London Riots and New Ways of Relating
It seems the world population of disadvantaged young people hit a new low with the video of a boy bleeding and distressed, was being helped, or so it seemed, yet the help was merely a distraction while someone from behind was stealing from his backpack.
How down and dirty do we have to get to finally confront the fact we need to weave a new pattern of relating. This is a worldwide issue, not just for those in England. The threads for this new pattern come from environmental, political, social, and personal crises that seem to escalate with each passing day.
Is there a new way to organize the human enterprise? Is there a new way to define relationships? Is there a new way of handling crises?
All issues overlap and require us to address the fundamental nature of human beings, the exercise of power, the cost of limited accountability, the skewed manner in which we divide our resources.
If we are going to ask our leaders to tackle tough questions and find helpful solutions, we have to go beyond the same old rhetoric that has been used in London, that the behavior of the “thugs” is unacceptable. Will order be restored? If so how, put more people in prison, use more plastic bullets, stun guns, water hoses? What is the “order” that will be restored?
Let’s dig deeper.
Structural violence is a term coined by Norwegian peace researcher Johan Galtung. It describes the deleterious impact on people who are at the bottom of the economic ladder. It manifests through poverty, homelessness, unemployment, racial discrimination and all the barriers imposed that cause intrinsic inequality.
We have forgotten the ways of the indigenous peoples who had so much to teach us about the essence of the collective group. We have ignored the rallying cry of the founding individuals of the United States, those who insisted in this brave new world, that the health of the whole community was more important than the opportunity for any one individual to become rich.
The looters and bus burners in England are making a statement. They have no other skills and tools to enter into a dialogue.
They use what they have learned. However, the BIG question is not “what should we do to restore order”. First, there needs to be a deeper analysis of our systems of working together and ask “What changes can be made to include everyone, the whole community (meaning the planet) to be healthy, physically and emotionally?