14 August 2011 — MRZine
To the attention of the Press and the Public:
As it is known, last Saturday a protest took place outside Tottenham police station in order to attain answers or explanations as to how and why Mark Duggan, a father of four, was killed by the police on Thursday 4th August. The events were unleashed as a result of the police physically attacking a 16 year old girl who on behalf of the protestors, all of whom had demanded justice, entered the police station, after waiting for around 4-5 hours outside of the station, to acquire an explanation regarding the killing.
The events that had began in Tottenham, which is an area in which a large number of migrant Kurds and Turks live, very quickly spread to Enfield, Hackney, Edmonton, Islington and other regions in and outside of London. Such events represent the outburst of the oppressed people and, in particular, the youth, against their social and economic conditions. The question that we should ask ourselves is what are the actual reasons for the outburst of the youth?
The youth are one of the worst affected sections of society from the crisis in the world and the cuts that have taken as a result of the crisis. As a result of these cuts, 8 out of 13 Youth Services have been closed. And such cuts are not unique to Haringey. The removal of or tightening the conditions for being granted Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), Tuition Fees going to 9 thousand pounds, the low level of educational attainment in deprived areas, the removal of support from students that are experiencing problems in secondary schools or referring these students to other institutions are just some of the problems that are experienced by the youth.
According to official figures the number of unemployed youth is 1 million. Youth unemployment in deprived areas, like, Haringey and Hackney, is higher. As a result of the cuts not only has there been an increase in the level of redundancies but there has also been an increase in the unemployment levels and poverty levels. The stop and search practice by the police is very high in deprived areas and in areas where the migrants live. A black or ethnic youth is times more likely to be stopped and searched than a white youth. An egocentric and consumerist lifestyle has thus far been imposed on the youth. At a time when poverty and unemployment have risen, the dream of educational achievement has vanished, the closure of the Youth Services where the youth socially and culturally do express themselves has occurred, a rise in the level of police oppression has taken place, the vision for a better future has eroded, such outbursts do take place and they’re social outburst. Let’s not forget that the Turkish and Kurdish youth are also a part of the youth in this country and therefore Turkish and Kurdish youth and their future are also at stake as a result of such cuts.
Turkish and Kurdish Labourers and Traders Are Being Pitted Against the Black People
The members of our community, all of whom have been forced to flee from their homeland for economic and political reasons, are being swayed to not be alongside but against these waves of riots. We are witnessing the development of an instinctive tendency to protect their small shops and at times attack the youth. Surely the traders have the right to protect their shops. But such events should not be use to pit the Turkish and Kurdish community against the Black community. Such event should not be used to strengthen the prejudices that the oppressed and migrant communities have against each other. We, the people of Turkey and Kurdistan, should act in a prudent way and not fall for the trap of pitting migrant communities against each other. Moreover, we should demand that those who have killed Mark Duggan are found and held to account via the completion of the Inquiry into his death.
Long Live Fraternity!
Britanya Halk Meclisi
Kurdish Community Centre
DAYMER (Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre)
NLCH (North London Community House)
Tohum Cultural Centre
G?K-DER (Refugee Workers Cultural Association)
Cf. Coalition of Resistance and Black Activists Rise against the Cuts, “Riots, Recession and Resistance” (9 August 2011); “Turkish-Kurdish Community in Dalston Gives Press Announcement About Riots in London” (Britannia24/7, 10 August 2011).