Protest, Black Lives Matter, Jesus and the Rage Against the Machine…


FACE THE STRUGGLE OF A GENERATION

In August 2011, Mark Duggan was murdered by Tridant Police, in Tottenham, London…we are 5 years on and there’s still no justice for him, his family or for countless other black and ‘poor’ victims who are still being killed unjustly both here in the UK and abroard.

My wife happens to be the cousin of Mark Duggan…


RIOTS ARE THE LANGUAGE OF THE UNHEARD

You may have heard of Mark Duggan, as his assassination on 4th August 2011, led to the UK Riots, the worst in recent English history. The riots began after members of the family stood outside Tottenham Police Station for over 3 hours in a peaceful protest waiting for an explanation as to why Mark had been gunned down without a trial…no transparent answer, either then or to this day, has been forthcoming. 

In mourning, exasperated, hurt and angry by the response of the police and cover-ups concerning whether Mark had a gun, opened fire and so on, a few young people took matters into their own hands and started to attack an unmanned Police Car…

As other young people saw the unprecedented eruption of public outrage and anger against a police force and system that had already been excessively oppressive to the residents of Broadwater Farm, Tottenham since the racial tensions of the 1980’s and beyond, some joined in, taking their fight to the police, to the authorities. But many others became opportunists and began burning and looting and sacking local shops- the riots lasted 3 days and spread from London across the UK as far afield as Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Derby, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, West Bromwich, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, and Salford

Countless images of ‘hooded youths‘ branded as ‘chavs‘, ‘feral‘ and other derogatory terms filled the media and the focus of blame scapegoated heavily on the wanton destruction of violent youth [black] gangs and the ‘underclass‘ benefit scroungers that otherwise plague our otherwise ‘just, harmonious and equitable society’…

And in that typical Robin Hood outlaw narrative, nothing was said about the Sheriff (trident police) who shot an unarmed man driving in a taxi thus murdering a young family man in cold blood without trial…

And so ‘the blood cries out from the ground’ and Jesus’ words echoe in the streets, ‘Woe To The Rich‘, ‘Blessed Are the Poor,‘ and ‘I Came To Bring Fire On the Earth, And How I Wish it Were Already Kindled’

Martin Luther King said, ‘Riots are the language of the unheard
Have we heard yet?

The Cries of the Oppressed Are Increasing in Our ‘Rich Societies in the West’

And as my Jamaican Ancestors would say, ‘Those who cyan’t hear muss feel’

#NOJUSTICENOPEACE
The Bible tells us to; ‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless and see that they get justice’ -Proverbs 31:8

Often ‘victims’ of injustice do speak up, but no-one hears them. Their voices are not picked up by the platforms of the powerful. The national newspapers, when they picked up this Mark Duggan Riot story, immediately portrayed an image of black gangs, poor neighbourhoods and wanton destruction…but the voices of the ‘poor’, ‘marginalised’ and ‘oppressed’ people, who the media like only to portray as ‘criminals’ were muted and drowned out…

However, the middle class and respectable folk were applauded and congratulated themselves on getting their broomsticks out to clear up the mess caused by the rioters,  but who has cleared up the mess of the injustice that sparked the riots in the first place?

By the way…

Do you know how many ‘Bankers‘ have been convicted and sent to prison in the UK since the 2008 Financial Crash? (How much damage has their greed caused and to how many lives; including the affect their mammon-infused behaviour has had on the ‘criminals’ in the inner-cities who have had youth provision and community development funding cut and centres closed down)

Do you know how many ‘Celebrity and Establishmentpaedophiles have been caught, tried, convicted and put in prison since the Jimmy Saville scandal brought a fraction of their dark secrets to light? (You don’t see Scotland Yard chasing them down in their chauffeur driven taxi’s and executing the Hard Stop procedure on them to prevent public damage- but then, I suppose that’s because they are rich and powerful and local ‘gang leaders‘ are just scum to be ‘put down’ like dogs)

I have seen wicked people buried with honour. yet they were the very ones who frequented the Temple and are now praised in the same city where they committed their crimes! This, too, is meaningless. When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong‘ (Ecclesiastes 8:10-11)

Public opinion is shaped by the media which is owned and shaped by the powerful. History is written by the ‘victor’s but who is writing the story of the ‘victims’. Where are the platforms that are promoting the stories of the ‘poor’ and ‘oppressed’?

ThunderClapTv is a new media platform that intends to do just that…currently working with DREAM on a feature documentary film about the 2011 Riots, the family of Mark Duggan and the rise of UrbanMovements across the UK and beyond (see Trailer HERE)

‘The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all’ (Proverbs 29:7)

THE HARD STOP & THE INQUEST
‘The “hard stop” tactic is a planned operation that involves armed officers deliberately intercepting a vehicle to confront suspects.

Duggan was shot by a Scotland Yard marksman after armed officers stopped the taxi in which he was travelling in Tottenham, north London, in August 2011, sparking riots across England.

An inquest jury this month found he was lawfully killed by a police marksman despite being unarmed when he was shot.’ (The Guardian Newspaper)

The gun that the police said they had retrieved from over a fence near where they had killed Mark Duggan, had none of Mark’s DNA or finger prints on the gun

So the inquest jury’s verdict: LAWFUL KILLING

How is that possible?

And this is just one story amongst many of oppression and victimisation…however it is the one story that sparked the greatest civil unrest in recent British history…

Maybe the cries of the oppressed are reaching the ears of God…?

