Reflections on the London riots

The recent riots have been on everyone’s lips this week. Criticism and opinion are spewing out of our mouths, slithering like serpents, and sweeping like hurricanes though just about every aspect of our lives, leaving nothing unaffected. Whether we’re sipping our morning coffee, enjoying a well-deserved lunch break, or downing a pint at our local pub, the riots are all the rage.

Despite being a graduate of politics and international relations with a rather controversial post-structural feminist viewpoint, I tried to steer clear from expressing any formal opinion on this subject. Essentially, I was simply taught how to question our widely-held beliefs; that is, instead of focusing on condemning those involved, to question why things like this happen, what cultivates their acceptance, and how we go about tackling the underlying social issues that stem from such incidents.

With these thoughts and questions in mind, I realised that I found our reactions as interesting and as shocking as the riots themselves. However, what was most interesting was that I found that the events of the past week evoked feelings of nostalgia for Southeast Asia. As a half-Filipina, I’ve spent a good deal of time there, and what I love more than anything is the strong sense of community prevalent in those countries. And, undoubtedly, it was none other than the theme of community which was at the heart of this week’s events.

Without a strong sense of community, there is little room for respect – the respect you have for where you live, your neighbours and brethren, and even the inanimate structures that frame communities. And it is precisely this respect which has the power to inhibit people from negatively impacting their communities.

[quote_right] Community is at the heart of every beautiful place [/quote_right]As Londoners gathered this week to clean up the wreckage, however, we witnessed another aspect of community at play. What we saw were people who love their communities, their homes, and their families, coming together after such a horrific string of events to show strength and unity.

Which brings me to Shoreditch. That eclectic mix of different cultures and values. The rough and humble next to modern chic. Cool aside geeky. Old school mingled with street smart. A fusion of differences that has created a sense of community you can feel at home in – even if you’re a stranger.

I miss the sense of community I experience when I am back in the Philippines. Community is at the heart of every beautiful place.

And community is at the heart of Shoreditch.