Nov 10, 2013

London's dark side

Very often people ask me if Colombia is dangerous. Very often I hear people saying “I would love to go to Colombia, but isn't it dangerous?” And it is sad because let me tell you something, criminality in London town is pretty nasty. The things that I have heard and the things that I have experienced myself are hard to believe possible in the safe and peaceful continent of Europe...

A previous flatmate told me this story: he was on a taxi home after a night out, the taxi driver noticed he was drunk and charged him an outrageous amount that my flatmate refused to pay. Another taxi arrived and the two drivers threatened him with a knife to the neck! What?

Last Friday my workmate was in court witnessing the judgment and conviction of an 18 year-old boy that robbed him in the street. The boy tried to snatch my workmate's backpack, however he fought back. The boy escaped but the police managed to retrieve DNA samples from under my workmate's finger nails. Later on, this boy robbed some students and since they didn't have any cash, he forced them to go to an ATM and empty their bank accounts. Fortunately he was caught recently and was convicted to 4 years in jail.

The other day I saw a gang of about ten dudes beating up one guy, almost to death. I had to call the police... the police arrived and arrested some of them, the beaten up guy was taken to the hospital.

I don't know anyone in here that hasn't had their smart phones or bikes stolen at some point, but that's not unique to London, is it?

A year ago, a couple of days before New Year's Eve, I'm going to get some cash from an ATM machine a Saturday night... the ATM was saying “retrieve your card to get your cash”, I heard the card trying to exit but the card didn't pop out. After a few seconds the ATM displayed an “out of service” message and then rebooted, but the card didn't come out after all. I had a feeling that I was being a victim of crime. When I arrived home 30 minutes later, I went to my online banking to block the card, however I noticed that already some transactions had been made. I called the bank security phone-line and as I was reporting the theft I could see transactions being made with my card! I'm not sure how they did it but fortunately the bank blocked the card and gave me the money back the following Monday.

Big Beng
London is an amazing city and my time in here has been extremely positive, yet I can not help wondering whether at this point you really are safer in London than in Bogotá or any other descent place to live, as a matter of fact... it reveals how you are surrounded by people with corrupted hearts no matter where you go. You should always be cautious, it doesn't matter where you live. Nonetheless, never forget that the good people are the overwhelming majority of us Homo sapiens, regardless of all the violence we see in the news, the terrorist attacks, the murderers, the rapists, the corrupted governments...

When you hear in the news, Syria had chemical weapons... it wasn't Syria that had chemical weapons, it wasn't the loving mother who had the chemical weapons, it wasn't the man at the grocery shop that had the chemical weapons, it wasn't the kids at school that had them. It was a few mad men with power that had them. Those few men are not Syria.

When you hear in the news that Colombia is or was the biggest exporter of cocaine... it wasn't Colombia the exporter of cocaine, most of us 45 million Colombians had absolutely nothing to do with that. That was the thing of few evil or foolish men, corrupted and undeserving of being called Colombian. Those men and women are not Colombia.

Do not judge an entire population on the evil deeds of the few.

After all, the small acts of kindness that we do or experience everyday will not get any time on TV.

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