Anti violent campaigners held a rally in East London in memory of 15 year old Joel Adesina who was stabbed in Tower Hamlets on December 5. The group are lamenting the number of fatal stabbings in the capital-8 last year- and want to see an end to it. Stabbings in london have been rife over the years particular among black people, calling for concerted action to address its root. Physical fights devoid of weapons are a rarity in many such circles and it seems there needs to be greater education among the youths about the need to diplomatically resolve disputes instead of resorting to killings that end many precious young lives.

Dr Bernade Idowu, who was one of the organizers of the event told eye of media that she hoped to send a message to the youths that ‘enough is enough’. She said ” we have had enough of all these violent deaths. Young people need to be thoughtful of the consequences of their actions and realize that the last thing any parent wants is to have to identify the corpse of their child. No teenager would want to be the victim of a stabbing, so why do they recklessly set about to stab others? There are many other ways to solve a misunderstanding, and our teenagers need to understand this. This is totally unacceptable and we one day in the future hope to March to Downing Street to raise awareness of this dangerous culture”

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What seems unclear is the precise cause of the dispute that led to Adesina’s death. A young campaigner present in the March who did not wish to be named told eye of media ”Young in London seem prepared to kill over silly reasons, they stab over girls and sometimes over disrespect. Many people carry knives out of fear of being stabbed in an argument, but then end up using the knife themselves at any opportunity. Some stab to gain a reputation from their friends that they are bad. Their mentality is really bad and wrong”.

An important area to look at maybe the family background and discipline of many of these teenagers. Many come from homes with little discipline and no father figure, whilst others are simply rebellious in nature owing to a host of psychological issues. Poverty and inferiority complex also accounts for some of the reasons many youths are inclined to use a knife without thinking twice. This is coupled with the problem of poor role models in the community; one that makes it easy for many to model themselves after many of their directionless peers who go by street names to enhance their street credibility. There seems to be a desperate need for politicians and role models to device an ingenious mechanism to tackle the spate of stabbings that are needlessly claiming the lives of young people and wasting what could otherwise be a bright future.

When eye of media approached a group of youths in the West Ham park who were smoking marijuana , one said ” it is sad when people get killed and I don’t think many of those who shank(stab) someone intends to kill them. They are just looking to deal with them in’it and show them. When you are in an argument with a man, sometimes you know from their body language that they may pull out a knife and shank you, so you do it first”. Asked why an argument beyond resolve cannot be settled with a physical fight, his friend responded ” that can’t really run(happen) all the time because their friends may jump in and once everyone starts jumping in you don’t know who will pull out a knife”. It’s not a boxing ring in the streets, you get me, In an ideal world this would happen, but its far from ideal round this manna( area/neighborhood)”.

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The solution to the longstanding problem of street violence has eluded politicians and community leaders for decades. Understanding the psychology of youths, particularly delinquent youths and devising a multi-faceted approach tuned to the unique issues facing them is only one stage in the arduous task of stemming a dangerous culture that has shown little signs of abating to desirable level over the years. Many youths lack a real sense of self worth with tear away kids lacking substantive future prospects. Lack of discipline in schools has also been a fundamental problem. Without a clever and rigorous mechanism to compel teenagers to focus more on their education than on frivolous disagreements blown out of proportion, the sort of fall outs that culminate in unfortunate deaths might sadly continue to be a recurrent problem. Crucially, youths need to be helped to identify those areas where they can excel and also helped to overcome basic lack of skills that would advance them forward and raise their level of enthusiasm about securing a bright future for them.

Eye of Media will follow up the investigation into Adesina’s death with a view to finding out the antecedents of this tragedy and see what lessons can be learnt. Last Thursday, an 18 year old was stabbed to death in Wood Green in the 9th attack in London already this year. A 19year old was remanded in custody in suspicion of his murder.

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