Wednesday 7 April 2021

City living in the deception of the genteel

Things I should have noticed

A few weeks ago, I missed a Zoom conference that was convened by the local police to chat to occupants of my village complex, I did not at that time consider the importance of it. Then, I could not help but notice the big red notices about Modern Slavery, one in English and the other in Chinese, I just thought it was a general notice.

Then on our village Facebook page, there was a picture of police vans as if they were there to conduct a raid, but there was no update to what it might be. I and maybe a lot of residents of my village complex might have been lured into a sense of genteel out of exclusivity of this neighbourhood to think it is devoid of the vagaries of reprehensible conduct.

Respectable is good cover

Then I am reminded of the fact that just beside our village, something I learnt a few days ago was where the Manchester bomber of May 2017 lived and built his bomb, a few hundred yards away was the home of the serial homosexual sex abuser that could have abused 200 victims, within my village complex in another apartment block was a sex and human trafficking ring exploiting early teenaged girls, one of whom had escaped, and which led to the police raid.

It all begins to make sense, how we need to be observant and sometimes suspicious, quick to notice the strange and make further inquiries of the unusual. Everyone minding their own business to the point of snootiness and snobbery might well leave the innocent open to incomprehensible exploitation.

Curiosity is necessary

You wonder how neighbouring apartments to the sex-ring apartment could not have noticed the comings and goings, the strange faces, and much else. How is it that as we move into the city, we lose that sense of neighbourliness and the neighbourhood, the knowing and conversing with neighbours, not so much to intrude but to create community and some safety in looking out for each other?

It has made us aware that exclusivity and quite sometimes provides a veneer for respectability under which nefarious, notorious, or criminal activity might thrive with everyone none the wiser that like me, we were quite surprised that anything like that could be happening here. The fact is a lot is happening and because we are not curious or just indifferent, heinous crimes take root and thrive. If anything, always strive to know your neighbours and keep an eye out for each other.

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