Wednesday, August 10, 2011

London Riots and Thoughts on Finding Peace



The words on every one's lips this week are 'The London Riots' and as I always do when things seem to have gone this disastrously wrong I find myself looking for the yoga in it all. Some sort of lesson or purpose beneath it all.
If you haven't read anything on this yet here's a link to the Canadian coverage on whats been happening- http://www.canada.com/mobile/iphone/news/top-stories/Anarchy+spreads+through+England/5230440/story.html               

When I first read stories like this I always find my mind reeling. Trying to understand, trying to see both sides. It's
hard to put myself in the shoes of rioters or police. I don't get the urge to throw bricks at people all that often or hit them with batons, but maybe if I lived with these people I would. 
So I try to break it down into something I understand, not to minimize the importance of the events, just trying to make it into something my brain can get. 

The behavior of the rioters seems almost animalistic to me. The destroying, the taking and the hoarding somehow reminds me of a dog that's often neglected and to frequently yelled at or kicked. And that's not to say that I think these rioters are mongrels, but if you read the news stories it says right there, plain as day that these people feel they are being treated as less then human. And it seems to me they have decided if they will be treated as less then human then they will act that way.  

The police and government in turn are acting the part of neglectful abusive owner even as this situation has swung so far out of their control. Refusing to call them riots, just thug behavior. Pointing out how many police have been hurt but never mentioning the numbers of rioters getting hit or injured. Ignoring the root of the problem but waving the rolled up newspaper at it, threatening to hit it if the barking doesn't stop.
And in that lies the problem, two sides of the war refusing to admit the other side might be right, and neither side able to have any empathy for the other. Both are saying in chorus, "I am suffering and it's all your fault!"  

In the yoga ideal in my mind the police/government issue a statement to the rioters stating "We recognize there have been problems here and that we have not been part of the solution. Poverty, racial targeting and unfair use of power are things we've had a hand in that have helped to instigate these events. We need to start working these things out on equal footing." and at that same moment rioters would release a statement to the police saying, "We recognize there have been problems here and that we have not been part of the solution. Vandalism, violence and a lack of concern for the health and well being of our fellow neighbor are all things we have used to create this situation. It's time we talk about a real solution." in the real world I know these things won't be said, instead both sides will continue to push until one side falls over or both lose the energy to stand and lie down for another 25 years.

My only hope is the belief that many people need to reach the very bottom before they can see how pointless this stuff is, and then some will stand up and say "Well, that didn't work, time to try something different." Maybe then it will be time for change.