See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Arab World: Watching London “Burn” in Social Media

Arab Twitter users are sharing their perspectives on the ongoing rioting in the United Kingdom, which started three days ago after 29-year-old Mark Duggan was killed by police in Tottenham, north London. Many frown on the actions of rioters and their vandalism, which have spread to different parts of the country, insisting there is no comparison to draw between what is happening in the UK and the ongoing revolutions and protests across the Arab world.

A car is set on fire in Hackney, London

A car is set on fire in Hackney, London. Photo by Julio Etchart © Copyright Demotix (08/08/11)

Others are merely sad the situation is deteriorating and are staying abreast of developments with social media, which once again is in competition with mainstream media in keeping the world informed.

Social media played an important role in documenting the Arab revolutions, sparked in Tunisia, and which continued to ignite the call for freedom and democracy across the region, fanning revolutions and protests across Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria, as well as Jordan and Morocco.

With countries around the world issuing travel advisories against the UK, Mishaal Al Gergawi, from the UAE, tweets:

@algergawi: Must be weird for Londoners to read travel advisory from foreign countries against the UK; usually the other way around.

Moroccan Hisham Almiraat has bigger concerns and says the London riots are a distraction from issues that really matter – like the ongoing revolutions across the region:

@Hisham_G: #London rioters despicable, if only because they are stealing media attention away from where it really matters: #Syria #Libya #Yemen

Bahraini Muna Fakhroo returns us to childhood rhymes and quips:

@MunaFakhroo: #ThatAwkwardMoment when you enter the car and the nursery rhyme CD plays “london is burning”!!

From Dubai, in the UAE, Huda Serhan is appalled:

@Hudz: How people destroy their own beautiful city by choice is beyond me. #londonriots

Saudi Khaled adds:

@khaled: I noticed that YouTube removed some #London #londonriots videos for going against terms of service, some account suspended too. #censorship?

And Iyad El-Baghdadi, who is based in the UAE, poses questions:

@iyad_elbaghdadi: Anyone care to compare with France 2005 riots? Apt comparison or bad comparison? #LondonRiots

@iyad_elbaghdadi: Did anyone post a comparison yet between these riots & 1980s riots? Everyone I ask seems to think these are worse. #LondonRiots

Mara Mostafa, also from Dubai, hopes family and friends in the UK are well:

@MaraDXB: praying my family and friends are safe in the UK #londonriots

And Muhammed Ali J, also based in Dubai, shares similar sentiments:

@MaliZomg: I want to be all RAAAGE about #londonriots but frankly, all I care about is the safety of my family & the innocents. Allah protect them.

Meanwhile, Muntajib, from Abu Dhabi, has other concerns:

@Muntajib: i wonder what will happen to the #arabsupercars in #londonriots !!

Muntajib's concern is valid as every summer, the rich and mighty Arabs ship their expensive super cars to parade them in London.

Mohamed Alabdulkarim, also from the UAE, shares another joke:

@mohamed_NA: This is not the time to make fun but That awkward moment when Queen Elizabeth runs away to Saudi!

Saudi Arabia provided a refuge for Tunisian dictator Zeine Al Abideen Ben Ali when he was ousted from power and Yemeni President Ali Abdulla Saleh is being treated there.

And Egyptian Sherif Ghanem tweets:

@sherifghanem: The Egyptian Security Forces would have easily contained the #Londonriots btw #justsaying

  • If truly the British forces are in Libya and Iraq to bring peace, then its time to go home.

  • KL Malone

    The riots occurred in England, and they have not spread elsewhere in the UK. There is an infographic overlay on a map showing that all rioting occurred in large working class areas where austerity cuts have hit hardest. And minorities are hassled on a daily basis by the cops.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site