Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Riots

I was planning on writing this post in Italian over on my Italian blog, to sort of give Italy my take on this week's events in London and in other cities in the UK, but I've decided to write it in English so I can explain myself better.

It took a while for news about the London riots to filter down to Italy. It happens all too often, international news stories that don't effect Italy simply don't get mentioned, or if they do then they aren't explained fully. A lot of the time it feels like I'm living in a bubble, even though I may understand every single word in a news bulletin, sometimes it doesn't feel any less of a bubble than it did when I first arrived in Urbino, unable to string a sentence together in Italian. By the time Italian media really started to report the news yesterday I was playing catch up. An amico on Twitter sent me a link to The Guardian's live coverage and I started to fill in the gaps.

But I haven't abandoned Italian news altogether. Last night, like the night before, I was watching Rai News to keep up with the riots. At times they were using clips from BBC World News whilst translating the audio simultaneously. It reminded me of how they covered the earthquake and tsunami in Japan earlier in the year, taking feeds from NHK and translating what was being said. But this time the images weren't coming from thousands of miles away, but my country. If you've never experienced anything like this then it's difficult to explain how it feels. I suppose helplessness sums it up well, mixed with a certain sense of surrealism. You're hundreds of miles away seeing these images on tv, of burning buildings, people who have lost everything, rioters causing damage to their own communities; and all you can do is watch. The distance sort of makes it feel like it's not your country.

From what I've heard today the situation in London has improved. I'm very proud of the majority of Londoners, those who have been cleaning up and providing support to those who need it. That's what Britain's about, being strong and staying together; not mindless looting and destruction. My thoughts go out to everyone in the UK who's been affected by the riots, hopefully there'll be an end to this difficult time soon.

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