Anorak News | Brum Stuff

Brum Stuff

by | 24th, October 2005

‘SO rarely is Birmingham in the national news that you can easily forget the place exists. Not today though, as the Times leads with news of the riots in Britain’s second largest city.

No smoke without fire

A policeman was shot in the legs. A black man in his twenties was stabbed to death. Four people were stabbed. Cars were set ablaze. Police in riot gear were attacked with baseball bats, bottles and bricks.

That’s what happened. Those are the facts. The rest is so much speculation and rumour.

Why did it occur? What was the catalyst for this mayhem between the Asian and black communities in the city’s Lozells area?

Here the view becomes clouded. So the Times seeks clarification. And it spots Abdul Hussain, a resident of the district. He knows what triggered the trouble.

Speaking of the “kalas” – a derogatory term for black people in Punjabi – Hussain says it was all about the blacks trying to take from the Asians.

“This riot is about them getting hold of what we sell in our shops,” says he. “Someone has invented a story about a young girl being raped by a Pakistani to justify a smash-and-grab raid. If this rape exists, where is she? Is she doesn’t exist, why did they attack our property?”

Hold on a moment. What’s this about a young girl being raped? And even if this allegation is true, why should such a crime lead to a night of anarchy and murder?

It’s time to cross the road to hear the views of the other side. And the Times has a word with Maxwell, an 18-year-old student. He claims to know someone who knows the alleged victim.

“We have been pushed around for too long,” says Maxwell, who it can be assumed is black. “That lot think they can do whatever they want, including rape our women. Now they know they can’t.”

Do they? Does any of us really know anything, other than the ugly truth that a man has been killed? If the riot was meant as a show of strength, it failed horribly.

It’s hard to find fault with the Telegraph’s editorial, which talks of an “alarming breakdown in race relations”, although the claim that it’s “becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between large parts of Birmingham and South Central Los Angeles” – a place infamous for gun crime and rioting – is a little extreme.

But what of this alleged crime? The Times says that three men have been arrested in connection with an allegation of rape of a 14-year-old girl.

But Assistant Chief Commissioner David Shaw, of the West Midlands police, says his force had not received a “shred of evidence” to support the claim. No girl has come forward. No victim has been identified.

And then there’s the 33-year-old Asian man who owns Beauty Queen Cosmetics. Posters around his shop say, “Teenager brutally assaulted and raped” and “A rape happened here”.

But it’s all lies says the shopkeeper. “I truly don’t know where all this has come from,” says he. “I can only suspect that this campaign of hate has been initiated by rivals who can’t stand the fact that an Asian man is selling Afrian products.”

Black community leaders think otherwise. They say the alleged victim may yet come forward, but might be reluctant to do so because she might be an illegal immigrant.

Which all adds up to a lot of allegation, suspicion and rumour. Which though not enough to get a conviction, let alone produce a victim, is more than enough to lead to rioting and murder.

And makes us wonder if something else lies at the heart of this matter…’

Posted: 24th, October 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink