Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Situation is Hopeless. I'm Told.

YouTube is under the impression that it knows what I want to watch. It does not. There is an assumption being made that I want to watch countless sensationalist documentaries about gang violence in Glasgow. I do not. Here are the two most common offenders:

(some strange edits on that one)

Now, the first one is from Dispatches. I like Dispatches. I saw a great episode once about sandwiches (avoid Subway). I have no problem with these social ills being addressed. As a resident of Govan I am more than familiar with them and have witnessed worse from my tenement window than what is shown in the grainy CCTV images. I am glad to see these issues being brought to light. But it's pretty fucking bleak, isn't it? Do they offer any glimmer of hope? Any alternative? Any possible solutions?

The American video is more perplexing. Why was this made? Why are the problems of youth violence in a mid-sized British city being addressed by the lady with the big hair? Because it's the murder capital? Don't they have one of them in America? Could they not find any angry, drunken young men in Detroit to point a camera at?

The only thing that these piss poor documentaries succeed in doing is painting a portrait of Glasgow as a war zone. It leaves outsiders intimidated and fearful of visiting and residents of these communities feeling hopeless. In addition, neither video addresses just why Glasgow finds itself to be in such economic (and social) decline. Margaret Thatcher doesn't even get a mention. That's like making a documentary about violence in Baghdad and not mentioning George W. Bush (it's not really, but this is just a blog so I can say whatever I want). At least the second video interviewed John Carnochan, someone who has years of experience in working with gangs. I met him through the Poverty Truth Commission earlier this year and he seems to be one of the few people that has any real grasp on what is going on in these communities.

Here are two examples of what I would like to see more of. The first video is about the GalGael, a Govan based organization that grew out of the Pollok Free State. The second is a quick recap of the aforementioned Poverty Truth Commission. The event itself took place in the City Chambers but most of the meetings leading up were held in the Pierce Institute, also in Govan. This is what's happening in my community:

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