7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018

'Arab Spring' has finally sprung ... in London!

SO the Arab Spring has finally sprung in London. To be frank, it was only a matter of time since although the UK is not an Arab country, there are enough Muslims for it to count.

The hallmarks of everyone's favourite uprising were there for all to see as, sparked by the shooting of a civilian by police, the downtrodden masses took to the streets to challenge the British regime.

Cars and buildings have been torched, innocent people and police have been attacked, roads have been barricaded and the capital is like a battleground.

Rioters are using modern technology such as Blackberry and Twitter to mobilise, just as they did in Bahrain, and video footage is being posted on YouTube.

The only thing missing is Nick Kristof getting his hair coiffured in "Trafalgar Roundabout" and Robert Fisk telling fibs about trucks being loaded with dead bodies and secretly hauled away to the Isle of Man.

Oh, and the rioters in the UK don't carry swords.

You might think I'm joking, but ask anyone who watched the so-called Arab Spring unfold in Bahrain during the height of the unrest and they will tell you that some of the similarities with what's going on in the UK are uncanny.

And while they would not condone what is happening in London, there are more than a few who would argue that Britain got what was coming following its criticism of Bahrain and the antics of its media.

The irony is that if the UK hadn't been so occupied fraternising with the political opposition in Bahrain, co-managing a coup in Libya, retreating from its misadventures in Iraq and playing hide and seek with the Taliban in Afghanistan - all at a time when the country's national debt is higher than ever - then it might have realised all was not well in its own backyard.

The fact is that people in the UK have legitimate reasons to be angry.

While the British government blows hundreds of millions of pounds on "getting Gadaffi", rising taxation and tough austerity measures are combining with high costs of living to make the working class poorer (one looter told Sky News she was getting her taxes back).

But watch any British news channel or read any British newspaper and you will notice a huge difference in how the violence is portrayed.

"Pure criminality", "completely lawless", "mindless disorder", "mob rule" and "acts of madness" are just some of the phrases that have been used to describe the actions of rioters - and who would disagree?

But why then is it so hard for the same broadcasters and publishers to understand that what happened in Bahrain was not so different, if not worse?

After all, weren't the streets of our capital barricaded? Didn't rioters go on the rampage in Manama Suq? Weren't innocent people murdered?

Wasn't our biggest hospital occupied and didn't people die after being denied life-saving treatment?

And we don't even pay taxes!

Experts might tell you that poverty, unemployment, a lack of education and a huge disparities in wealth helped create social conditions that fuelled the fires in London, but they won't use that to justify the violence - and it is no justification for what protesters did in Bahrain either.

British Prime Minister David Cameron cut his holiday short "immediately" - a full three days after the violence started.

It will be interesting to see how events play out.

However, you can be sure there will be no offer of dialogue with the rioters - and those who are sent to jail will not be getting any pardons from the Queen.

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