return to London

Pulling into King's Cross station you wouldn't have known anything was wrong in London. Even when I was walking home from my local tube station in South Tottenham, there were no signs of the devastating riots that had taken place only days before.

As I had been in Edinburgh for the weekend I was unaware of what was going on back home, until I started receiving text messages from concerned friends asking if I was OK. I told them that yes, of course I was OK, why wouldn't I be? And it was only then that I discovered what had been happening in my neighbourhood, only a mile or so from where I lived. Naturally, my first concern was Yoyo, who was being looked after at home by a neighbour, and almost an entire evening was ruined worrying (unnecessarily, thank goodness) about her and the neighbours. Some friends in my apartment block assured me she was fine, and that our road hadn't been under attack at all.

In the Wikipedia and Facebook updates I started receiving, it became evident just how much went on over the three days of rioting and looting, and as soon as I heard any areas of London reporting any incidents I was straight in contact with anyone I knew who lived nearby. Thankfully they were all OK. I was especially worried about my friend Maria who is a Community Support Officer in Croydon, where I had heard many of the fires were. She was on patrol on one of the worst evenings, but she wasn't involved with any of the incidents that were reported.

While I was away I heard from a great deal of friends I had not heard from for some time, asking if I was safe and offering to put me up if I wanted to leave the area for a couple of days. Although sad that I hadn't heard from them in so long, I was touched that they had contacted me and offered support during such a difficult time, which would have been a million times scarier had I actually been in London.

After all the stories of riots, vandalism, arson and looting we also heard the reports of communities rallying round defending their neighbourhoods and it made me proud to be part of my little community. Had anything happened closer to us than it had, and thank goodness it didn't, but if it had, I have no doubt that my neighbours, the local people and business-owners in our little area of West Green would have fully supported each other. It's been 5 years since I moved here, and a lot has changed in that time, but I feel more close to the local community now than I ever have.

The entire weekend has been horrific and utterly awful, but it is encouraging to see that community spirit is alive and well in the capital, as well as elsewhere in the country, and that so many people are willing to give up their own time in order to help clean up the devastated areas, and donate items to some of those who have lost their livelihoods.


1 hellos:

Siobhan said...

I love the riot wombles and Sam Duckworth for (I think) introducing that term!

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