Friday, 3 February 2012

Car hijackings in Belfast- A tale of two cities

Since the new year Belfast has been in the midst of a violent spree of car hijackings across the city mainly targeting vulnerable women. Behind the media spotlight and PSNI spin machine is a deeper context, one where where theose if power are quite contented to confine and manage crime in working class areas as long as it stays there.


It is as if Belfast is the midst of ‘moral panic’ with the local establishment promising to hunt down the perpetrators. Yet, even the dogs the streets know that this same gang, the 'Divis Hoods Liberation Army' from West Belfast, and their activities have been ignored for years and some might even argue on are the payroll of the PSNI informers racket.

There was little mention of course that West Belfast consistently has some of the highest levels of unemployment, social and economic deprivation in the UK which our local green and orange tories are merely perpetrating and contributing to through the slashing of services and job cuts. Not suprising as that reality on the ground does not fit in well with the new shiny image of Northern Ireland being polished up in time for the opening of the new Titanic centre. 

The truth is that the car hijackings are under they media frenzy because they have moved beyond the confines of West Belfast and into the city centre and are now targeting more ’wealthier’ areas. This highlights the contempt to which the political class and the police have towards the rest of us in this city. Two weeks ago we also witnessed the police attempting to smash their way into a peaceful occupation of the former Bank of Ireland building with a helicopter monitoring above. That the same day there was another attempted car hijacking less than a mile away which didn't receive anything like the same resources, confirming the view that the main priority of any police force is as the guardians of wealth and class privilege.

The recent response to the car hijackings can be summarised as the product of a corrupt political process which rewards greed and competing sectarian interests while the rest of us  are held to ransom by gangsters in power and outside.