Re-visiting the origins of the Birmingham riots


by Sunny
30th November, 2005 at 6:08 am    

Ed Vulliamy wrote an article in the Guardian yesterday about five weeks after they happened. Such a detailed retrospect was bound to turn up, specially since there is still no sign of the 14 year old girl that was allegedly raped.

Though he does an admirable job of putting together a good narrative and bring out the main issues, the article doesn’t cover all the issues properly. Here are some of the bits that stand out.

1. Making a big deal out of it.

“We have never had black-on-Asian violence,” says Martin Blisset, the appalled chairman of the Afro-Caribbean Millennium Centre. “It is something new and terrible, which shows how our society is changing. We seem to be destroying what is best about this country – that people of different cultures learn to live together.”

Ok, that is just pure exaggeration. What it means is we’ve never had a mass disturbance with Africans and Asians against each other covered in the media extensively. Our society isn’t being destroyed, it’s evolving. Learn from it and get over it.

2. The hair and beauty angle.

Kirk Dawes, a black former drug squad officer who now runs a mediation service that would later be drafted in to assist in the crisis, says: “It was felt by black people to be the unspoken thing for a long time: a feeling that they are selling our products – and hair and beauty was the last straw, the one thing they still had.”

I published an email I got in the first post we did on the riots (picked up by Nick Cohen), basically said the same thing. Essentially, it demonstrates that some frustrations have built up in the area due to economic under-achievement. And for that the Asian community is blamed.

3. Some attention is also paid to the shop-owner Mohammed, who was never found to be guilty. At one point he says:

“about 15 or 20 men came here, calling me a rapist, threatening to burn my shop and shoot me. I called the police three times, and said I hadn’t done anything. They just told me to call again if there was trouble.”

This has come up repeatedly from people in the area – the reluctance of the police to treat this seriously until it all blew up. Then they decided to allocate 600 officers to the area. Why wasn’t some quick action forthcoming when this was about to blow? Hell, I knew there was going to be trouble 4 days before.

4. The most inflammatory quotes as ever provided by Maxi Hayles, a “leading campaigner” previously awarded for apparently “Building a Fair and Just Community”. So does he try and calm things down? Hell no!

“We have a South African situation here,” he claims. “White on top, coloured Asian in the middle and African at the bottom. If you want a taxi – Asian. If you want petrol – Asian. Off-licence – Asian. Access to banks – Asian. Even Afro-Caribbean food – Asian. Our community feels trapped. The truth about integration is that we do not integrate with the Asians; we coexist. I applaud those who work 24/7. But [the Asians] have an unfair advantage: they came from Uganda and Kenya with money. I cannot condone what Idi Amin is supposed to have done – I stress supposed to have done – but the fact is that the Afro-Caribbeans were here first, then the Asians came and built an economy based on the millions they had made in Africa.”

Sorry uncle but you are really out of your depth here. Firstly, most of the Asians who came here from Uganda and Kenya were Sikhs, not Pakistanis (who predominantly live in the Lozells area). Many of the Sikhs also came over with very little money because Idi Amin “supposedly” (he says) chucked them out of the country without much money. Stop making excuses man!

5.Inciting the violence.

Asian recollections of what was said on the radio are distressing. Mohammed Saleem of the Birchfield Traders’ Association remembers the message: “There are not enough of you pussies out there in the street! This is between black and the Muslims!” He also recalls people ringing in to urge: “Kill the Muslims.” “What amazes me,” he says, “is that this Warren G is now a hero in the black community. There is supposed to be law against incitement. If an Asian had said that on radio, he’d be in Guantánamo Bay by now.”

Hell yeah, and if an Asian said that – I’d be calling for them to be deported to Gitmo. At the same time, I want to see Ofcom carry on their investigation and see who did the inciting. Why should they get away with it?

6. Making it into a race war.

“They came from Birmingham and from all over Britain,” says Dawes. “You’d be amazed what they were saying: I had people who thought that black people couldn’t walk the streets of Birmingham. Then,” he says with a sigh, “the political activists got involved. People in the community who wanted to turn this into a Black-Asian affair. There were people committed to using this as an issue to create disturbance; it turned from being about the so-called rape, into something about the exploitation of the black community. It was seized upon by people who wanted to turn it into a race war.”

