"Nihilistic and feral teenagers" London's Daily Mail called them: the crazy youths from all walks of life who raced around the streets mindlessly and desperately hurling bricks, stones and bottles at the cops while looting here and setting bonfires there, leading the authorities on a merry chase of catch-as-catch-can as they tweeted their way from one strategic target to another.
Related rabble.ca story:
Here's one dirty word you can call me, Mammoliti. Call me motha. You, too, Ford brothas. It's about time we started to talk family, because you're not just messing with the grown-ups when you tear all civility and grace from Toronto's public sphere.
The KPMG report you're studying for surgical guidance documents every place where the city offers any degree of excellence or innovation. These are highlighted as "opportunities" for the knife. How's that for a subliminal message to the kiddies? Let's gang up on the best and brightest.
This is perhaps too subtle for the mayor, but if you check out news from across the pond you can see it's time we paid attention to the subliminal messages in our urban culture fashions.
I keep hearing comparisons between the London riots and riots in other European cities -- window smashing in Athens, or car bonfires in Paris. And there are parallels, to be sure: a spark set by police violence, a generation that feels forgotten.
But those events were marked by mass destruction; the looting was minor. There have, however, been other mass lootings in recent years, and perhaps we should talk about them too. There was Baghdad in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion -- a frenzy of arson and looting that emptied libraries and museums. The factories got hit too. In 2004 I visited one that used to make refrigerators. Its workers had stripped it of everything valuable, then torched it so thoroughly that the warehouse was a sculpture of buckled sheet metal.
Inside the compound, a massive rescue operation is going on involving workers from Iceland, the U.S., Spain and Venezuela. I am a translator for the head of the rescue team. In the past 24 hours, nine people have been recovered alive -- all but two, Haitians report, by Haitian civilians.
But the foreigners with the fancy rescue suits, carabiners, boots, dogs and listening devices are all clustered here: a dozen dogs, more than 60 men with earphones tuned into digital hearing devices or with computers.