Sunday, 25 November 2007

Gang life in 'Great' Britain

[...] The other day they stripped someone naked and made them walk through Peckham High Street. If you don't want that kind of thing, then you need to earn the respect. How did I get the respect of the north London boys? You have to be the cruellest, the most violent, the most intimidating. You don't even need to use brute force. Sometimes it's mind games, spreading stuff about them within their gang, intimidating them over the phone. Text messages do get used. But people are getting more aware that there's a record of your text, it makes more sense to use a pay phone or something that's harder to trace. I had to get a few people who weren't showing me enough respect. A boy I was friends with borrowed a CD and one of my shirts and didn't bother to give them me back. So I broke into his house and stabbed him while he was asleep.

I got out of it because I was given a chance. I was raised all my life to think I was worthless. But then when I was living in a shared house there was a family from Mauritius in the next bedroom. They knew I wasn't really all right. They took me to a South American church and that's how I learned a lot more about morals and remorse. The pastors helped me a lot.

If it wasn't for this family I probably would have ended up falling back into it. A lot of middle-class people think that gangs are untouchable and youths are unreachable, but that's not the case - these 13- and 14-year-old boys are scared, they are looking for guidance and they're going to anyone who can provide it, whether that's a 30-year-old gang leader or a 20-year-old church member. That's why I love the family. They couldn't even speak English, but they still managed to help me. They took a chance and said, "I'm not going to judge you." I think that was one of the most inspirational things. Read more
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