Bingo. This is exactly what we had been saying here. With race and religious politics dominated by so called “community leaders” these days, this is bound to happen.

Omissions
There are two angles I feel the story missed out. Firstly, nothing much is said about the secret underbelly of Asian racism, uncovered by Darcus Howe over a year ago. That racism got Isiah Young-Sam killed and is probably one of the main reasons why resentment has built up. Unless this is also confronted head on, we will carry on pretending that everything is fine.

In fact, not a lot is said of Isiah’s murder. This may be because he does not want to prejudice the trial, of which I have not heard much lately. The three caught were supposed to be sentenced on the 8th.

Secondly, the article does nothing to mention community representatives. It would have been useful also to show that these bunch of self-styled “leaders” were completely useless in controlling the situation, despite their claims all over the press.

That may also make the government realise they aren’t really in touch with today’s youth, and to involve them in a dialogue is only getting half the story.

On a side note, The Voice newspaper is rightly highlighted for foolishly fuelling the tension. I also heard they received a call from Birmingham police criticising them for taking that stance. Good to see they backtracked.


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  1. blue mountain — on 30th November, 2005 at 6:43 am  

    Firstly, most of the Asians who came here from Uganda and Kenya were Sikhs

    Wrong fact Dude. Majority were Gujratis not Sikhs

  2. blue mountain — on 30th November, 2005 at 6:50 am  

    Nice post.

  3. blue mountain — on 30th November, 2005 at 6:51 am  

    That racism got Isiah Young-Sam killed and is probably one of the main reasons why resentment has built up

    How did you reach this conclusion ? Please clarify

  4. blue mountain — on 30th November, 2005 at 6:53 am  

    Everyone is racist…Japanese,Chinese,Indians,Pakistanis and Africans ..all are racist.

  5. douglas — on 30th November, 2005 at 7:24 am  

    Sunny,

    Excellent analysis. Looks like there are a few people who are repositioning themselves.

    It would be useful to teach all kids from an early age that democracy is not just about who gets the most votes, it is also about due process and the rule of law. And that everyone has a common interest in seeing that supported.

    The breakdown here is the willingness of people to listen to uninformed rabble rousers, a common enough theme throughout history, and to be honest played upon by the press. Who can forget the paediatrician whose workplace was attacked by the marching morons during a previous rush of blood to the head. Or is that just another urban myth?

    douglas

  6. tim osman — on 30th November, 2005 at 9:18 am  

    I remember years ago, going to the movie theater and watching a movie entitled “The Sixth Sense.” In the movie there was a young boy who was able to see dead people. At the time I remember thinking how eerie that would be, but did not give it much more thought. In the movie, the dead were able to make contact with the boy and it was very frightening for him. Try as he may, he could not escape the voices and visions of the dead.

    Lately I have found myself in the same predicament, but instead of the clinically dead, I see the brain dead. I can’t get away from these mindless zombies. Everywhere I go, they are there. The worst part is, they cannot be detected by sight, smell or touch. One way to identify them is to look for the sheepish gaze in their eyes, but the best way that I have found is to listen for the mindless tripe passing over their lips.

    I think it would be a lot easier if I had a pair of special eyeglasses, maybe like the ones that were used in the movie “They Live.” At least then I would know when I was in danger of coming into close contact with one of them and hide my wallet from their grasp. As with most vampire-like creatures, they live off the life-blood of others, and would love nothing more than to suck someone dry.

    At first observation they seem very ordinary, but upon closer examination the signs will become evident. One of the signs to look for is in the posture of their arm, as it is always in a horizontal position with their palm facing up. If you encounter such a creature, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction, clutching your wallet as tightly as possible. Whatever you do, please do not let them trick you into giving up your life-blood, even if it is under the guise of a really good cause!

    Their mantras are usually the same: It’s for the children; It takes a village; There ought to be a law; I know what’s best for you; People are entitled to basic needs. Of course my first thought being, how is this my problem? They are quick to enlighten me that it is everyone’s problem. Their pathetic dribble is only matched by their shameless welfare state of mind.

    I feel at times that I am in a bad horror movie, where all the logical and rational people are being replaced in the middle of the night with mindless pods, as in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” I see it everywhere I go, from the endless flag waving idiots who drive down the street with their “vote for Bush” or “vote for Kerry” bumper stickers, to the sheep who hold signs on Election Day telling you who to vote for, as if it matters in the first place.

