i Editor's Letter: Listen to these anguished voices


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The Independent Online


I have no idea how any parent gets over the loss of a child. It is the most life-sucking, tumultuous event that I can imagine. I wrote last year of my admiration for Margaret and Barry Mizen, who used their son Jimmy's murder in 2008 to launch both a community centre near where he was killed in south London, and to promote "seeing good" in our young. They rose above their tragedy to a degree at which I can only marvel.

So, what of the parents of the two young men killed so senselessly in separate incidents in London and Salford on Boxing Day? As I write, we have yet to hear from the family of Seydou Diarrassouba, 18, knifed to death after an apparent row over trainers in a Foot Locker store in the madness of the first day of Oxford Street's sales. The eye-witnesses present claim that a fight broke out in the store, only to continue on the street. How will Seydou's parents be able to rationalise a death like this?

How too does the family of Anuj Bidve, 23, the Lancaster University student from India who was shot in the head on his night out in Salford? They cannot comprehend his death. A relative in India said the family had "lost faith in everything", adding that it had been Anuj's "dream to go to the UK". I do not know enough to comment on the circumstances of his death, but I do know that communities all over the country are sick of this endless toll of youthful deaths, and the gang culture that is behind so much of our crime. The report into the riots last summer found that in many areas this culture was out of control.

So, here is a New Year's resolution for our government: listen to these anguished voices, and do something radical to tackle the scourge of gang culture that is so blighting our cities. And, do it before it is too late for so many more like Anuj and Seydou.