Boris Johnson: Robust policing won't fix a broken society
Published 16/08/2011 | 05:00
In spite of the broken jaw and the antibiotics, there was a radiant smile on the face of Ashraf Hasiq Rosli on Sunday as he watched the badminton at Wembley. I held out my hand and stumbled for the right thing to say. "Thank you," I said, "for what you have been saying about our city."
This is the young man from Malaysia who was mugged in Barking during the riots of last week. Ashraf is the business studies student who happened to come across a group of about 60 youths running towards him. They knocked him down, broke his jaw, stole his bike -- and then, as they pretended to help him back up, these bad Samaritans dipped into his rucksack and helped themselves to his mobile and his computer game. It was YouTube footage that went round the world; a modern parable of cynical materialism and betrayal.
And yet all Ashraf could find in his heart to say to the press was that "London is still a fantastic city", and I felt so overwhelmed by his spirit and his generosity that I wanted to thank him in person.