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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

A Phoenix From The Flames


Today’s Reason to Smile, is the fact that from something so incomprehensibly awful, has come something so wonderful- the return of the community to the boroughs of our English cities.
There are not words to express just how shocked and appalled I was the other night to watch the wonderful city that I love, burn in front of my very eyes.
There is no escaping the fact that our country has changed forever as a result of these mindless actions, and of course there are many serious repercussions that will occur as a consequence of these acts; but as I believe is so often the case in this life, if you look hard enough, there is always some positivity that can be drawn from something that can appear so lacking in any good whatsoever.
Awake throughout the night until 6am on Tuesday 9th August, (partly through ridiculously intense neurological pain and partly through panic and anxiety born of the unexpected and uncontrollable nature of these senseless acts), I watched with amazement as the atmosphere of the phenomenon that is Twitter, changed, as the buzz words, (or hash tags as they are known), evolved from #LondonRiots to #RiotCleanUp as the hours went by.
What was so wonderful to witness as night crept towards dawn, was the honest and good hearted people of London fighting back- not with bricks, metal bars and fire, (like the heartless fools that had started this mayhem had done), but with brooms, mops and ‘Flash’ liquid, as they set about planning mass clean up sessions all over our devastated capital.
Unfortunately, there is no changing those saddening events that have taken place in our country over the last few days; but like when devastating events take place in your own personal life, (such as the day you became disabled perhaps- be it through illness or catastrophic injury),  there is nothing to be gained from dwelling upon or harbouring hatred about that which has happened in the past and can not be changed- however, I believe that in respect of both examples, we must look to the future and how we can learn from what has happened and focus on any positivity that may have occurred as a result of these events.
Through becoming disabled, I have gained a better appreciation of life and the people and events that make up my life, as well as a better awareness and respect for those in this life that do not fit that which we all too often naively and wrongly describe as ‘normal’.
Through our city experiencing these unprecedented acts of mindless criminality, we have woken up to the fact that our country needs an overhaul of our policing and judicial systems, along with many elements of the support systems in place, (or not as the case may be), for the youth of our country.
On top of these lessons learnt, what is also so wonderful and instantly encouraging to see, is the ‘blitz spirit’, that has risen from the embers of the devastating fires that have burnt much of our city’s architecture to the ground, which shows that we will not be beaten by the devastation of bricks and mortar and that this will instead strengthen the bond that holds together the people of our town, borough or city and makes us into the true community that we have become.
Watching the footage of young and old, black and white, employed and jobless all sweeping, mopping and wiping away the evidence of the damage to our city; I felt strongly that this meant far more than just the act of physically cleaning away the debris.
As is so often the case in life, we barely appreciate what is there in front of us until it has gone or has changed forever!
I never appreciated fully my physical life on this Earth, until the majority of my physicality was taken from me; and many of us barely appreciated the community that we had around us, until many physical elements of that community were stripped from us in one fateful week.
Hatred and resentment can consume you in both of these instances, ( and although I am not expecting the innocent victims of arson upon their homes to instantly feel warm and fuzzy feelings of positivity after losing everything that they owned), I do feel that it is so important that whether excepting that you are now disabled, or excepting that your community has been subjected to mindless vandalism- as much as is possible we should all find and focus upon the positivity that we can find within any given situation,  (however camouflaged and disguised it may be).
Today’s Reason to Smile, is a link to a BBC article on these clean up operations.
Let’s not let these thugs ruin our wonderful city’s spirit. Do not lower yourselves to their level of violence in an attempt to protect your property, (as I personally fear that this may cause an escalation of violence that we just don't need); instead let’s show them that through focusing on the good that has come out of this situation they will never break our community spirit.
The community of London lives on stronger than ever, (as I’m sure does that of Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester).  We will focus on the positivity and never let these heartless hooligans ruin our community.
Please join me in praying for the souls of Haroon Jahan, Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir who were so senselessly killed in this madness in Birmingham today 10th August 2011.
Please take a moment to listen to the wise and incredibly dignified words of Tariq Jahan, the father of Haroon Jahan- look for peace and do not go looking for trouble.

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