Thursday, 11 October 2007

Boris Johnson: "How can we let children live in fear?"

(Ed: In this important article, Boris Johnson notes that school assemblies thirty years ago would not have been about avoiding shooting people. Perhaps it is worth noting that thirty years ago the following statement might also not have been made about the group taking the assembly: "It would be tragic if good organisations such as this were not funded, just because some of its members are Christian in their inspiration ...". The clear implication is that their funding is under threat, and for just that reason!)

[...] It would be an exaggeration to say that I understood every word of the lyrics. But I certainly understood the chorus, and I can still hear it in my head. "Brah-ka-kah", sang Wizdom, ducking and weaving his body like a man dodging bullets, and I looked at the singers making their Eminem gestures, flicking their fingers as though trying to rid them of a particularly irritating piece of Sellotape.

I looked at the sign on the stage behind them, proclaiming that the project was called Gunz Down; and then I looked out again at that sea of rapt and innocent faces.

And I had a flashback, and I remembered when I used to sit, just like these 11- to 13-year-olds, in the morning assembly of my inner-London school, and like them we all squatted in rows, cross-legged, and like them we chorused obediently at whatever the head teacher said.

But I tell you something, folks. When we had morning assembly at my ILEA school in 1970s' Camden, we didn't have songs like Brah-kah-kah, all about what happens when someone starts firing a sub-machine gun – and nor, I bet, did any other pupils across the Greater London area. We had All Things Bright and Beautiful by Mrs C F Alexander and Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens. We didn't have people imploring us not to shoot each other. Read more

To read more about Gunz Down, click here.

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