    When will people learn that it does not matter who you vote for, government still gets elected? I have not participated in the sham known as voting for 12 years now, and I am ashamed that I ever did. There is nothing more brain dead than the people who walk around with their “I voted” pins stuck to their clothes on Election Day. To me it resembles a large beacon flashing the word “moron” over and over again.

    I must confess that I take pleasure in watching the mindless in action, and I have been known to watch the circus known as the General Elections(for entertainment value only). I truly enjoy watching the glazed over look the sheep get in their eyes as they wave their campaign sign for their candidate, and think to themselves, “If we could only get our man in office, then all would be right again.”

    With every election cycle, I know that the sheep will be too stupid to realize that if voting worked, it would be illegal, and they always manage to live up to my expectations of them as they stumble into the voting booths for another round. The problem seems to be that we just have not found the right man yet.

    Looking back, I really envy the little boy in the movie “The Sixth Sense” because his only fear was that of dead people, and dead people don’t vote. I, on the other hand, have to live the rest of my life in fear of Brain Dead People.

  7. Sakshi — on 30th November, 2005 at 10:02 am  

    Points you made are very valid. It’s time that other communities stop blaming Asians for their under-achievements.

    You don’t see us complaining…..

  8. tim osman — on 30th November, 2005 at 10:21 am  

    It’s time for the Asian community to ask the police for proof they attacked London –
    http://antagonise.blogspot.com/2005/11/london-77-how-to-be-good-part-1.html

  9. PapaHomer — on 30th November, 2005 at 10:45 am  

    Looks like you attracted a conspiracy theory peddling troll Sunny. Good luck getting rid of him ;-)

  10. Jai Singh — on 30th November, 2005 at 11:21 am  

    Blue Mountain,

    =>”Wrong fact Dude. Majority were Gujratis not Sikhs”

    Correct but I think Sunny’s specifically referring to Birmingham.

  11. contrarymary — on 30th November, 2005 at 11:52 am  

    Sunny – yes there are omissions and oversights, as with any piece of reporting whether TV, radio or press. there will always be a wealth of material left out.

    personally I feel Martin Blissett’s comments are valid, and to dismiss them with ‘Our society isn’t being destroyed, it’s evolving. Learn from it and get over it.’ is nothing short of patronising.

    are you on the ground in Lozells? of all the community leaders quoted he speaks the most sense. what he’s saying has an air of truth about it. there was a time – late 1970s and early 1980s – that blacks and asians stood together against racism and the NF. hell fought together. so yes it’s a depressing situation that now, in this instance, blacks and asians are fighting each other – rather than their oppressors, together.

    in fact this ties into your omissions, as the starting point of Darcus Howe’s investigation of inter-racial tension between blacks and asians is that in the 1970s especially, we stood together as one, we were all outsiders.

    what exactly is it you want Mr Blissett to ‘learn’ from this horrific situation?

  12. blue mountain — on 30th November, 2005 at 12:13 pm  

    Lately I have found myself in the same predicament, but instead of the clinically dead, I see the brain dead. I can’t get away from these mindless zombies. Everywhere I go, they are there.

    Of course ..Those who don’t believe in conspiracy theories are always brain dead !!!

    When will people learn that it does not matter who you vote for, government still gets elected? I have not participated in the sham known as voting for 12 years now, and I am ashamed that I ever did. There is nothing more brain dead than the people who walk around with their “I voted” pins stuck to their clothes on Election Day. To me it resembles a large beacon flashing the word “moron” over and over again.

    Why are living in the west ? You should be transported to Saudi Arabia if you hate elections and democracy !!!

    The problem seems to be that we just have not found the right man yet.

    Hmmm…I thought you already had one

  13. El Cid — on 30th November, 2005 at 12:40 pm  

    I take the point about immigrants sharing a common heritage as newcomers to Britain. But I think racial prejudices between Africans and Asians predate the Windrush. I don’t think there was ever a golden era.
    I’m not suggesting for one second that things were ever as bad as they seem to be now. But take a look at Guyana. And hell, Uganda too is a case in point. Or Fiji.
    And isn’t there something similar in Indonesia and Malaysia, where instead of south Asians it is the Chinese that are business class and who are resented by the Javanese and Malays.
    And then there are black-Korean tensions in south LA….

