The riots that gripped British cities in August 2011 were a graphic manifestation of the most disturbing global trend of our time: the growing gap between rich and poor, between the powerful and powerless, between those with unfettered dreams and hopes and those forced to focus on mere survival.Yes, I remember all those disaffected youth stealing bread and milk to feed their hungry families, Desmond…
The powerless have been increasingly alienated from decision-making. They have been asked to accept relatively modest lifestyles for themselves while tolerating extreme and obscene consumption by their more fortunate brothers and sisters on the other side of the fence.Is this socialism? It sure sounds like it to me! I rather thought that sort of thing was incompatible with religion…
The 2011 riots laid bare the truth that few human problems are more pressing than halting the slide of young people into absolute disaffection. Have we stopped to understand the factors that drove some young people to go out and riot and loot, while others of similar background – and facing similar predicaments – did not?We understand them, actually. We understand them all too well.
But these riots did not explicitly echo the common protest themes of human rights, equality and justice. And the violence and looting that took place did not seem to be perpetrated by any identifiable or organised group, with any particular goals besides personal enrichment and breaking societal rules.By George, I think he’s got it!
This situation is not unique to the UK; it is the global trend. At home, in South Africa, we are experiencing a spate of popular protests – termed "service delivery protests" – many of them characterised by violence, looting and the destruction of property. Eighteen years since the demise of apartheid, people rightly feel it is unfair for them to accept their marginalisation forever. Different countries, different contexts; similar causes and outcomes.Ah, I see. ‘It’s my turn in the driving seat’, right?
In Britain this week I will participate in an important conversation to examine the causes and effects of the 2011 riots, bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds to articulate their needs and those of their communities. The inter-generational character of the conversation – marrying the tremendous energy and power of young people to the knowledge and wisdom of adults – is fundamentally important. Conversation for Change is a key programme of the Tutu Foundation UK. We don't expect to turn things around overnight but recognise the importance of affording people a sense of hope – in themselves, in each other and in their communities.So, just what is this ‘Tutu Foundation’ doing that’s going to be different from all the other ethnic-specific pressure groups?
The answer seems to be ‘Nothing’:
The Tutu Foundation has slammed Croydon Council on the eve of the internationally renowned archbishop's visit to the borough. The attack comes after last-ditch attempts to persuade councillors to drop plans to cut funding for extra education for struggling children from the black and minority ethic (sic) communities (BME) were defeated on Monday.Ah. I see. Austerity should affect everyone but the BME 'community'…
Chief executive of the Tutu Foundation UK – set up by South African human rights campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu – Alexandra Ankrah branded the decision a "disappointing step".
"I visit programmes for young people all around the UK and see the tremendous difference that supplementary education programmes can make to young lives," she said.
"I am under no illusions about the funding challenges facing everyone, but there can be no doubt that history will judge harshly if, by our apathy, we place the greatest burden of the economic crisis on those least responsible for it."History will judge us harshly? History, love, is written by the winners. Whinging for more resources when everyone else is getting on with things isn't the action of a potential winner.
Labour councillor, Kathy Bee told the meeting she believed secondary schools were "still failing our black children and that isn't good enough."
The council still needed a strategy, she said, which supported people providing additional education.It’s left to the commenters to point out the obvious:
“Firstly, I find it a little rich when the labour councillor says that we are still failing our black children. Labour had 13 years in power, that is long enough to have done something about it.
Also, education is education, I cannot understand how teaching white, black, blue, green or purple kids should be any different. You are teaching them Maths, English, Science etc.
A second point, if this impacts 16 organisations and only 40 people (including kids) turned up to protest, there is hardly a large movement here. If I had read that 500 had appeared I would have thought differently. These organisations supplement what is provided by the state.
To me, this means that they should be responsible for raising money. Every day at work I see people doing charity runs, swims, hikes, cake selling, etc to raise money for charities. Many firms also allow staff to devote a number of days per year to work in the community for charities. Across 16 organisations we are talking £6,250 each and if we take the 40 people who turned up, that is £2,500 each (less with gift aid). So, my suggestion, do some marathons, a sponsored swim or something to raise the money.Well, indeed. Rattle that church collecting plate all you want, Tutu! Just get your hands out of MY pocket…