Monday, 15 August 2011

"Heroine of Hackney"

The riots in England during August 2011 were marked by several unusual events. During the peak of the violence, a brave 45 year old black grandmother called Pauline Pearce, stood on Clarence Road in Hackney with a walking stick and saved a young white man from a gang. 

She was filmed as she berated the mob, expressing her disgust with them and how they wanted to give the mindless violence a racial spin. Later termed the ‘Heroine of Hackney’, Pauline Pearce was clear in a later interview – “she was scared by the angry hordes she was faced with, but couldn’t contain her rage at what they were doing to her community.”

Transcript of Pearce's speech:

"This is fucking reality
Lo' up burning the property
Lo' up burning people's shops that they worked hard to start their business
Ya understand
She's working hard to make her business work and then you lot want to go and burn it up
For what, just to say you're warring and you're bad man
This is about a fucking man who got shot in Tottenham. 

This ain't about having fun on the road and busting up the place
Get real black people get real
Do it for a cause
If we're fighting for a cause lets fight for a cause
You lot piss me the fuck off I'm ashamed to be a Hackney person
Cause we're not all gathering together and fighting for a cause
We're running down Foot Locker and thievin' shoes" 

Note: There is a Facebook campaign for Pauline Pearce to be a Torch-bearer for the London Olympics 2012. Considering that Hackney is one of the boroughs hosting the event, it may be quite appropriate to have a local heroine honoured this way.

Author: Shahana Dastidar

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