On the evening of Saturday 17 January 1981, Yvonne Ruddock was celebrating her 16th birthday among friends and family. Gerry Francis, a friend, was pumping out a menu of reggae music – Bob Marley and the Wailers, Big Youth, Dennis Brown.It’s a shame the ‘Guardian’ didn’t heed all that stuff about ‘inflamed rhetoric’ they were writing last week about the Tea Party, because what follows from Howe is, well, pure agitation…
Suddenly an explosion rent the party asunder. Blazing flames transformed dance into blood and hellfire. At the end of this holocaust there were nine dead. By 9 February four more had died.
That was exactly 30 years ago and my heart still sinks in despair at the New Cross fire. With all the forensic facilities at Scotland Yard's disposal, in spite of eyewitnesses who saw a white man who pulled up at the house in an Austin Princess and slung a Molotov cocktail into the party, despite the milk bottle with a fitted wick found at the base of the window sill, the authorities have still been unable to tell us the cause(s) of the fire.That would be the ‘forensic facilities’ that one of your fellow race-mongers decries in an article in, well, the ‘Guardian’:
The recording artist and poet Linton Kwesi Johnson is one of the founding members of the New Cross Massacre Action Committee. Twenty years on he is deeply cynical about the Met's new investigation. "Over the years they've had various theories," he says. "Now they are going on about forensic science. Forensic science can say anything the police want it to say..."There’s no pleasing some…
The bombs and the bomb theory disappeared, to be replaced by the idea that the fire resulted from a fight breaking out. At our meetings we could easily undermine this theory with the help of witnesses. The police and their handmaidens in the press could not undermine the authenticity of the people.Which is why you and your ‘people’ managed to overturn the inquest and get ‘A white boy did it and ran away!’ recorded as a verdict, eh?
Except, they didn’t. From that same article:
Police officers involved in the new investigation say they have completely ruled out the idea that a fight broke out at the party. They have also ruled out the idea of an attack from someone outside.It doesn’t matter, though. At this stage, I don’t think anyone would accept the answer, unless it was the one they wanted to hear…
Today, though, little has changed. Black people are still seven times more likely than white people to be targeted by police. Under section 44 of the 2000 Terrorism Act, parliament granted police the power to stop and search black and Asian people willy-nilly until the European court of human rights last year declared the practice illegal.Sound familiar?
I have spoken to youths aplenty, and welling up within them is the inevitable thirst for violent retaliation. Perhaps the quote from Bongo Jerry, a Jamaican dub poet, expresses the sentiment best: "Sooner or later but must the dam going to bust/and every man will break out/What force can stop this river of man/who already knows its course."
Over Deptford a racist stench continues to pollute the air. The educational institution built in memory of Stephen Lawrence was desecrated with racist graffiti most foul.Indeed it was. But when one of the suspects turned out to be himself black, did you have anything to say about that, Darcus?
The comments are well worth reading; Darcus gets a hammering on all fronts, and even the mods can't help too much. Cath Elliot beclowns herself by demanding answers, right now!, and insisting thst the state keep on holding inquests until the right result is achieved, and Michael Rosen raises a spirited defence by proclaiming institutional racism endemic to white society is at the bottom of it all, before his third-rate-sociology-lecturer argument is filleted with exquisite precision by Laban Tall.