The glass has been replaced in the charity shop now, and people have been out trying to clear and clean up the streets where Mr C works. There have been lots of reports in the papers and on-line about various gatherings of people out with brushes and brooms, cleaning the streets. It seems that these ‘clean-ups’ have mainly organised through Facebook and Twitter, sometimes by people who’d never met before but who saw a need and used social media to liaise with people and make things happen. Operation Cup of Tea (surely this could only happen in England?) has grown from a Facebook group of people protesting against the riots by posting pictures of themselves drinking tea (or beverage of choice), to a charity raising money to help people who’ve been affected by the riots and looting. Someone – ‘just’ a random member of the public – has also started a website to raise money for Ashraf Haziq, a Malaysian student who was attacked during the riots. The people of Peckham have covered a boarded up shop window with post-it notes in support of their community and in protest against the rioting.
Despite everything, existing communities are coming together, new communities are being formed and plenty of British people are still doing what they do best – keeping calm, drinking tea and tidying things up.
Of course, it goes without saying (but I’m saying it anyway) that none of this makes all the awful things that have happened alright. However, we need to hold on to what is good and have hope, otherwise we’ll never make things better.