Rioting in Handsworth

This week I finished 2 website design jobs and I was very pleased with results. However, on a bigger scale in my community there was widespread chaos and looting going on. By Tuesday morning the area was covered in rubbish from the night before, shops were boarded up, the local police station was burnt out and everyone was talking about the same thing – the riots.

It makes me wonder why people decided to smash up buildings and businesses. On the face of it they just wanted to rob and steal, and felt they could get away with it. Even if they thought the police might get them, the general attitude of those involved in the riots was one of indifference and bravado. They revel in the culture of being able to do what they want. It’s a selfish, greedy undercurrent which actually permeates a lot of our society. In the riots it was manifested by the youths, the next generation.

As an emerging business I feel glad that I didn’t have a shop or office which could have been destroyed because its hard to build anything in this economic climate. I feel for those people who have worked hard to own shops and businesses, only to see mindless people break what they made. And I feel sorry for the people who think stealing clothes from JD Sports or some other high street brand is something to be proud of.

I recently wrote about whether Birmingham and the West Midlands could ever be creative and technological hubs like Silicon Valley in America. There are many creative, talented, intelligent people in Handsworth and Birmingham, but they never seem to reach their potential. Why is that? Will things ever change? It’s all a question of mentality – some people drive for success, others just don’t know even know what success is or looks like.

We need to instil the ideas of success, pride and community spirit into our young people. They need to feel they are parter of the larger group, and that they can contribute alot. Personally I don’t feel it’s something we should expect the Government to hand down to us. What is clear from the riots is that we all need to take responsibility for our own actions: if you were involved it’s your own fault, if you want to change things for the better then do it, if you want to make a difference then show it.

Handsworth and Birmingham are vibrant areas with a mix of many different ethnicities and cultures. The main artery running through the area, Soho Road, is known worldwide. It’s about time we capitalised on our strengths and joined together as a community in a grown up way. We all need to live here, we might as well live together happy and well to do, it’s the best way and the right way.

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