  14. SKye-Vee — on 30th November, 2005 at 12:55 pm  

    tim osman

    Dead people do infact exist. They sometimes even have a vote. If you see floating envelopes heading to the postbox at the next local elections you’d agree.

  15. Uncleji — on 30th November, 2005 at 1:09 pm  

    “We have never had black-on-Asian violence,”
    I happily recieved coolie insults along with my beatings at school.

    Just to be fair if you want some Asian-on-black violence try bringing a Afro partner along to meet Mumji.

    Do you think a certian Harjit Singh regrets nominating his mate Maxi Dawes for the community award ?!

  16. El Cid — on 30th November, 2005 at 1:13 pm  

    best ignore him

    P.S. At the risk of repeating something somebody else has already mentioned, there are scary parallels with Rwanda, if what you say about the radio station is true. Incitement indeed.
    (I’m assuming Warren G isn’t the rapper from the original electro and body-poppin’ 1980s!).

  17. leon — on 30th November, 2005 at 1:14 pm  

    “Just to be fair if you want some Asian-on-black violence try bringing a Afro partner along to meet Mumji.”

    That’s assuming you get as far as through the door…

  18. Inders — on 30th November, 2005 at 1:33 pm  

    contrarymary, try looking up the handworth riots, many of the shops looted were asian shops, many of the rioters were black.

  19. tim osman — on 30th November, 2005 at 1:35 pm  

    I like this website better

    http://www.officialconfusion.com/

  20. contrarymary — on 30th November, 2005 at 1:36 pm  

    I’m a huge fan of pirate radio, and believe it serves a valid and useful purpose, by servicing communities with mainly music – that isn’t featured on legitimate/mainstream radio with their purely commercially orientated playlists.

    pirate radio is by definition illegal, so you cannot expect it to be held accountable in the same way as legitimate radio.

    who censors the shock jocks on legitimate radio for their inflammotry comments?

    rather than pointing the finger at Warren G, who basically said on air what was being said on the ground and in the streets, how about holding the police accountable for failing to police the situation, and prevent it blowing up into a riot??

    as sunny points out, as many of us did at the time (it’s also highlighted in the guardian piece), it was obvious it was going to snowball into a flashpoint/riot.

    so why didn’t the police diffuse the situation. they were the only body in this situation with the authority and standing to calm it down.

    nobody would listen to a community leader because, he/she would represent one side of the argument. the police however serve the people and are unbiased (in an ideal world).

    don’t shoot the messenger – warren g.

  21. Uncleji — on 30th November, 2005 at 1:44 pm  

    “black on asian vo

    “We have a South African situation here”

    No we don’t because Asians don’t have extra privileges confered by an apartheid regime. Thankful nor do we have amything like the 1949 Cato Manor Riots http://durban.kzn.org.za/durban/about/3.html.

  22. Sunny — on 30th November, 2005 at 1:54 pm  

    ContraryMary – I disagree. If you’re in the media you also have to exercise a degree of self restraint and have responsibility. Just because pirate stations are illegal, and to be honest I don’t support Ofcom shutting scores of them down as it has been recently, a DJ still has a responsibility to his/her listeners.

    Spreading rumours that may lead to riots is inciting violence, specially if its just rumours. Its a bit like saying the Daily Mail is just a messenger and is therefore blameless for incting slow-seeping racism.

    Shock jocks are opinion based. If you hear any racism in their opinions, people in America start demonstrations.

    there was a time – late 1970s and early 1980s – that blacks and asians stood together against racism and the NF.

    Yes and no. I’m not denying we have some commonalities, but to be honest more white people have stood up against the NF and BNP than Asians and blacks ever have. On a political level Africans and Asians have stood together as “Blacks” and we have common cause in promoting diversity and equality, but on the ground level there has always been racism and mis-trust. That is what I’m getting at.

    Plus, I don’t want to see things as a “them (white) and us mentality” that pitches the ‘ethnics’ against the whites in a political struggle. I’d like to have solidarity with everyone.

    In the same way, Sikhs and Muslims fight, despite “Asian solidarity”. Yes, lets get over it. Doesn’t mean I want to ditch the term Asian, but I’m not going to deny there are tensions and work to overcome them.

