Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Stephen Lawrence's Murder (1993). A Murder in Britain.
On January 3rd of this year two men were finally found guilty of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, a black 18 year old Londoner of Jamaican descent. He was murdered in 1993 by two white thuggish youth, with the only motive that he was black. Both were sentenced to a life sentence, but as the was committed before adulthood they will serve a minimum of 15 years in jail.
How could it take nearly 20 years of time to find these murderers guilty? Please read this to have details about the case. For the British establishment the conviction was a glorious event, for justice, the police force. However this case took so long to bring justice because the London Police failed to do their job properly.
The Lawrence family campaign had its effect though, The Economist says it made Britain ‘a better place’ and mentions the force’s acting deputy head, Cressida Dick saying that a terrible killing’s legacy has been a “force for good”. Even Trevor Phillips, head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said that the dignity of Stephen Lawrence’s parents played a “vital part” in changing attitudes to race.
The documentary 'The Boys Who Killed Stephen Lawrence' is about the investigation into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. You can watch it on YouTube:
Stephen Lawrence was indeed not a stereotypical thug youth. The Lawrence home was not a broken home, his parents were hard working law abiding citizens, he was a good and well behaved student who worked on his future. According to the British press the white murderers on the contrary had thuggish backgrounds and had family connections with local gangsters.
This whole story, even focusing on the positive, gives a rather negative perspective on race relations in Britain. I read in The Economist that Transatlantic Trends, a big annual opinion poll, found the British unusually hostile to immigration in its latest survey, with 68% of Britons seeing it as more of a problem than an opportunity. This would be far exceeding the gloom found in France, Spain, Germany, Italy or America.
This is strange, as my experience in Britain is of much more relaxed racial relations than say in France. As a teenager I loved to go to London for the weekend, sensing the vibe of racial diversity and harmony, rather than going down to Paris (the other big city close to Brussels, my home town), where racial animosity felt to be much more pronounced.
You can read more on the Stephen Lawrence trial here and here.