Rioting in Tottenham

It was a shock to awake to scenes of violence in London. Somehow, the sight of Tottenham out of control delivered a wound to the psyche. We are not accustomed to seeing such naked anger and wanton destruction here in England. We are aware, in the usual cerebral way of those who dwell in the Shires, that the police are not universally trusted or, sadly, trustworthy; that drug crime is intimately connected with gang violence; that racial tensions continue to simmer beneath the surface of our national life; but seeing the night sky lit up with flames and young men throwing petrol bombs and looting shops brings home the reality of the riot in Tottenham.

Over the next few days, the causes of that riot will be picked over. Those caught up in the violence will give their account of what happened; those who were injured or who lost property will begin to count the cost as the official investigations get under way. There will be accusations and counter-accusations. A great deal of money will be spent; a great deal of tidying up will be done. But what is likely to be the net result? Would it be cynical to say, insurance premiums will go up, property prices will go down and confrontation will become more common?

Tottenham is home to many churches and Christian organizations. I expect that the priests and pastors will be doing their bit to try to bring calm to a volatile situation. We too must do our bit and pray for peace on the streets of London. More than that, we must be peace-makers wherever we are, for we cannot pray for others to become what we ourselves have no desire to be. We too must renounce every form of violence.



1 thought on “Rioting in Tottenham”

  1. Thank you for this. I live in Tottenham, albeit several streets away from the disurbance. Leading on from your comment about there being plenty of Christian organisations in Tottenham – yes, there are and many of the young hooligans we saw on our TV screens smashing and burning and looting are ‘good boys’ who get dressed up in their good clothes to go to church with their family on a Sunday, I’m sure. I feel there is a huge disconnent between the ‘saying’ and ‘doing’ of the Christian faith for many people. Even if we don’t take the extreme example of the rioting – in which many livelihoods and homes have been destroyed – even just the conversations I sometimes overhear between young people juxtaposed to their regular church attendance is shocking. I read a blog post just recently about how the Christian faith is one that is LIVED, not just professed to of a Sunday. I suppose this is not a new problem but today, in Tottenham, it is thrown into starker relief.

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