighter sentence.
Now I have to be honest and say that I don’t know the story behind why he got 6 months in jail for a bottle of water, but if the judge believes he should get 6 months in jail for that crime, then looting the financial system for millions of dollars should equate to a life sentence. Equality should be across all classes, it just seems as if it is a lot easier to throw a heavy handed sentence to the lower class than it is a high rolling fund manager.
Watching the news the question was rarely, if ever asked, as to why so many were willing to be involved in the riots? While I’m sure many were there for the “lulz”, many were there due to anger and a feeling of being an outcast of society, I doubt there would have been many young well paid youths in that decided to get involved. As Marcus Howe an activist and columnist for “The Voice” pointed out, there is a feeling of despair among youths in some parts of society and what he called an “insurrection of the masses.” During the interview the anchor from the BBC Fiona Armstrong asked Howe if he had participated in any riots:
“You are not a stranger to riots yourself I understand, are you? You have taken part in them yourself?”
Really BBC? Rather than interviewing someone to get information, sounds like you are fishing for a headline.
“I have never taken part in a single riot. I’ve been on demonstrations that ended up in a conflict…Have some respect for an old West Indian negro and stop accusing me of being a rioter because you wanted for me to get abusive. You just sound idiotic — have some respect.”
Coming back to the charges that are being laid on rioters, the Guardian gave another example of a first time offending electrical engineering student,
“At Camberwell Green magistrates, Nicholas Robinson, 23, an electrical engineering student with no previous convictions, was jailed for the maximum permitted six months after pleading guilty to stealing bottles of water worth £3.50 from Lidl in Brixton. He had been walking back from his girlfriend’s house in the early hours of Monday morning when he saw the store being looted, his lawyer said, and had taken the opportunity to go in and help himself to a case of water because he was thirsty. He was caught up in the moment, and was ashamed of his actions, his defence said.
But the prosecution told judge Alan Baldwin: “This defendant has contributed through his action to criminal activities to the atmosphere of chaos and sheer lawlessness.” There were gasps from the public gallery as his sentence was delivered.”
and in the same article,
“Again and again, the judges repeated the refrain “jurisdiction is declined”. They considered the maximum powers of sentencing available to magistrates – six months in prison, or a £5,000 fine – to be insufficient, and so referred the case to the crown courts, where the cases will be heard before a jury. Very few of the accused were granted bail. At least one solicitor outside court six expressed concern at some of the courts’ decisions, on a day when David Cameron had vowed that anyone charged with rioting should be remanded in custody and anyone convicted should expect to go to jail.”
So the British PM, seems to be on a roll here, not only does he want anyone charged to be remanded, but msnbc is reporting that Cameron has been in touch with US law enforcement,
“This is a prime minister who has a clear idea of what he wants to do,” Bratton told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “He sees this crisis as a way to bring change. The police force there can be a catalyst for that. I’m very optimistic.”
What these changes exactly are we are yet to see, but here’s a hint from Cameron,
“Everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organised via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill,”
“And when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them. So we are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.”
IB Times reports,
In a question and answer session following the statement, the PM went on to reveal that the UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, would meet with Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion to discuss the three companies responsibilities regarding censoring dangerous messages.
In the same meeting Cameron also stated that all broadcasters, had a “responsibility” to hand
over any unused footage of the riots to the police. The PM did not clarify whether the government would seek to make this “responsibility” a legal mandate — such attempts have previously met with fierce resistance from the British press.
When governments use the word Censorship I really do begin to get worried. In Australia there was recently a lot of talk as the government began trials of an internet filter. Their reasoning? To stop child pornography. While it is a noble cause, anyone who knows anything about the series of tubes known as the internet, should also know that you cant stop anything on the internet, a filter can be ignored and you can get to what you want pretty easily.
The problem with censorship is that the government can decide that a game called “Left 4 Dead” should not be allowed into Australia as it is apparently too gory. So even though the average age of a gamer is 30+ these days, rather than slap a R18 rating on it, the government has decided we cant tell the difference between zombies and a real life human so censorship must be applied.
Where it scares me even more is that if a filter is setup, the government may decide that due to the risks of fundamentalism any thing that has to do with Islam must be filtered out, anything to do with the current prime minster that is not in his favour must be filtered out, anything to do with Anonymous, must be filtered out, Wikileaks must be filtered out and so on and so forth. Oh and by the way, they wont tell you whats on the filter, just trust that your government knows whats best. Where does it stop?
Historically governments have used fear to enact loss of privacy and freedom over and over again, many of the laws enacted post 9/11 would never of got through prior to 9/11 and now the UK is going to be tested with post riot fear. I can see many other governments around the world using any new laws enacted in the UK as a precedent to why it is needed in X, Y, Z country soon after.
Anonymous has already noticed the PM’s comments and it will be interesting to see where they take it. There is already talk that many fake “Anonymous” posts and tweets are out there trying to implicate them in a lot of the violence. While Anonymous has taken notice of the latest comments from the British PM, it doesn’t look like they have anything planned yet. Over the last week most of the tweets have been about trying to get the info about the Brazillian scandal out into the news, but the UK riots have been so loud I don’t think they got the coverage they were after.
As for the Muslim response I want to point out a video I came across. This is the father of Haroon Jahan, one of the 3 young guys that was run over protecting their neighborhood in the UK.
2 things I want to explain before you watch the video,
I get the feeling that the reporter is trying to get a response for a nice grab to put on the news when he says “Do you blame the government or Police”. I can see it now, “Muslim father wants Jihad against UK Government for death of his son”. Fortunately, this father who has just lost his son reacted in the way in which a true Muslim should, not with anger and spite, but with faith and sabr (patience).
Qadar – or the the belief in fate. Good old Wikipedia has the following
“The phrase reflects a Muslim doctrine that Allah has measured out the span of every person’s life, their lot of good or ill fortune, and the fruits of their efforts. When referring to the future, Muslims frequently qualify any predictions of what will come to pass with the phrase Insha’Allah, Arabic for “if God wills [it].” The phrase recognizes that human knowledge of the future is limited, and that all that may or may not come to pass is under the control of God.”
Basically this father who has just lost his son has the sabr (patience) to not react violently but puts his sons death in the hands of Allah to say that his time had come and it was time for him to return to Allah.
Father after the death of his son during UK riots
Another video I want to point out is one in which a group of Sikhs and Muslims gathered the following night after Haroon’s death. They are debating whether or not to protest in the name of the 3 youths who died. Some of the group want to march while others are fearful that it will lead to more trouble.
“We need to tell the media we will not tolerate the tyranny, but we will not react either. We are capable, but we will not do it,” he said.
He concluded that there were two possible outcomes – that they would protest, and the media would label them “extremists”, or that they would act “nobly” and be seen as a community united. He added: “You decide. I will stand with you all the way.”
The article continues with
After more debate, one man stepped forward and lifted his voice above the murmurs: “Make sure you’re not marching in the name of the three brothers that died. Because if you’re gonna march… in their name, and you’re rioting, it is a disgrace.”
There were grunts of approval. Several people said they would go home. A handful of the masked youths walked away. Those who remained stood in near silence, heads bowed as they listened to Sikh and Muslim prayers.
To see the video and read the article in the Guardian click on the image below.