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“An open letter to those who condemn looting (Part one)”

August 10, 2011

The media has exploded with resentment towards those innumerable masses who’ve gone ahead and helped themselves to a free television set, fresh food, video game consoles, or even clothing in the now four day long riots in London and its surrounding cities. This letter has come out in response to these condemnations. It contains excellent points, and it comes highly recommended. Here’s an excerpt:

Dear you all,

I fear we have nothing to say to each other.

What follows may therefore represent one half of a dialogue in the way that yelling at a jukebox made of ice does.  Perhaps the sheer exertion of speaking – a certain quantity of hot air – will soften the surface a bit, but it’s a pretty one-sided discussion. And it doesn’t mean you can or will stop repeating the records you have been given to play, those looping phrases and evasions.

After all, we’ve heard what you have to say.  We too know the words by heart.  We find it, at best, deeply unconvincing, and, at worst, bilious, evasive, racist, average, murderous pap not fit for mouths or ears.  And there is very little that is best these days.

I expect you would say the same about our position, albeit with a different set of adjectives. Juvenile, destructive, unreasonable,and naive come to mind, if your previous history of accusations gives any indication.  Unfortunately, given the structure of the media and the flow of information, we cannot but hear what you say while you can very easily continue to ignore what we do.  Until lots of angry people are burning your city, at which point you might, in a fit of weakness, concede to listen to those who have some opinions on the matter.  Unlikely, though.  We live in noisy times.

It is too bad, though, because we actually agree on a few things.  For you say of these riots, and this looting, that they are opportunistic.  That they are unreasonable and stupid.  That “this isn’t a protest, this is a riot.”  That they are “not political.”  That “this is about individuals using the excuse of what happened the first two nights to make sure what happens the third night is worse”.  That this is “havoc.”  That this is “criminality pure and simple.”  That they do not “have the right” to do this.  That “no benefit will come in the long term,” from “looting a local shop,” “setting a bus on fire,” or “nicking a mobile phone.”  Above all, as you, Home Secretary put it, “There is no excuse for violence.  There is no excuse for looting.”  (For a further litany and bestiary of speech, see here.)

And we agree.

Click here to read more. 

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