  23. El Cid — on 30th November, 2005 at 2:01 pm  

    Yeah, blame it on the Ol’ Bill! (even if there’s a whiff of damned if they do, damned if they don’t).
    As for pirate stations — I couldn’t live without them. Not even now when I should really be tuning into Radio 2.
    UnknownFM. Keep it locked.

  24. El Cid — on 30th November, 2005 at 2:20 pm  

    Fuck it. Cut and paste it: wwwunknownfm.com

    P.S. Couldn’t agree with you more Sunny.
    I could say similar stuff about white on white racism.

  25. nukh — on 30th November, 2005 at 2:29 pm  

    the post below is slightly out of context. i am sorry.
    it is an opinion published in yesterdays ft…the author is the nobel prize winning economist amartya sen, who i generally find myself in disagreement with. mostly over economic policy. however, i believe that here he offers an idea/s, which if taken to heart may just work.

    Freedom and reason offer the solution to cultural confusion
    >By Amartya Sen
    >Published: November 29 2005 02:00 | Last updated: November 29 2005 02:00
    >>

    The violent events and atrocities of the past few years have ushered in a period not only of dreadful conflicts but also of considerable confusion. The politics of global confrontation is frequently interpreted as a corollary of religious or cultural divisions in the world. Indeed, the world is increasingly seen as a federation of religions or of civilisations, ignoring all the other ways in which people understand themselves. Underlying this line of thinking is the belief that the people of the world can be categorised according to some singular and overarching system of partitioning.

    A single-focus approach is a good way of misunderstanding nearly everyone in the world. In our normal lives, we see ourselves as members of a variety of groups. The same person can be a British citizen, of West Indian origin, of African ancestry, a Muslim, a vegetarian, a socialist, a woman, a jazz lover, a teacher and a mathematician. Each of these categories gives her a particular identity. It is for her to decide what relative importance to attach to these affiliations, in any particular context. Central to human life are the responsibilities of reasoned choice.

    In contrast, violence is promoted by cultivating a sense of the priority ofsome allegedly unique identity. In enlisting Hutus for killing Tutsis, the potential recruits are told that they are just Hutus (“we hate Tutsis”) and not also Kigalians, Rwandans, Africans and human beings (identities that a Tutsi may also share). The imposition of an allegedly unique identity is often a ­crucial component of sectarian confrontation, including religion-centred ­terrorism.

    Unfortunately, many organised attempts to stop violence and terrorism are handicapped also by a single-focus vision. Attempts to politicise Islam have come not only from terrorist recruiters but also from those opponents who take the Islamic identity to be a Muslim person’s only identity. They seek, therefore, to enlist a “properly defined” Islam in the “right” cause, rather than trying to enhance the political and civic roles of people who happen to be Muslim. This has vastly magnified the power and voice of religious leaders, sometimes at the expense of civil society.

    These global problems have considerable bearing on internal policies in contemporary Britain. In many ways, Britain has been very successful in integrating people of diverse backgrounds and origins within society, compared with some other countries in Europe. The roots of integration can be traced to a variety of commitments to support the opportunities and freedoms of all legal residents – immigrant as well as native. Perhaps the most important contribution, the significance of which is often under-recognised, comes from giving immediate and full voting rights to all British residents from the Commonwealth, the origin of most non-European immigration here. This has been supplemented by largely non­discriminatory treatment in healthcare, schooling and social security, which has also helped to integrate rather than divide. It is important to see that amalgamation, rather than isolation, has been the central feature of this constructive process.

    So far so good. But Britain, too, is increasingly affected by the dangers of a single-focus vision, in particular that of seeing people in terms of religions and communities. It is not surprising that religious warriors relish that view, but those divisions have gained some ground even in official policy. This is not a question of whether multi­culturalism has gone “too far” in Britain. It is a question of the direction in which multiculturalism should proceed, particularly one of focusing on freedom rather than isolation. Multiculturalism can be understood in terms of making it possible for people to have cultural choice and freedom, which is the very opposite of insisting that a person’s basic identity must be simply defined by the religious community in which he or she is born, ignoring all other priorities and affiliations.

