Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Another Brick in the Wall...
I have written many posts since I last posted on this blog, since a lot has happened since I last visited, but I have had neither had the time nor the energy to complete them. I would love to tell you what happened with my new haircut, or how my newly-suntanned surgeon is now back from his travels abroad, or how I recently bumped into an ex-best friend of mine who just hadn't been there for me at my lowest moment and the strong emotions that I felt after this encounter. But nothing and I mean nothing seems relevant or important enough after experiencing the night that Londoners experienced two nights ago. For the first time in the twenty years that I have lived in this complex, sophisticated, sometimes frustrating city, I sat in my home and felt too scared to leave. And this was at six o'clock in the evening. While the news of rioting and looting seemed to get closer and closer to my own home, I found myself checking my back door wondering what I'd do if I suddenly found my property, or worse still my family under threat.
Yesterday, as I sat in my lounge about to get ready to attend yet another hospital appointment, I wondered what kind of descriptions the media would use to describe the violence and looting that took place in virtually every area of inner-city London over the last three days. Will it be described as an aggressive cancer that quickly spread through the capital, seeding its malignancy from shopping centre to high street ? or a race riot that erupted after one man was unlawfully killed by police ? or more simply a kind of Clockwork Orange opportunistic style of anarchic behaviour by a group of underclass kids too disconnected and dispossessed to know any better ?
The morning after the riots I walked through my area and observed the broken glass, the boarded up shops and the look of complete disbelief and shock on the faces of the many residents who like me are just ordinary people. None are rich, even fewer have businesses. The riots have forced me to think about what I've been through in the past eight months and the marathon treatment of chemo, surgery and herceptin that I've worked my way through. What has been the motivation for my efforts ? To stay alive for as long as possible of course. To be there for my son. But when I listen to the voices of the lost and immature out-of-control teenage rioters who will one day be London's next generation, I feel worried. My greatest fear ? Not that I won't make it, but that my son's voice might one day be among them.