By: Khadija Abdelhamid
“RIP bro, just an indicator of the wasted values of the world we live in today, where a pair of trainers are held by some sick individuals to be more valuable than a man’s life” – Omar Farooq Begg, posted on Facebook after the tragic death of 18-year-old Seydou Diarrassouba, victim of an Oxford Street stabbing in late 2011.
London has become a landmark when it comes to crime. According to the Metropolitan Police, 7,006 firearm offences were recorded in England and Wales in 2010/11. In 2010/11, the police recorded 32,714 of these offences (including homicides) involving a knife or sharp instrument.
These statistics show the reality of gun and knife crime in the UK. Of course, everyone has their own opinion about why gun and knife crime is on the rise. From broken homes to absentee father figures, financial issues to peer pressure, childhood abuse and more.
However as a young anti-crime campaigner myself, with no experience of losing a loved one, I believe I could be a victim of discrimination, simply because of the crimes that the teens of my generation commit. This is a stereotype I’m hoping to change. The fact that I’ve never been associated with a gang or lost a loved one to gun and knife crime, should start to portray a positive image about youths.
I grew up aspiring to be like people who have changed the world, people who had a passion to spread peace and equality. The more I looked up to others that made a small or big change in the world, the more I aspired to follow in their footsteps, but I must also remember that I must make a different change, one that has not been made yet. Like Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”
My passion for my campaign became official on 31st January 2011; I started a Facebook group with over 1,000 followers. I started to attend anti-crime events, and I have now been approached by a film company to produce an anti-gun and knife crime DVD for my campaign, which will distributed across London high schools and anti-crime events once finished.
Only three months into my campaign, the issue of gun and knife crime tragically reached close to home when a person I knew lost a loved one. I have given my campaign drive, motivation and determination to achieve the success it has reached today. I travelled an emotional journey, meeting with families who’ve lost a loved one to gun and knife crime only furthering my ambition to reduce gun and knife crime in the UK .
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