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Live Magazine: Celeste Houlker

Speaking to the editor of the south London youth culture publication, we gain some more insightful views on last week's disturbances

In the second of our interviews with Live Magazine's editorial team, we move on to discuss matters with its editor, Celeste Houlker. With last week's disturbances still fresh in everyone's mind, the debate now arises as to where these riots actually came from and furthermore, whether there is any explanation to the looting and carnage.

Politicians and local figures were instantaneously quick to dismiss occurrences that related to a wider problem. However, we're witnessing a backlash from those who believe there is widespread discontent among many youths who feel marginalised in our wanting society. Although events were sparked by the death of Mark Duggan, after spending a week reviewing the situation it has become clear that there is potentially a much broader area of concern that needs to be addressed. We continue talking to the demographic closest to the problem, who give their views on what happened and what is going on in our society.

Dazed Digital: What do you think is the context of these disturbances?
Celeste Houlker: I think a minority of people, young and old, were very opportunistic and used Saturday's riot last week to their advantage. 

DD: Why has this happened, why now? - Do you think in some ways the riots are a mirror of the stealing and corruption at the top level of society, the financial collapse/bailout and so on?
Celeste Houlker: There was no telling this would happen. If the rioting was based around a cause like the cuts or student protest, then maybe it would have escalated to what it has become. I don't think many of the People who took part in the riot care about the man who died on Thursday.

If they did they would've attacked police stations etc. However, I do think the financial crisis has some relation, a lot of the places that were hit are on the poverty line in the UK, and especially the young people feel hard done by and do aspire to have the finer things in life like what the people at the top have. But current situations have made them harder to attain. 

DD: Prior to the riots, did you notice any discontent or a growing resentment among youths towards the authoritative elements in society?
Celeste Houlker: Young people are definitely frustrated because we are unsure what our quality of life will be like when we're older or in the near future. We want to be homeowners and live good lives, but the cut backs, less opportunities and competition can be quite daunting. It's almost like we have to be taught how to survive, but there is no direction on how to, because we've been told a good education is all you need.

DD: Do you think relations between the police and black youth over the last twenty years have improved?
Celeste Houlker: I don't think they have, in fact relations may have gotten even worse. The majority of the problem is between black boys and the police; boys are getting stopped by the police at even younger ages. I spoke to a 13 year old in year 8 who has been stopped and searched by the police for hanging out with his friends doing nothing. What he said is that he doesn't even know his rights when or if he gets stopped. 

DD: Why do you think such numbers took to the street ?
Celeste Houlker: Big numbers mean that the police are unlikely to single you out. It's so easy to communicate with your friends these days through the different networking sites and instant messaging. Word spreads around quickly, it's the summer holidays, so everybody is together.

DD: Can you see this occurring again?
Celeste Houlker: If anything else kicks off it's because of racial tension. If someone else gets killed, there probably will be a riot or some kind.

DD: What do you think needs to be done in order for this to not happen again?
Celeste Houlker: An example should have been made on Saturday by the police, but I honestly believe higher powers need to listen to what young people are asking for and what they want out of life, especially how to achieve it. Communities need to back this as well. The riots have shown that there is strength in numbers and their needs to be community spirit to help grow the young.