Friday 12 August 2011

The Friday Column

The Riots in England

I didn't feel that I could ignore the recent riots and horrific events that have occurred in England in my Friday Column this week. Those who also follow BeautySwot on twitter will know that through various circumstances my family found ourselves pretty close to the 'action'.

On Sunday I was heading to Enfield to meet my mum when through twitter I learnt that there were rumours that the rioters/looters were planning to hit Enfield. The threat was taken seriously by the authorities and the shops closed early, my mum was in one of the shops and phoned me to collect her. As things became more serious she called to say she had been picked up and to head straight for her home. We went off to Camden and thought that the Police would prevent anything happening.

As we now know unfortunately around 200+ people arrived in Enfield intent on causing trouble. Looting and damage occurred to quite a few shops, including our own much loved Department Store 'Pearsons', Starbucks, a Jeweller's , HMV and Greggs Bakery. Damage was also done to various pharmacies and cars were set on fire. Perhaps the worst thing to happen in Enfield was when arsonists hit the Sony Distribution Warehouse, the place has been completely destroyed and is still burning as I write this. Sadly this has affected many independent labels.

I personally witnessed many youths arriving in cars and putting their hoods up heading in the direction of the Town. On the way home my 3 year old son also saw the police cars, police riot vans and youths. It made me afraid as I knew that all it took was a turn into the wrong road and we could find ourselves amidst it all

On Monday night I was at Putney Bridge at the Hurlingham Club for an event, the riots were still taking place. Getting home was nerve wracking as we were heading across London and into East London. Once again there was a strange, eerie feeling on the streets. We must have just missed the problems as the road we went down had been closed, we witnessed many things - riot vans protecting retail centres and lots of glass around. At one point we were a little lost, I must have shown my fear as a little voice from the back piped up 'Don't worry mummy, we will find our way home'.

Much discussion has been had and is still on going as to the reasons behind the riots so I won't be writing about it here.

My concern is what impact has these riots had on the younger children...

Until the age of three I was living in Iran and was there when the Revolution took place. At Primary School age I would have such terrible nightmares of tanks passing by the window of the house we were living in and Soldiers with guns pointing in at the window. Years later my mum told me that that was what we saw as well as feeling war planes flying low past our flat and making it shake. I don't remember it but my sub conscious does. Apparently, I even sat on the tanks, everyone did.

In certain situations (like the riots we have just been through) I feel worried, sick and can start to panic,  I often wonder if what I experienced all those years ago has had an impact on me?

My son is very aware of what has happened, he has seen it on the televison news and in the newspapers. He has seen the images of burning buildings, people running rampage and he talks about it with us. The other day we wanted to go out for dinner and he said he didn't want to go to Enfield as there were going to be fires. He also told me that the fire fighters are very brave. He told my mum that Starbucks was smashed up.

I saw in the papers children who have drawn what they have witnessed and I wonder what they will feel in years to come too.

My heart goes out to all those that have been affected by these riots.


  1. I've just blogged about the same thing... It has indeed been a sad week.

  2. My friend's children were about 2 when the planes hit the twin towers. They had the news on and the little ones started crashing there toys together. From then on they kept the TV off whilst the children were up. I took a lesson from this when mine came along and banned all but child related TV if they were in the room. I'd grown up in a house where we were only allowed to watch BBC because of the adverts on ITV and new it helped with averting pester power. There were only 3 channels then and it was way before 24 hour programming. I guess it wasn't such a big deal for our parents when it came to limiting what we watched. I found it really hard to be alone at home and purposefully deprive myself of TV. So I'm not saying it's easy, but I think it was well worth it. The lack of pester power in my kids is marked. And having a child who was queried as having Aspergers the coping mechanisms for dealing with the scenes we witnessed this week would just not have been there. Now with the children all at school I felt that seeing the news this week was appropriate and we have had lots of questions, but no fear. Sometimes we can't protect kids from seeing things like in your case where it was all around you. But, and I don’t in anyway say this as a criticism, but as a talking point, I think in our 24 hour media world we’ve forgotten the off button. More recently I was listening to a radio 4 programme about violence in teenage and even pre-teen relationships. Social media affords a level of control and always togetherness that we never had to face. Again, no off button from the relationship. Sorry, I didn’t mean to write so much, but it’s really got me thinking. xx


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