Following the killing of a 29-year old man, Mark Duggan, in Tottenham on August 4, 2011, angry residents in London and other cities in the UK took to the street rioting and looting. Bloggers in Africa share their perspectives, some with a sense of humor.
Hayibo discusses the riots with a light touch. The African Union, Hayibo reports, has decided to send troops and care packages to the UK:
The African Union today adopted a unilateral resolution to deploy army troops and care packages to England as looting and violence spread from London to other major cities. Spokesperson Charity Khumalo said “We can no longer stand by while these savages tear themselves apart.”
The AU, meeting today in an emergency session to discuss the ongoing rioting in the UK, has declared that they will do “everything in their power to help bring civilisation to England”.
According to Hayibo, the AU has also launched a new programme called “Adopt and English child”:
“For instance, we have launched an ‘Adopt an English child’ programme,” Khumalo explained, showing journalists brochures featuring the faces of English kids. “If you donate a mere R50 a month, you can see to it that sweet little Johnny from Peckham receives a basic education, a pack of condoms and a pair of pimpin’ Nikes.”
“You can understand why they’re turning on each other,” the spokesperson told journalists. “You look in the mirror and you see teeth untouched by modern dentistry. It’s heartbreaking enough to make anyone put a brick through a Starbucks.”
In case you did not know, Britain is a more violent society than South Africa:
South African police authorities say recent claims that Britain is a more violent society than South Africa are evidence that the new official policy of burning dockets is working. “All the teens carry knives in the UK,” said a spokesman. “Thank God our teens only carry assault rifles.” He said that incidents of fatal stabbings with AK-47s were exceptionally rare.
How is it possible for Britain to be a more violent society considering murder and rape rates in South Africa?. Here is the answer:
“Yes, the UK has 900 murders a year while we have about 19,000.
“And yes, the UK has 50,000 rapes a year while we have 600,000.
“But if you read our operating manual you will discover that so-called “murder” is in fact considered an interpersonal disturbance featuring a non-planned assisted cardiac arrest.
“It’s really more a medical accident than a violent crime. Malpractice by laypeople, if you will.
Moses Kemibaro, a Kenyan blogger, says that the British Prime Minister has displayed double standards by proposing to ban social media:
Therefore, the proposal by the British Prime Minister David Cameron to ban social media for rioters in the UK comes as a big shock…This is coming from one of the leaders of the free world who actually supported what has been happening in the countries that felt the Arab Spring and are seeing transformational democratic reforms in the process – social media has been key for this transformation to happen. It is clearly a case of double standards since social media can be used for both good and bad – even in the UK.
Kumekucha warns Nairobi residents who are making jokes about the riots in London:
If you live in Nairobi I suggest that you quickly wake up from your deep slumber. I have seen you sit in front of your TV burping and making jokes about what is happening in London with the ongoing riots and mayhem. It seems to delight you greatly that there is rioting on the streets of the mzungu capital. He who called us uncivilized to our faces after what happened here in January 2008.
Trouble, Kumekucha observes, could break out anytime in Nairobi:
As you read this, inflation is at a record high and the Kenyan shilling has plummeted to record lows. Amidst all that (and media attention has been diverted from this by the numerous other things happening) petrol prices have cleared the Kshs 110 per litre mark and continue to rise steadily. Even the so-called middle class are feeling the heat.
From South Africa, News Time has a piece of advice for South African politicians:
The events unfolding in London and spreading to other parts of England need to be monitored by politicians in South Africa in order to give impetus to the need for the change that is required if this country is to be able to respond to current and future challenges.
In this regard urgent steps need to be taken to correct a fault line running through the criminal justice system, the military and other security services which are currently embroiled with issues which do not, or should not, form part of their mandate.
Fiona Leonard, a blogger based in Ghana and Global Voices Author, looks at a trending topic on Twitter, #iflondonwereinafrica, which asked tweeps how the world would have reacted if the London riots took place in an African capital:
@T_Rouma: #iflondonwereinafrica it would be declared a war zone.
@lebomashile: #iflondonwereinafrica there would be travel warnings – the only people who would venture a trip would be rebel journos & aid workers.
@lebomashile: #iflondonwereinafrica the causes of the riots would be reduced to “tribalism” and/or “bad governance” by the int'l press
@KingNovaMiu: #iflondonwereinafrica Serious talks to move the Olympics to Australia or some ‘safer’ country would have already began
She suggests that Africans start telling their own different stories:
And perhaps we could start telling a different story ourselves:
#iflondonwereinAfrica regional countries would be volunteering to support a collective solution
#iflondonwereinAfrica neighbours would open their doors to those in need
#iflondonwereinAfrica one of the first questions asked would be – what can we do to help?
Why is violence in Africa treated differently?, Sarpong Obed from Ghana wonders:
When the “xenophobic” attacks heightened in South Africa before the 2010 FIFA World Cup, we were treated to a bitter cocktail of stories about how unsafe foreigners who wanted to watch the games would be and the need to move it away, elsewhere off the continent. Even the attacks on the Togolese football team in Angola during the Nations Cup in 2010 was capital for the mainly Western media to question security in far away South Africa.
For Sarpong Obed, one question lingers:
The question lingered. Should we take the London Olympics away from London?
A sample of reactions from readers at Nigeria Village Square:
Bamaguje is waiting for NATO to react:
I’m waiting for NATO to start bombing England to support the “rebels” and prevent Cameron from putting down the rebellion.
NATO should target number 10 Downing street to kill Cameron and his family…just like they are doing to Ghaddafi.
“Where is NATO?,” Benjani asks:
What goes around comes around! Where is Nato in all of this? Italy/France/Spain/Portugal/Netherland/US should send their armed forces to London to protect the hooligans/protesters. Impose no flight zone and no movement of planes and armored tanks.
We all can it clearly now that you can't let hooligans/protesters run freely whether it is in London or Benghazi.
Ghanaian blogger, Nana Wireko, identifies six lessons we need to learn from the riots:
#1 When a neighbor’s beard is burning, fetch water and protect yours
Ok, do you remember what the British press said before the world cup in South Africa? Africa was deemed a jungle… where people eat each other. A place where civilization is nothing to write home about….. a place where no football match could be held. Some people even still think Africa is a country. Hmmm…. South Africa was lambasted for all the wrong reasons. In less than a year, the London Olympic Games start. Need I say more? When your neighbor is down, don’t kick him but rather help lift him up. The UK press should take a cue from this. It’s a lesson. A very important one!