London Calling by Edwin Holwerda – on the riots and initiation rites

London Calling!

[Download pdf here:  London Calling! – Edwin Holwerda]

I am watching TV and what I look at hits me in the depths of my soul. What is happening in the world? I wonder. And how did it come to be that we get to see those kind of images broadcasted from a civilized country like England? From Croydon to Hackney, from Tottenham to Clapham, everywhere there are groups of people – especially men – on a looting rampage. Shops are being attacked and plundered. Windows are smashed. Buildings are on fire. Large parts of the city are ablaze. Respect for the police is minimal. Officers are challenged and provoked. It seems that the rioters persist in confronting the law.

This is London today. And it’s as if I am watching a Hollywood disaster movie. I seem to await the resurrection of the hero, as so often happens in these movies. A Brad Pitt-, Harrison Ford- or Denzel Washington-kind of character who, if all hopes are lost, gets up from his apparent death and does what needs to be done. Someone who calls people to order, respectfully appeals to their sense of responsibility, encourages them to share the task at hand and, in the end, ensures that the Kingdom is miraculously restored. But the hero does not show up, nor is he like a phoenix that emerges from its ashes. There are plenty of ashes on TV, but no hero, and I realize it’s just the BBC news that I am watching. To me, it’s all bizarre, frightening and very disturbing. Continue reading