Lessons from anarchy in Britain
|The world watched aghast this week as riots
broke out in London, the British capital and
thousands of youth took to the streets, looting
shops and setting them on fire, all seemingly over a
Police shooting a few days earlier.
What was even more alarming was that the riots then
spread to other cities, as far as Birmingham,
Manchester and Liverpool, as removed as they were
from the scene of the first incident, indicating
that there was some social upheaval brewing in
Britain for some time now.
British authorities have so far not blamed the
events on a communist or Islamist conspiracy but it
begs the question as to what prompted this
horrendous turn of events and we must also examine
the response of the rest of the world to them.
The riots could not have been merely a reaction to
the Police shooting for, if it was, there is no
reason for it to spread far and wide. What then
caused these events in the traditionally staid
The vast majority of perpetrators were youth and
they were not all from the marginalised sections of
society such as the unemployed, those with criminal
backgrounds and drugs addicts. Apparently there were
even schoolteachers and members of the opera among
the looters and arsonists!
Some of the youth responsible, when interviewed did
say that they rioted simply to ‘have a good time’
but others pointed out that Britain today was a
vastly polarised society where there was callous
indifference towards the needs of the poor while the
super-rich indulged in mind-boggling luxury.
We are certain that in the coming weeks and months
these events will be analysed ad nauseam and many
hypotheses will emerge but the incidents should
remind us that Britain and the western ideals that
they represent may not always be the ultimate utopia
that they preach about so much.
We say so because lately, Sri Lanka has been coming
in for much criticism from a cabal of nations
spearheaded by the United States and Britain over
alleged human rights violations during the
conclusion of the war and these charges have now
reached absurd proportions.
This campaign against Sri Lanka, carried out at the
behest of the Tamil Diaspora has attained such
ridiculous heights that a sovereign government has
been called upon to explain itself on the basis of
an unsubstantiated video broadcast by a television
station with dubious credentials!
If that can be construed as the opinion of the
so-called, self-proclaimed ‘international community’
regarding the problems in Sri Lanka, could the same
be said of their reaction to the recent events in
Britain, which according to some brought back
conjured images of revolution?
No nation has rushed to issue a travel ban on
Britain – and not even a travel advisory asking for
caution when travelling to that country. The Indian
cricket team is currently touring England and is, in
fact, playing in Birmingham but no one has called
for a cancellation of the tour.
London is to also host the Olympic Games in 2012.
There was some suggestion that the riots were the
result of resentment against mega spending on the
infrastructure for the games, while London’s
underprivileged communities wallowed in poverty. Is
it safe for the Olympics to be held there, then?
These questions have not been asked, not yet,
anyway. Britain’s inquisitive media and its
international counterparts who consider themselves
to be the ultimate authorities on what is right and
what is wrong, have not dared to raise these issues.
So much for the ‘high’ standards of their
Can one imagine for a moment the Olympics being held
in Colombo and some sort of civil unrest emerging
barely a year earlier in the city? What would then
be the fate of the games? Wouldn’t the self-same
‘international community’ erupt in protest?
In 1996, when Sri Lanka co-hosted the cricket World
Cup, the Australian and West Indian teams refused to
tour the country saying it was ‘unsafe’ and
forfeited their games. Yet, with rioting going on
all around them, no one dares to express concern for
the safety of the Indian cricketers in England!
What all this demonstrates in no uncertain terms is
that in the world today, there is a manifest system
of double standards. The West, because of its
financial might, is always right. The rest of us, no
matter what we do, are always wrong.
That is why Sri Lanka now finds itself in the
predicament of having to justify its actions during
the final phase of the Eelam war. This is also why,
no matter what explanation is provided by our
country, they are rejected as lacking ‘transparency’
This is not to say to Britain, ‘serves you right’
over the recent events there. It suffices to say
that anarchy, in whatever form and wherever it is
found, must be resisted. And that is exactly what
Sri Lanka did in launching the final Eelam war,
nothing more, nothing less.