Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Is London safe to host the Olympics?

In March 2010, isolated areas in SA experienced outbreaks of violence, with impoverished township residents protesting lack of basic services when they knew the world was watching and would pay attention. They did this by setting fire to, and destroying, the limited facilities that they did have access to. I'm not denying, condoning or playing down the violence that erupted. It left me feeling sick to the stomach. 

European and UK press jumped on the story with glee. Reporting extensively, particularly in light of South Africa's upcoming World Cup hosting.

The SA attacks were labeled 'xenophobic' and the several members of the international community decided that this meant SA was not fit to host a major tournament. Especially as all tourists and spectators were going to be slaughtered. 

Another angle of delight was the white-on-black hysteria, reporting that thousands of white farmers were being killed on a daily basis in SA, in a war "that you won't read about in your World Cup holiday brochure". 

Even once we got through the World Cup without incident, the UK press weren't going to let go of the "natives are restless" narrative that easily. SA was left 'bracing itself' for post-World Cup violence, "as police numbers [were] scaled down after the tournament".

Cut to just over a year later. The world remembers a highly successful tournament with very noisy implements called "voo-vah-zeee-lahs". Or similar mispronunciation.

In the last four days, several areas in the UK experienced outbreaks of violence, with various groups of youths destroying property and looting shops. It is yet to be determined what they are actually protesting. I don't think they even know. All they know is that no one is stopping it. Authorities have been caught completely unprepared and now seem to be in a state of shock as to how to deal with the large-scale ransacking.

And now the SA press is reporting about concerns for security in London's Olympic hosting for next year. My how the tables have turned

My favourite headline so far: "Tottenham rioters aged just seven". Considering the sensational nature of The Sun, one should take the content with a pinch of salt, but I can also fully accept that very young children have been running rampant in these areas. And why the hell not? If their parents are barely out of their teens... which is also highly likely ... then their mum and dad "yoofs" are probably running with the wolves too. 

This is a sign of a nation in distress; a nanny state crying out for discipline. A truncheon and an Alsatian on a leash are not going to quell this in a hurry. 

I could never support police brutality, just as I could never condone domestic violence. But there is a difference between abuse and discipline. It's a fine line, but an important one. Without proper means of dispersion the looters are in control, and will remain so. And they know it. 

1 comment:

rd said...

It's easy -
Discipline is with the front of the hand,
Abuse is with the back.