    The state policy of actively promoting new “faith schools” – now for Muslim, Hindu and Sikh children as well as Christian – illustrates this approach. It is not only educationally problematic, it encourages a fragmentary perception of the demands of living in a desegregated Britain. Many of these new institutions are being created precisely at a time when religious prioritisation has been a major source of violence in the world. This adds to the history of such violence in Britain itself, including Catholic-Protestant divisions in Northern Ireland, which are themselves not unconnected to segmented schooling. Tony Blair, the prime minister, is certainly right to note that “there is a very strong sense of ethos and values in those schools”. But education is not just about getting children, even very young ones, immersed in an old, inherited ethos. It is also about helping children to develop the ability to reason about new decisions any grown-up person will have to take. The important goal is not some formulaic parity in relation to old Brits, with their old faith schools, but what would best enhance the capability of the children to live “examined lives” as they grow up in an integrated country.

    People’s priorities and actions are influenced by many different affiliations and associations, not just by their religion. For example, the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan was connected with loyalty to Bengali language and literature, along with political – including secular – priorities, not with religion, which both wings of undivided Pakistan shared. Muslim Bangladeshis – in Britain or anywhere else – may indeed be proud of their Islamic faith, but that does not obliterate their other affiliations and capacious dignity.

    Multiculturalism with an emphasis on freedom and reasoning has to be distinguished from “plural monoculturalism” with single-focus priorities and a rigid cementing of divisions. Multicultural education is certainly important, but it should not be about bundling children into preordained faith schools. Awareness of world civilisation and history is necessary. Religious madrasas may take little interest in the fact that when a modern mathematician invokes an “algorithm” to solve a difficult computational problem, she helps to commemorate the secular contributions of Al-Khwarizmi, the great ninth-century Muslim mathematician, from whose name the term algorithm is derived (“algebra” comes from his book, Al Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah). There is no reason at all why old Brits as well as new Brits should not celebrate those grand connections. The world is not a federation of religious ethnicities. Nor, one hopes, is Britain.

    The writer, Lamont university professor at Harvard University, was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize for economics. He will speak at the British Museum in London tomorrow on the theme of this article. His next book, Identity and Violence, will be published by WW Norton in March
    >

  26. Sunny — on 30th November, 2005 at 3:37 pm  

    Everyone is racist…Japanese,Chinese,Indians,Pakistanis and Africans ..all are racist.

    BlueMountain – that does not make our racism any more right. You’re either against racism or you’re not. If you’re not, then stop complaining about it.

    I also reached the conclusion that Isiah Young-Sam was killed due to racism becausea big group of Asian youngsters got out of their car and stabbed him and his brother, and then tried to escape the country. I don’t think they somehow did it just for jokes.

  27. contrarymary — on 30th November, 2005 at 3:43 pm  

    sunny – Warren G’s, responsibility to his listeners was to not ignore the chinese whispers sweeping through lozells. as far as his audience were concerned, that was what was being talked about.

    and the daily mail example simply reinforces the point… who exactly does pull up the daily mail for its racist under-and-over tones?? not the PCC, not the newspaper buying public, not the government.

    oh but they’re establishment so beyond taking any responsibility. whereas pirate radio, and a DJ, makes a convenient scapegoat in the Lozells scenario.

    it seems to me there’s a denial of wanting to look at the root causes of how this situation has come to bear – blame pirate radio for the rumour spreading is basically saying blame the black community in lozells for the racist murder of a young black man by Asians!

    how about the asian community in Lozells taking responsibility for its own muderous sons?? instead of trying to shift the focus of attention on pirate radio and Warren G.

    El Cid – personally I’m a fan of Rinse FM. Brap, Brap, Brap.

  28. Jez — on 30th November, 2005 at 4:21 pm  

    Today in Birmingham :
    #Woman assaulted during break-in
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/4484866.stm

    An elderly woman has been sexually assaulted by a man who broke into her home in West Bromwich.
    The man got into the house during the early hours of Wednesday as the woman, whose exact age has not been released, was sleeping.

    Police were called to the address which is said to be near to Trinity Way.

    The woman is now recovering in hospital. The offender is a black man, 5ft 2in tall, who was wearing dark clothing and white trainers.

