There Really Is Nothing New Under the Sun

‘Young mother down at Smithfield
5 am, looking for food for her kids
In her arms she holds three cold babies
And the first word that they learned was “please”

These are dangerous days
To say what you feel is to dig your own grave
“Remember what I told you
If you were of the world they would love you”‘

Black Boys On Mopeds, Sinead O’Connor

In the early nineties I was taking my A Levels and living with my parents in a 1930s semi detached pebble dashed house in the suburbs of Birmingham.  I also had some pretty severe psychiatric problems (an eating disorder, depression etcetera).  The house in which we lived was one of those ex-council houses that so many people enjoy sneering at, forgetting that their inhabitants are only there because they were desperate to be a part of Maggie Thatcher’s ‘Home Owning Democracy’.

Most of the neighbours were ‘decent’, reasonable, hard-working people but there was a large family whose children pretty much terrorized the entire street.  They would smash the wind screens of cars, verbally intimidate people as they walked past, attack the vulnerable.  I was sexually assaulted by one of them.  They targeted our next door neighbour.  He was a retired, elderly gentleman living in the upstairs flat of the house next door.  His garden was at the front of the house.  He worked hard on it, planting flowers and vegetables.  Eventually he gave up because these kids would trespass on his land and simply wreck it.  My father tried to intervene on several occasions but eventually he gave up too.  The reason?  On the final occasion the eldest ‘child’, a boy who was taller than he was, shoved my father.  My father, reacting instinctively, shoved him back. The police were called and my father was told that if he did anything like that again then he would be the one who would be prosecuted.

WTF are people getting out of pretending that this is anything new?

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