Growing up in Serbia in the late 80s and early 90s, I have an odd kinship with the UK circumstance. My teen days were smack dab of declining economy, spiraling inflation, school violence and hooliganism that went well beyond just venting at soccer games. The lack of prospects, followed by a kind of victimology – I called it Weltschmerz in a blog a year ago – was exactly what the secessionist factions manipulated into a full-fledged civil conflict. The war was inevitable. The non-option for a youth was simple: dodge the army draft for a lost cause while giving into the hopeless nightlife of slow self-destruction, all under the international embargo and on the parents’ last dime, of course. It was a prescription for escapism, through art, sport, music, an excessive study of whatever you can give your hours to. I was seventeen. If only social networking had been around then? Who knows, maybe things would have turned different.
Flow of Youth, 1995, oil and wax on canvas, 24x36 inches
Consider rioting of this week. Here is a litany of reports on the poor living environment of many British youth, as speculated to be the cause:
This may be so, but the destruction was not warranted. I would like to channel what my artist-colleagues from Liverpool suggested http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/. And from Manchester, I was forwarded the article http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1455534_shamed-more-faces-of-those-who-ran-riot-in-manchester-and-salford this morning. Seems as if the cause has been hijacked by the petty few. The cycle is vicious indeed: the more destructive the force, the more excessive the suppression. For that matter, Mayor Boris Johnson was politic not entertain the panicky calls for army deployment. If only restrain could bring the community together. While in Athens, for example, I was able to observe the well-publicized and peaceful demonstrations (the few out-of-hand days at Syntagma notwithstanding, see my photo below). The demands were clear, and the orchestration was a blend of political pressure with all-sacrificing-but-manageable disruptions. Too bad, that youth can’t just go on peaceful strike.
Syntagma, June 28th