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The Meaning of Riots
While in Madrid in March I asked a renowned Spanish blogger, Ignacio Escolar, why, with 43 percent youth unemployment, Spain had not seen a wave of militancy like those in Greece, Italy and Portugal. Escolar shrugged. “It’s like there is oil on the streets. All it needs is a small spark and it could blow.” Sure enough, a few months later the


A standoff in Newark during the wave of riots that crossed America in 1967. Photograph: New York Times Co/Getty Images
The Detroit riots of 1967 hold some lessons for the UK
Early in the morning on Sunday 23 July 1967 the Detroit police raided an after-hours drinking establishment where more than 80 black men and women were celebrating the return of two Vietnam veterans. This in itself was hardly rare. Police used to raid "blind pigs" all the time.


US army soldiers in Panjwai district, Kandahar province southern Afghanistan, where America has been fighing since 2001. Photograph: Baz Ratner/Reuters
Can the United States move beyond the narcissism of 9/11?
In the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks the then national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, called in her senior staff and asked them to think seriously about "how [to] capitalise on these opportunities". The primary opportunity came from a public united in anger, grief and fear which the Bush administration sought to leverage to maximum political effect. "I think September 11 was one of those great earthquakes that clarify and sharpen," Rice told the New Yorker six months afterwards. "Events are in much sharper relief."
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