JUSTICE IN THE LAW COURTS

‘I also noticed under the sun there is evil in the courtroom. Yes, even the courts of law are corrupt! I said to myself, “In due season God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds’ (Ecclesiastes 3:16-17)

‘Again, I observed all the oppression that takes places under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless‘ (Ecclesiastes 4:1)

‘Don’t be surprised if you see a poor person being oppressed by the powerful and if justice is being miscarried throughout the land. For every. Official is under orders from higher up, and matters of justice get lost in red tape and bureaucracy. Even the King milks the land for his own profit!’ (Ecclesiastes 5:8-9)

‘Don’t rob the poor just because you can, or exploit the needy in court. For the LORD is their defender. He will ruin anyone who ruins them’ (Proverbs 22:22-23)

THE RISE AND FALL OF MANY

The prophet Simeon prophesied and blessed them [Jesus’ fam] and said to Mary the mother of Jesus: ‘This child [Jesus] is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against’ (Luke 2:34)

Have you ever considered what Jesus was DESTINED for?

To Cause the Falling and Rising of Many…

When Jesus was a grown man he said, ‘I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already set ablaze!’ (Luke 12:49)

LIKE MOTHER, LIKE SON  (Luke 1:46-55)

Mary, a pregnant teenager who was greater than the Beyoncé of her day, sang this song (wait till it gets to the hook at the end)…

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name

And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation

He has shown strength with his arms he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;

He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty handed. (Gwarn Mary!)

RAISE THE POOR FROM THE DUST AND SEAT THEM WITH PRINCES

He [God] lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, placing them in seats of Honor. For all the earth is the LORD’s, and he has set the world in order’ (1 Samuel 2:8)

SORROW AWAITS THE RICH

According to Jesus, sorrow awaits the rich…so, be careful not to get caught on the wrong side of history…

What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now. What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now, for a time of awful hunger awaits you. What sorrow awaits you who laugh now, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow. What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised the false prophets’ (Luke 6:24)

I’m sure we are well aware of the ever increasing wealth of the rich at the expense of the ever increasing poverty of the poor, according to the independent newspaper;  ‘The gap between riches and poorest has dramatically widened in the past decade as wealthy households paid off their debts and piled up savings following the financial crisis […] By contrast, the worst-off families are far less financially secure than before the recession triggered by the near collapse of several major banks. They have an average of less than a week’s pay set aside and are more often in the red’

The Daily Mail newspaper says ‘Gap between Britains rich and poor soars to almost FIVE TRILLION POUNDS as wealthiest see assets soar by 21 per cent’

And the Telegraph newspaper wrote, ‘Inequality has risen faster in Britain than in any other country since 1975′

Mark Duggan’s shooting and the 2011 Riots is set against this backdrop of rising inequality and injustice as the poor are increasingly exploited in a society that favours the rich, powerful and popular at the expense of the poor.

Programmes like ‘Benefits Britain‘ and even ‘Jeremy Kyle‘ reflect a caracture of the poor as ‘undeserving beggars begging handouts‘ whilst ignoring the fact that the ‘Richest 62 people are as wealthy as half of the world’s population‘ (Oxfam)

Surely there needs be a more just and equitable distribution of goods, resources and finance across our deeply divided society…?

In the early church ‘the disciples were together and shared everything they had […] No one claimed that any of their possessions were their own. They sold property and possessions and distributed the proceeds to anyone who was in need […] there was no poverty amongst them […] ‘ (Acts 2:31, 34, 44-45)  

If our society saw true disciples of Jesus behaving and modelling in this way, maybe, just maybe, that would act as a Cataylst for wider structural and economic change in our society

YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE UPRISING

‘It is better to be a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish King who refuses all advice. Such a youth could rise from poverty and succeed. He might even become king, though he has been in prison’ (Ecclesiastes 4:13-14)

Every movement that has brought radical change to society has seen the young people rise up. It happened in the Civil Rights Movement as students and school kids marched in the streets. It happened in the Early Salvation Army Movement where the average age of the soldiers was between 18-22…and it’s time for it to happen again

Many young people today are saying, like Angela Davis of the early Black Power Movement before them; 

‘I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept’

THE EARTH CANNOT BEAR US

‘There are […] things that make the earth tremble. [….] it cannot endure a slave who becomes a King’ (Proverbs 30:21-22)

‘A slave when he becomes king…

Is that what happened when Martin Luther King reigned, when Mandela became president of South Africa, when Obama became president of the so-called ‘Free World’?

Is that what will happen when the young people of our society, and those ‘looked down upon’ in the inner-cities, working class estates and slums throw off the chains of mental, economic and religious slavery…and rise up in a movement that literally changes the world…?

THE EARTH CRIES FOR JUSTICE

The earth cries for justice, the blood cries out from the ground at all the unlawful killings inflicted on black people, at the oppression and mockery done to the poor, of the oppression of the voiceless by the powerful

When will there be justice?

When will the rich and powerful be convicted??

When will true justice be rendered in the courts???

And when will the true movement of Jesus that saw an innocent man in his 30’s executed without a fair trial, and his followers in their teens and 20’s hunted down like common criminals and dragged into prison rise again here in The West 

Maybe we are still too rich, powerful and popular to really have true solidarity with the poor and oppressed….but perhaps that is set to change quite soon…

Yes, Yes…I’m sure we all know in theory that #AllLivesMatter….

BUT RIGHT NOW it’s important that, like Jesus, that we stand with the oppressed against the oppressors and speak out against systemic injustice….

RIGHT NOW…

#PoorLivesMatter

#BlackLivesMatter

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