Thursday, July 27, 2006

“Someday a real rain will come...”

Last night I watched a documentary called The Boys Who Killed Stephen Lawrence. If you don't know who Stephen Lawrence was, please do click here.

I'd seen a news story the previous day about some of the new revelations that were to come to light in this documentary, and so I felt compelled to watch it. In fact, I probably would have anyway, because, like many people in the UK, I am astonished at how this case has gone unsolved for 13 years. Of course, I should rephrase that: not unsolved, because it surely is solved; rather, that the guilty have gone unpunished.

I haven't studied the case closely. I probably know no more about it than the average citizen. Arguably I may even know less, since I don't read newspapers. But hell, you know me: that won't stop me from having an opinion...

One of the things that struck me most was how these "boys" -- in reality, violent, dangerous thugs -- had got away with several non-fatal stabbings in the months and years prior to the attack on Stephen. Not only that, but that many people in the area knew full well that these idiots regularly carried knives of up to 2ft (60cm) in length out in the street. What I didn't know was that they had attacked white youths as well as black, which surely is going to make a "racist killing" verdict so much harder, should the case ever return to a courtroom. (This return is, though, at least a possibility now that we've scrapped the Double Jeopardy laws.) Of course, we all know they are racists: witness the conversations they had while under police supervision:

Suspect David Norris: "If I was going to kill myself ... I'd go and kill every black cunt in the country, every Paki, every copper ... I'd go down Catford and places like that with two sub-machine guns and I'd take every one of them, skin the black cunt alive, mate, torture him, set him alight. I'd blow their two legs and arms off and say go on, you can swim home now."
Suspect Neil Acourt: "I reckon that every nigger should be chopped up, mate, and they should be left with nothing but fucking stumps." (from Guardian Unlimited)

We, in Britain, all know that within days of news of the attack on Stephen, the police were inundated with calls from local people, almost all of them naming this same gang as the most likely culprits. Turns out now, though, that one of the senior policemen in the investigation was taking bribes from the father of one of the suspects. Ah, so now things all start falling into place...

I don't know...

We've entered a new and wholly unsavoury era in the UK. FourDinners's post of a couple of days ago highlights this too. Everyone (and I mean that in a general way) hates everyone. The blacks hate the whites; the whites hate the blacks; the Jews hate the Muslims; hell, the whites hate the Muslims; the Muslims hate the whites and the Jews; the police hate the Brazilians, seemingly, or at least can't tell them apart from the Asians; we all hate the people we work for; the people we work for all hate us. This is one miserable fucking country we've got going on here...

But after watching this documentary last night, I turned to Wife and said: "Y'know, there's some people that I really don't like. Sometimes I know I'll turn to you and say, 'I hate so-and-so for this reason or someone else for that reason', but I can't imagine going out and stabbing them. Really getting right up in their face and sinking a huge fucking blade into them. And yet there are people out there that do this just for fun or just as a random attack, not even knowing the victim, and the victim never having done anything to them."

I went and took a shower then, to wash away "the scum, the cunts, [...] the filth, the shit".

Stephen Lawrence, 1974-1993, RIP



Blogger Pie said...

It's like this corrupt evolution of man, turning into mindless killers instead of the beautiful triumph of thought we could be. Maybe the human brain can't handle intelligence and just short-circuits and fries. Maybe nothing is supposed to become intelligent, it's too complex. Animals rarely behave in this way - it's not because they are able to think on a higher level, to sort out their differences, it's because it's pointless and serves no purpose. What possible purpose could this killing serve?

27 July, 2006 11:12  
Blogger Adam said...

So, this may sound like a dumb question - but I'm compelled to ask, is racism as big of a problem there as it is in the US? biggotry and whatnot?

27 July, 2006 16:30  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Pie: Yeah, that about sums it up.

Adam: I think the first difference is that the UK is smaller. As a result, everyone lives very close together. There is also a supposed "melting pot" sensibility. The problem is that much of this is fake. Of course, some of us like the benefits of a multicultural society. But because racism is so suppressed here -- probably because of the lengths Britain went to to help stamp it out in WWII -- it goes underground, where it is arguably more problematic. It may not be a bigger problem than in the US, but it's a different version of the same problem, from what I can make out. Of course, none of this is helped by the fact that we have borders that are much more open than those in the US. And in times of financial depression, which we have seen in recent years, cheap Eastern European labour has helped increase concerns over immigration control. It's whole bunch of stuff, I guess. Happy days :-)

27 July, 2006 17:17  
Blogger Adam said...

Fascinating - my last real heart ache was a british chick that moved here before college and I just always got the impression from her that the US was just so terrible in every facet, it's almost - refreshing to hear about the UK dealing w/ the same problems.

