Editorial comment: Parents need to show courage over knife death

Fowsiya Abdi and family head the Camden Against Violence march. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK

Fowsiya Abdi and family head the Camden Against Violence march. Picture: POLLY HANCOCK - Credit: Archant

Courage can seem like a rare virtue. In the shadow of February’s knife killings in Kentish Town, there’s been plenty of examples of courage on show, none more so than at the Camden Against Violence march last Thursday.

On February 20, Fowsiya Abdi would have been looking forward to seeing her son, Sadiq Aadam, come home at the end of the day.

But he, and another youth, Abdikarim Hassan, never did, having been stabbed to death on a cold February night.

Yet on Thursday, with grey clouds overhead, there this grieving mother was, leading a march against violence in her son, and Abdikarim’s memory.

Mrs Abdi even addressed Somalian TV cameras halfway through the march, as it wound its way down the Prince of Wales road.

The grief this mother must be feeling is unimaginable; the horror, and the shock at her son being killed at the age of 20. Yet there she was, alongside his uncle Aydarus Ahmed, who himself had lost a son in 2013.

That’s real courage, to dig down, and despite it all, to turn out and lead something that says “never again.”

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The same was the case at Camden Council’s meeting on youth violence on Monday.

Two youngsters, Rose Bramley and Danny Dell both stood up and talked about their problems.

Rose, now a peer advocate who talks to others about her experiences, admitted she had been in trouble with the law, that she had been left behind by the school system which had helped lead to her problems earlier in her life.

She’s since turned it around, and is doing a remarkable job.

Danny stood up alongside his social worker and talked about his problems, and how his life has been revolutionised by his social worker. For both, that’s real courage.

However there are people who still need to find that courage.

In Camden, sadly not every child has the luxury of a family. Neither do some children, whose family are present, have parents who take an interest in every part of their lives.

There is an issue with some people growing up without role models. However at the march on Thursday, a speaker said parents need to be more involved with their children’s lives, to make sure they’re not going out with knives. It’s something that is hard to dispute.

On our front page we tell how in January in one of Camden’s primary schools, an 8-year-old boy took a knife into school and threatened a classmate.

Overlooking the fact that he had been able to get the knife back at the end of the school day, he must have got it from somewhere.

Being a parent is difficult. There’s no perfect way to do it, if there was, the parental self-help industry would have gone bust a long time ago.

However questions have to be asked of some parents. Teenagers are secretive and will look to push boundaries and rebel.

However with recent events parents need to be probing their children’s lives and asking what they’re doing, who they’re going out with, and what’s in their pockets.

The community has showed tremendous courage over the last month in pulling together in the face of the tragic loss of young lives.

Now parents across the borough need to show the same courage by having those difficult conversations with young people.