On Monday, Asian Network’s Sonia Deol held a lively debate on the Birmingham riots. One after the other community leaders said they had the situation under control.
Fat chance. The BBC Asian Network has always had a soft spot for community leaders. Any problem and a helpful array of local leaders, religious representatives or local councillors call up to offer their opinion.
Two days before, on Saturday 22 October, a 23 year old man was innocently walking back from the cinema with his brother when he was set upon by ten to eleven thugs and brutally murdered. His brother was also stabbed.
If he had been an Asian kid set upon by white or black youths there would have been outrage within our community. Instead, because it was a young African kid murdered by a gang of Asian youths – there was, and still is, silence.
He wasn’t the only one either. Aaron James, 18, was shot dead less than a mile from the scene of the rioting on Sunday.
Yet it took a group of around 70 women and children yesterday to hold the first joint demonstration condemning the brutal murders.
Unsurprisingly there was not a single Asian “community leader” to be seen, presumably because there was hardly any media interest. Where was the head of the Sikh Gurudwaras or the Mosque in Birmingham? More importantly, why wasn’t Khalid Mahmood MP there?
Salma Yaqoob, vice-chair of the Respect party, blamed “a vacuum in local Asian leadership” in the Guardian on Tuesday. But isn’t the head of the Birmingham Central mosque, of which she is a spokesperson, supposed to provide leadership?
Since the violence erupted in Birmingham, both the African and Asian communities have adopted a position of defensiveness. The former claim that they are being economically and racially being discriminated against, while the latter say that they had nothing to do with the violence.
Yet, some of the first scenes of violence came on Saturday when a groups of Asian youths attacked a congregation (outside a Church) that had gathered to discuss the allegations of rape.
Racial politics in Britain have gotten to such a politically correct phase that if an Asian or African youth gets murdered by someone white – it makes national headlines. If the reverse happens, people don’t really want to talk about it – specially from those ethnic communities.
Asian media itself cannot shirk from its responsibility in reporting the murders in full. Meanwhile the BBC’s coverage of the two murders has been pathetically minimal, extending to both the Asian Network and 1Xtra – paralysed by political correctness.
Meanwhile, Asian and African gangs are freely roaming Birmingham and killing people yet the police response has been inadequate and the government does not seem too bothered.
Our “community leaders” meanwhile have said nothing condemning the two murders. Where is the outrage? Where is the solidarity? Where are the attempts to control the Asian gangs?
The fact is, as Navid Akhtar said last week in his documentary, they are so out of touch with the youth that they have no hope of controlling them.
They do not express any outrage because they have never really cared much for building bridges with other communities until a media opportunity comes along. Then they all clamour to get on radio and get their voices heard.
It is left to the ordinary women to do their jobs for them.
|Post to del.icio.us|
Filed in: Culture,Current affairs,Race politics