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June 24th, 2011

FEAR

Last night was the first time I did not feel 100% safe as I made my way to youth club on the Teviot. This week there have been a couple of muggings on the estate (apparently by young people) in broad day light and a fight between to rival groups of young people. Now these things on their own would not normally bother me – unfortunately they happen on a regular basis (there was an interesting article in the Guardian yesterday about people’s brains in the urban environment and our expectation of such events). But the events yesterday were different. There has been a recent change in the club atmosphere, there seems to be slightly more tension in the older group of young people, particularly the boys. It has felt like something was brewing for a while (maybe it was my urban brain?!).

This got me thinking about fear, and that if I was feeling fear then I could understand that the young people would be feeling fear. Interestingly enough 3 girls came rushing in to club last night saying ‘we’re staying here ‘cos that girl is going to beat us up and it’s safe in here’. This is exactly the kind of environment the the Canaan Project needs to be creating.

Fear is such a driving force amongst young people (although not just young people!) and produces negative effects – I would say conflict is only one of them. As demonstrated in my fear of walking to youth club and the 3 girls that came rushing in, fear can sometimes trap young people into not coming out at all. In this case young people are not socialising and they are not receiving equality of opportunity if they are sacred and trapped at home in fear. We have to break these cycles of fear because I am sure the young people that would be considered the perpetuators are acting out of fear also.