I'm sure writers among us tend to draw from personal experiences or the tales of others to help shape their writing, especially when it comes to fiction. Some commentators have said that truth is stranger than fiction and perhaps it is when it comes to the stories flashed at us daily of a world in a terrible state with no apparent direction that is going to solve its mounting problems.
I drew strongly from experiences in Booker's World in many ways, one inclusion being the months I spent working in London back in the 90's. Sure it's masked with a touch of Booker eccentricity - for who likes a bore rambling on about the state of affairs in a country drifting towards Iceland every single day. Ahem...
I think disturbed and then shocked were my two main emotions over the past three days as I watched an area in Croydon I used to live in being burned to the ground by an element of society hell bent on nothing but mindless violence and destruction and providing the world with a first hand view of nihilism at work.
I also worked in Brixton. Imagine a naive Paddy, walking the early morning streets of Brixton going to work, his only knowledge of the place the images he saw on a TV screen back in 1981 when this area of London was subject to something similar Londoners have been suffering through these past four days.
As it turned out Brixton was and still is one of the nicest and friendliest places I have ever been. Not without problems, but problems faced and dealt with daily by a legion of youth workers who's buzz from life came from keeping the whole thing together. How deflated so many will feel over the past few days, as years upon years of hard, thankless and soul destroying work may have become undone by the violent reaction of youths hell bent on destruction at any cost. But to watch London on fire last night and Anarchy on the streets one suspects this runs a little deeper as Police were unable to manage a situation that stinks of some form of criminal minded organization using the times to snare vulnerable kids into a lair that only ends up in a body bag or a prison if they are lucky. .
Much will be written over the next weeks and months on this. It will be interesting to see who takes what view points. I do think Britain has an effective press once the tabloid is taken out of the equation. Watching Bill O' Reilly point his finger at America last night and tell them Fox, and he, were a spin free zone made me glad I reside on this side of the Atlantic.
Has David Cameron, once this melee has died down, the metal to address the fact and figures and research available, mostly assembled at the cost of his tax-payer, and come to the pretty straight forward conclusion, self interests aside, that Austerity at the behest of corruption is morally and socially wrong and address the question and go some way toward some form of equalization in the form of the social structure which is falling apart with each passing generation not just in his country but in many countries. One would hope that at some stage some is capable of standing up and saying things need addressing. But will it happen?
I think a lot of people would have respect for Martin Luther King. I personally am a fan of anyone who pursues some form of civil and social justice. I couldn't care less about their make-up if their viewpoint is one of equality and justice.
King once said, '' When you cut facilities, slash jobs, abuse power, discriminate, drive people into deeper poverty and shoot people dead whilst refusing to provide answers or justice, the people will rise up and express their anger and frustration if you refuse to hear their cries. A riot is the language of the unheard.''
That's 40 years ago. That's insight from the past by a man who many historians would agree had his hand on the pulse of society as it was at the time. Except 40 years on, it's not about black and white anymore, its about people the world over. Britain will recover because they have that about them. I'm not sure America will though with their 4-advertisement breaks every half hour with the bullshit of Bill O Reilly in between. Charlie Sheen has better things to be saying than that €20 mill a year Capitalist junkie.
I'm all for protecting yourself, but when you live in an age of growing apathy and disillusionment and guns can be bought like sweets, where kids are knowingly mining for the materials we use in our everyday lives and slaughter and slavery stain diamonds the world over, well, in my opionion this world is not protecting it's most precious commodity.
How people buy into every media driven consensus with the amount of untainted information available today shows the power of propaganda in the modern world. In most cities of the world 'the rogue element' have historically been squashed together like sardines in pressure cookers no human being should have to endure. It's a breeding ground for wayward ideologies perfected by the disillusioned. No form of life likes containment. You'd still hope for a day when the realities of Huxley's and Orwell's World and V- For Vendetta weren't beginning to have a sense of reality about them.
There are a few dozen things that will have to be sized up when things settle again. Each as important as the next. The push for your thinking will be delivered through the media, but don't be so easily bought. These areas of these cities are ghetto's, no-go areas and they will remain a threat to what is in this age viewed as decent civil society. So what do we do? Label them and fire on until next time comes around. Or tackle the deep rooted issue, that when justice be it in any form it takes, is not equal and fair then this unacceptable way of living will only get worse as we 'evolve.'
The guys who wrote our constitution in Ireland set standards for the Irish to follow once free to dabble in world affairs. Being irish it is hard to escape that those words came from people who accepted their fates so that perhaps the world they yearned for was something to strive for as we matured as a country. I'd never rule out hope it will come about. And I'd never rule out the irish either. You would think a country with nowt to lose might step up and lead the way a little, but once married to a system that conditions the direst of human behaviour we won't be chairing any agenda setting council anytime soon. One can but hope we'll all see a little sense sometime in the future, but with the weight of a tragic human history on your back of the hope, even a little sense seems insurmountable at times.