I don't know how widely reported it has been outside of Britain but last Thursday there was an uprising of sorts in the very centre of London. Students and schoolchildren here have been demonstrating for some time against plans by the government to cut massive ammounts of funding to higher education and raise yearly university fees by more than half from around £3000 to up to £9000. The politricksters voted on the proposal on the Thursday and thousands of young people turned out on the streets of London to oppose it, only to be met by police in full riot gear with horses and batons.
Iman went along to the demonstration to represent I views as a Rastaman on the matter and maybe try to prevent some of the violence that has been present at previous events. What Iman did not realise however was just how badly the odds were stacked against the youths on that day. Although Iman did not arrive until around mid day, the police were using the tactic of 'kettling' for the entirety of the event.
For those not familiar with this tactic, it essentially means that the police form lines of riot police at every exit for the crowd to contain it and supposedly make it easier to manage. What has attracted the nickname of 'kettling' however, is that when you trap a crowd of people who are angry enough to take to the streets about something inside a police cordon and stop them from leaving, things are going to start boiling over.
Now when Iman arrived at Parliament square, Iman and I friends were forced inside the cordon by the police. Thousands were already trapped inside with no food, water or toilet facilities and some had been trapped since the morning. Inside, it wasn't difficult to tell that things were going to get heated. Those who were looking for a fight had the perfect excuse and many who weren't were angered enough to begin considering it. Not suprising then that within half an hour of I arriving, a large scale battle had broken out between the youth and the police at one of the exits to the square. This fighting went on for hours until the result of the vote was announced in the evening and the square erupted into more violence. By this time, Iman had been trapped inside for six hours and was trying to leave the square along with thousands of others who wanted nothing to do with the violence. When this peaceful crowd tried to leave, I and I were stopped from leaving by the police. The police then resorted to using their batons, riot shields and even charges by mounted police on peaceful people who wanted nothing more than to get away from the violence.
Now, education of the youth is something that is close to Iman heart. Selassie I teaches I and I that "Education of the youth is the surest guarantee of a better life" and I and I take that seriously. What babylon has done with this bill has essentially priced many of the youth out of the opportunity for higher education. Many of the angriest on Thursday were the poorest youths from the ghettos of London and I can't say Iman blame them for their reaction. It has been testing even for I to not lash out in anger after a police officer struck me in the back with his baton while the crowd I was in was being forced back into a riot.
What Iman hope to achieve with this Reasoning is perhaps mostly guidence. Iman feel as though I am at a crossroads at the moment. This event has perhaps prompted I to become slightly more politicised as a Rasta than Iman would like. Perhaps Iman am just more angry than normal at the injustice commited but I would like to Reason on the subject amoung I and I Rastafari people so perhaps Iman can gain a better overstanding of I position in this.