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You Wouldn’t Read About It

August 10, 2011

Man did Midnight Oil hit the nail on the head in 1982. I cannot possibly think of better way to describe what’s happening now in England than through these lyrics.

 The rich get richer, the poor get the picture
The bombs never hit you when you’re down so low

Some got pollution, some revolution
There must be some solution but I just don’t know
The bosses want decisions, the workers need ambitions
There won’t be no collisions when they move so slow
Nothing ever happens, nothing really matters
No one ever tells me so what am I to know

You wouldn’t read about it, read about it
Just another incredible scene, there’s no doubt about it

Hammer and the sickle, the news is at a trickle
The commissars are fickle but the stockpile grows
Bombers keep acoming, engines softly humming
The stars and stripes are running for their own big show
Another little flare up, storm brewed in a tea cup
Imagine any mix up and the lot would go
Nothing ever happens…

You wouldn’t read about it, read about it
One unjust ridiculous steal, ain’t no doubt about it
You wouldn’t read about it, read about it
Just another particular deal, there’s no doubt about it

In case you’re unaware, there have been lots of riots happening in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester… pretty much everywhere. Some parts of the media (not all, admittedly) will tell you it’s been mindless looting, that it came out of nowhere and that there’s no real story behind it. And so begins the process of condemnation, without even beginning to understand why this is happening; why people are behaving this way. It’s honestly reminiscent of September 11.

To be fair, who could blame anyone. With the revolt in Tunisia, the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, open civil war and NATO intervention in Lybia, brutal crackdowns in Syria, anarchy and famine in Somalia, the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, the second near-default of Greece, EU bailout after EU bailout, the collapse of Murdoch’s soft power, the near-demise of the US economy (thanks to the ascencion of Republican Congressional fools) and the shocking revelation that some Americans still can’t handle the notion of a black President, well there’s been a lot of news going around in 2011.

I’m no expert in British politics. What I do know is that they overspent, undertaxed and have a large public debt. David Cameron’s introduced a whole host of austerity programs, largely affecting the poorer and weaker in society through spending and wage cuts, not affecting the rich by taxing them more. There’s been huge civil unrest in Britain for over a year now; anybody claiming that the current events are unprecedented is simply kidding themselves. Like in America, the middle class is clutching at straws that are becoming further and further out of reach. And when times become perpetually tough, when society is stratified, when class is not an aristocratic artefact but a living reality; well you get people becoming bitter. What is happening is no real coincidence. It’s the struggle to be heard. To paraphrase one young man, ‘before nobody would listen to us. Now we’re rioting, everybody’s paying attention.’

Desperate times call for desperate measures. What do you do when your government has repeatedly proven themselves not to be trustworthy, and nobody in society wants a bar of you? When the elected offices serve the will of Rupert Murdoch, when you read that the UK is the most stratified Western nation, when your social security is cut because millionaires and corrupt politicians squandered all the money; that’s when you become desperate.

Arabs are currently fighting for democratic rights. Maybe we should be fighting for ours too.

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