Reflections on a riot

So everyone knows what has been going on in England these past few days. I’m not going to write about why people are going around rioting and looting, there are already plenty of people doing that, I just need to get out a few frustrations right now.

Friends and family in Australia have been asking if we are OK, hoping that we have not been affected by the riots in London where we choose to live. The short answer is yes we are OK, I mean we had nothing stolen from us, we didn’t have our home or car burnt down, we didn’t even see any of the trouble first hand. On the surface we are OK, but in my head… not really.

This whole episode has been deeply indigo coloured in my mind. I never thought I would have a use for that colour of the rainbow until this week. For me it started with reading a few tweets on Saturday night while I was at a house party out of town. I hoped that things would blow over by the time we returned to London the next day and didn’t worry about it.

I spent Monday in a bit of a cocoon, doing my own thing because my Internet wasn’t working properly, and didn’t realise until late afternoon when I finally got back onto Twitter that the rioting had continued on Sunday night. I was still a bit bewildered by the concept of rioting so I went about my business, rocking up to the group exercise session in Hyde Park as per usual.

Even when the instructor was explaining that they had been advised to cancel I wasn’t taking the threat seriously. He took a straw poll and we went ahead with the session anyway. Just as we were about to finish someone checked their phone and exclaimed that Oxford Circus was on fire! We did some quick stretches, noticing for the first time properly the sound of sirens in the background, and made a bee-line for our quickest route home. It was a long night on Monday night, I think this was the worst night of rioting and looting in London. I could hear sirens going almost constantly and it was difficult getting to sleep.

On Tuesday I was thinking that maybe I could go to the movies to fill in some time but I quickly changed my mind when I saw a friend update her status around lunch time saying they were being sent home from work in anticipation of more trouble. I spent the day immersed in online updates and analysis about the situation, not daring to go outside even to check the mailbox. My evening pilates class had been canceled due to trouble in the area the night before and I apprehensively phoned for take-away half expecting them to refuse my order because everyone, employees included, should be safely in their own homes by now – locking the doors and barring the windows.

It was Tuesday night that the police force in London was trebled and by Wednesday morning the news stories had shifted focus to other cities. By this time I had read every news update and several blogs, watched a few news videos and listened to various sound-bites all from the safety of my laptop. I was imagining all sorts of disaster outside my building and in the city at large and had to banish myself from the computer to stop from freaking out.

So, Wednesday evening’s park exercise was going ahead. I was going to have to leave the flat sooner or later, it might as well be now. I did remove my driving licence from my purse so that in case I got mugged at least they wouldn’t have my address.

I hate it that I felt the need to do this. I hate it that I looked suspiciously at each and every person who chose to wear a hoodie that day. I hate it that I wanted to ask anyone with bags of shopping to show their receipt. And I hate it that it was the result of actions of people in my city that made me feel that way.

I’m getting over it now. It helps a lot to not be constantly looking for news, since I’ve stopped opening news sites and links that people are posting.I’m still mad but I’m no longer scared to go out.

Thanks for reading my first blog. Please leave a comment below if you managed to get this far, but be nice, it is my first go after all.

9 thoughts on “Reflections on a riot

  1. Hey Georgia,

    Thanks for posting. Was a good read. And good work on your first post.

    I hadn’t expected that there would be that much of a feeling of worry and fear amongst those reasonably well separated from the troubles.

    Hope that you’re feeling more peace now and that nothing like this happens again. It’s a shame that people don’t feel more respect and value for their own city and hopefully changes ahead will ensure that that is the case.


    • Hey Chris,
      Thanks for reading and thanks for your reply. I don’t know how bothered everyone else is, everything looks normal now but time will tell how scarred the people are from this event. Although I must say the numbers of people showing up to clean-up events reassures me that most people want the best for their society.

  2. Thanks for this insightful blog. Watching from Melbourne it was hard to comprehend how the rest of London was getting on with their lives. You have told the story well.
    It looks like there are some big issues that need dealing with but at least these can be dealt with in the calm.

    • Hi Craig
      Thanks for reading 🙂
      Absolutely there are big issues to be dealt with and I’ll be doing what I can for the kids I meet at work. Who knows what they are dealing with but that’s a whole different blog that I don’t really want to write.
      G x

  3. Very poignant. Glad to hear you’re well. The mind boggles about how people can erupt into spontaneous mindless acts. It’s bizarre.

    • I had to really try to stop paying attention to the media after writing this post as everything was making me so angry. I did catch some reports of children as young as 11 being caught but also some adults in their 30s and 40s! And it wasn’t just people on benefits either as some people were saying, one of the first people charged was a teaching assistant. Well no wonder kids were getting involved if these are their role models. Don’t get me started again…

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