    # Armed raiders shoot man in face
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/4480888.stm

    Masked raiders shot a 21-year-old shop assistant in the face during an armed robbery in the West Midlands.
    The raid took place at a 24-hour convenience store in Walford Road, Sparkbrook, Birmingham, during the early hours of Tuesday.

    A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said two men walked into the shop, approached Mohammed Imran Shah and shot him with a type of firearm.

    He was taken to hospital where his condition was described as stable.

    The thieves got away with a laptop computer and mobile phone.

    They are described as tall, and were wearing dark clothing.

    ____

  29. Yusuf Smith — on 30th November, 2005 at 5:01 pm  

    (I’m assuming Warren G isn’t the rapper from the original electro and body-poppin’ 1980s!).

    That rapper was American – from Long Beach, California. I believe he’s the brother of Dr Dre or one of the other major west-coast gangsta rappers. If this Warren G was American, someone would have said so by now, and nobody has.

    Also, his era was the early-mid 1990s. His album Regulate – G-Funk Era was released in 1993 I think. I don’t think he made another album after that.

  30. Jeet — on 30th November, 2005 at 8:48 pm  

    Wow – Yusuf Smith is a hip hop nerd as well as a CULT expert

  31. Rohin — on 30th November, 2005 at 9:22 pm  

    Regulate by Nate Dogg and (the American) Warren G is an all-time classic. It came out in ’94 and he found fame with Snoop and Nate Doggs as a group called 213.

    Dr Dre is his half brother. See, rap’s a bit like Bollywood – very claustrophobic, all about nepotism. That’s where the similarity ends. He produced work for Snoop, 2Pac and Breed.

    His second album came out in 97 Yusuf, Take a Look Over Your Shoulder. Didn’t do well. His third album came out around 99-2000 or thereabouts and was called I Want It All and his fourth was a few years back, called Return of the Regulator. He’s now signed to Lightyear.

    Just cos we don’t talk about music on here, doesn’t mean we don’t know about it!

    Nukh, what are you doing quoting a left-wing Bengali?

    Crazy link – his son is a rapper, MC Kabir. Aaaand the circle is complete. I’m good.

  32. Sunny — on 30th November, 2005 at 11:33 pm  

    and the daily mail example simply reinforces the point… who exactly does pull up the daily mail for its racist under-and-over tones?? not the PCC, not the newspaper buying public, not the government.

    CM – this is exactly my point. We we have to have consistency. I cannot support Warren G’s (the DJ, not rapper) unsubstantiated and hate inciting tirades than I will ever support the Daily Mail’s position. One maybe the establishment, and other not but surely we should treat them the same. Why should anyone be given special treatment because of their race? If that was an Asian person, I’d be the first in line asking for them to be hanged (I’m generally harsher on Asians :) )

    blame pirate radio for the rumour spreading is basically saying blame the black community in lozells for the racist murder of a young black man by Asians!
    Of course pirate radio and the websites should be blamed for irresponsibly spreading those lies.

    We had racist messages posted on my other websites but the admins deleted them because they were offensive. Yet it took Blacknet days to delete them and after someone had died (I couldn’t look after PP as I was in Paris).

    I think its grossly irresponsible to post an unsubstantiated rumour that may start a race war on your media without backing it up with facts. That’s basic journalism – we both know that.

    how about the asian community in Lozells taking responsibility for its own muderous sons??
    Yes – we need to do that too, and I’m annoyed this has not been dealth with properly there. Asians there are still playing the victim mentality card. But that doesn’t excuse African racism.

  33. douglas — on 1st December, 2005 at 2:45 am  

    Sunny,

    I think nukh, quoting amartya sen, is hopefully right and possibly catastrophically wrong. It is undoubtedly true that people have a range of influences on who or what they are. I know a few Asian women who are biological scientists, and who, usually see that as who they are.

    However if a challenge is directed at a lesser element of their personality, for example the fact that they are Muslims, it is that aspect of their being that they find a need to defend.

    I do not see, either in native culture, nor for that matter in immigrant culture, a willingness to redefine oneself in the terms that amaryta sen suggests. On the hopeful side, it would be a huge step forward for rationalism and genuine diversity. On the other hand, if you attack my maleness, which is about fifth or so on how I define myself, you can expect me to defend it tooth and nail, ludicrous as that might seem. What I am trying to say is that we will defend just as strongly our lesser traits as these define us nearly as much as those we superficially see as more important.