27 July, 2006 19:36  
Blogger the cappuccino kid said...

hanging is too good for them. i don't think they will ever be brought to justice on this one, which is a fucking shame!

27 July, 2006 19:40  
Blogger _z. said...

Discrimination is everywhere. If it is not about race, it is about religion, gender, or social status.

Speaking of racism in the U.K, i recently read "How Soccer Explains the World"; the author/journalist travels around the world and visits famous clubs and tells the stories of what's behind the "game". I knew football involved a lot of racism but didn't really know how much and to what extents... I was stunned reading the stories behind the Celtics and the Rangers, or even the stories behind Chelsea FC (one of my fav. football clubs in the premiership)...

it is a pity to judge ppl, just because they are different in some way.

27 July, 2006 20:34  
Blogger wrinkled weasel said...

Imagine how the parents of Stephen Lawrence have felt all this time, suspecting that the coppers were bent. Their frustration and sorrow has probably been the daily cross they bear. It is almost irrelevant now whether or not the suspects are brought to justice. The bigger issue is, will the Metropolitan Police allow the truth to come out and will police officers be prosectuted?

I did not see the programme but it is impossible to believe that one bent copper jepardised an entire operation. There would have been others who knew what was going on.

All in all, those who should be most ashamed are the very people who are supposed to uphold the law and catch criminals. It is outrageous that most of the relvelations about the case have been media led or the subject of an external enquiry.

There will always be murderous thugs. We cannot change that. What we can change is the attitude of those who are assigned to protecting the public.

As a by the way, I happen to share a birthday (21st Feb) with Anthony Walker, another black lad who was battered to death in a racist attack. Encouragingly the culprits were apprehended very early on, so maybe the police have learnt a few lessons.

27 July, 2006 22:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The poor family. This case makes me feel so down. Will their pain never cease?

27 July, 2006 22:43  
Blogger FOUR DINNERS said...

He was a young man with his future ahead. Good future or not it was his. He had a right to his future. Everyone knows who killed him. Everyone knows who took that future away. If this was even halfway a decent country anymore they wouldn't have a future. Ever.

27 July, 2006 23:11  
Blogger apositivepessimist said...

I can't help but think of his poor family...especially his mum.

Why on earth was the eyewitnesses testimony disallowed?

28 July, 2006 01:20  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

stories like this make me so sad. humanity can be so evil... it's almost incomprehensible sometimes.

28 July, 2006 05:39  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Adam: Same probs everywhere, I think, these days.

Cappy: Yep. Hopefully their day will come...

_z.: Discrimination does appear to be on the rise. It's a crying shame, really.

WW: Hi there! You're right that one bent cop can't perhaps do this much damage alone, but it was the ensuing Macpherson Report (?) that found the Met guilty of institutional racism. So, one bent cop and a bunch of racist ones. What chance did the Lawrences stand for getting justice?

RD: It must have been a fucking hard 13 years. And it ain't over yet...

4D: Agreed, mate.

APP: The whole thing was a mess, it seems. And there were threats made to the jury members etc...

MEB: But isn't evil for the sake of evil the worst kind?

28 July, 2006 18:48  
Blogger Aidan said...

That "How Soccer Explains The World" book is interesting in places, but a lot of the claims and supposed expertise just don't ring true at all.

I now have Tom Lehrer's "National Brotherhood Week" running around my head...:
Oh, the white folks hate the black folks,
And the black folks hate the white folks.
To hate all but the right folks
Is an old established rule.

But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
Lena Horne and Sheriff Clarke are dancing cheek to cheek.
It's fun to eulogize
The people you despise,
As long as you don't let 'em in your school.

Oh, the poor folks hate the rich folks,
And the rich folks hate the poor folks.
All of my folks hate all of your folks,
It's American as apple pie.

But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
New Yorkers love the Puerto Ricans 'cause it's very chic.
Step up and shake the hand
Of someone you can't stand.
You can tolerate him if you try.

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Moslems,
And everybody hates the Jews.

But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week,
It's National Everyone-smile-at-one-another-hood Week.
Be nice to people who
Are inferior to you.
It's only for a week, so have no fear.
Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!

30 July, 2006 17:58  

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