  34. Bikhair — on 1st December, 2005 at 2:59 am  

    You Brits are weird. You guys should properly segregate like we do in the states. We can go our whole lives without seeing someone of another race, and this is how we get along. Blacks will have white authourity figures in the hood and Latinos at school but that is about it, for the most part.

  35. blue mountain — on 1st December, 2005 at 7:28 am  

    Post no. 31 …Rohin

    Nukh, what are you doing quoting a left-wing Bengali?

    The great man balks at attempts to categorize or appropriate him as ” left wing ”

    He says the crying need of India at this hour is:

    yes you guessed it

    A SECULAR RIGHT WING PARTY !!

  36. blue mountain — on 1st December, 2005 at 7:36 am  

    He even wants Gurcharan Das to head such an outfit !!!

  37. Uncleji — on 1st December, 2005 at 10:50 am  

    program tonight on radio 4 about it.
    Its that man Bassey again !
    it will be on listen again for next week or so online.
    Thursday

    The Battle of Lozells
    Thursday 1 December 2005 20:00-20:30 (Radio 4 FM)

    Amardeep Bassey examines the causes of the violence that erupted between black and Asian communities in the Lozells area of Birmingham earlier this year. The investigation reveals a history of mutual suspicion and rivalry that calls into question many of the assumptions made about multicultural Britain.

  38. TottenhamLad — on 1st December, 2005 at 12:08 pm  

    I see Birmingham is getting back to normal after the recent race-riots:

    Crazed (black) yobs run riot in (Sikh) temple

  39. Sunny — on 1st December, 2005 at 1:54 pm  

    Cheers for that Uncleji! Hmmm… that does not sound good TL, cheers for pointing that out.

    Bluey – I haven’t read the article yet but I’m assuming a right-wing secular party is better than a right-wing religious party.

  40. nukh — on 1st December, 2005 at 3:28 pm  

    blue mountain,
    everyone has a moment of lucidity once in a while…even left wing bengalis.
    anyways, where did sen suggest that india needs a secular right party? i would be very interested in reading that opinion..if it is not too much trouble.
    and since you mentioned, i would urge you and everyone interested to check out the blog named “secular right”
    http://secular-right.blogspot.com/

  41. nukh — on 1st December, 2005 at 3:28 pm  

    oops it is “secular right india”

  42. Uncleji says we needs fudys too — on 1st December, 2005 at 4:34 pm  

    “Mostly black yobs attack temple”

    I not making light of a terrible incident but……….
    Where are the scary men with sharp swords & long beards when you need them ?

    Are the police any good with dealing with these incidents ?
    Its been a year since a elder was murdered in a Gurdwara in the Midlands. It there a trend here ?

  43. El Cid — on 1st December, 2005 at 6:43 pm  

    Yusuf mate,
    I was only joking re Warren G.
    Thanks for the cut and paste from the wikipedia.
    Hey, you don’t suppose Sunny is from Sunny and Cher fame do you?

  44. blue mountain — on 2nd December, 2005 at 6:44 am  

    where did sen suggest that india needs a secular right party?

    Sen was so impressed by Gurcharan Das’s book India Unbound that he called him up and told him to start a new political party. Sen even suggested him the idea when he met Das in India.

  45. blue mountain — on 2nd December, 2005 at 6:48 am  

    Sen regularly states that India needs a right wing secular party.

  46. blue mountain — on 2nd December, 2005 at 7:19 am  

    Bluey – I haven’t read the article yet but I’m assuming a right-wing secular party is better than a right-wing religious party.

    A right-wing secular party is of course better than a right-wing religious party which in turn is better than a left wing secular party.

    hehe

  47. blue mountain — on 2nd December, 2005 at 7:53 am  

    oops

    Left wing pseudo-secular party !!

    :)

  48. Jai Singh — on 2nd December, 2005 at 11:18 am  

    Uncleji,

    =>”Where are the scary men with sharp swords & long beards when you need them ?”

    I was wondering the same thing. What were all the kirpan-wearing Amritdhari Sikhs doing while all this was going on ? And it’s not like other weapons aren’t available for the congregation to grab in the event of this kind of scenario, even if the weapons on display in gurdwaras are ceremonial.

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