week starting 16.12.13
I was told by someone from the time of Occupy London Stock Exchange, who I met at a day centre where they help people who are in need for food and other necessities of life, near the City of London, that there is going to be a meeting on 18.12.13 in the evening about UK Common Rights Project, which is a campaign for the rights of homeless and marginalised people to access food, water, shelter and sanitation, it is a project of Housing Justice, in partnership with Just Fair, The Pavement and Open Cinema.
The launch was going to include the first showing of a new film highlighting the stories of street homeless people and the daily struggles they face to access food, water, shelter and sanitation to which they have rights in the UN declaration of universal rights, and I was told that my friend and someone else have participated in the film, so they had an invitation to the launch of the project, and I was asked if I can go or find someone else to go in their support.
Speakers who were going to be present at the launch were : The Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP; Alison Gelder, Housing Justice; Jonathan Butterworth, Just Fair; Stephen Bowen, British Institute of Human Rights; Prof Geraldine Van Bueren, Queen Mary Human Rights Collegium, and if you would like to get in touch you can contact Housing Justice (http://www.housingjustice.org.uk/) 02035448094 and you can email at (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I tried to get in touch with a few people who might want to go, but I didn’t get any reply, so I tried to go myself, but in the end it was too late for me to go in, and I just managed outside the parliament to speak to some people who were coming out from the meeting, and they were saying the film was good and the whole project is a good start. I think the subject does need discussion and it can be done, without any doubt, it is just matter of facilitation, implementation and management of the project.
On Friday 20.12.13 at about 10am I set up my peace pilgrimage journey towards Stonehenge and Avebury in south west England.
After leaving the borough of Tower Hamlets and entering Westminster at 1231 hours on my way towards south west London, I came across Republic of Sudan and I handed in a letter of our peace pledge for Syria to a member of the embassy, then I carried on walking towards Knightsbridge, where I visited for the second time the Singaporian high commission at number 9 Wilton Crescent SW1X 8SP at 1306 hour, but I was told by the security officer that he can’t accept my letter calling for peace for Syria – again, for the second time.
So I carried on walking and it was there, near Harrods, that a wonderful person from Lebanon very kindly offered me a lunch, then after a break I started walking again towards south west London, and after walking through Putney Bridge, then towards Wimbledon, and then Richmond, I managed to get to North Sheen at about 2030 hours, and just before I got to the train station I went to a Sainsbury and I asked if I can speak to the duty manager to see if they can get some food to be part of my dinner, and after a little waiting I spoke to him and he very kindly offered me some food out of his managerial courtesy, and then I walked to the station.
At the station, after some discussion with another member of public about my best way to get to Stonehenge, then finally I decided to head on towards Clapham Junction, but just before I boarded the train a single right hand “Thinsulate thermal insulation” glove was gone missing, and I couldn’t find it. I didn’t know if the wind took it to the side of the train, or underneath of the train, or else it disappeared, and I couldn’t make a decision whether I should go or wait till the train goes, to see if I could find it. I found out, through conversation with a member of public, that it is on the track area, but I didn’t know whether there would be another train, or exactly the situation with the weather, so I couldn’t make up my mind. Finally, just before the train left the station at 2053 hours I jumped on it, and that is how I lost my single right hand glove, which in fact belonged to a friend, which made it so difficult for me to forget about it.
I have to say here that later on, when I got back to my friend’s place, I found out that I have a spare single glove, of a totally different make, but in fact it is for the right hand, so I hope my friend will accept it from me as a replacement.
Anyway, after more than 10 hours of walking and a missing single right hand glove at North Sheen train station, I found my way through the southwest train lines and after saying goodbye to the helpful member of the public at Clapham Junction, I started my peace journey towards Stonehenge.
I got on board of a train from Clapham Junction towards Basingstoke but after speaking to a supervisor of the train she didn’t allow me to carry on towards Basingstoke and she asked me to get off at Woking. There I managed to get on board of another train towards Basingstoke and after going through four more stations including Hook , I managed to speak to the supervisor of the train and he very kindly let me stay, after understanding what I was doing.
So that is how I got to the Basingstoke station and from here I got the last train to Salisbury, which I found out at the station is the nearest train station to Stonehenge, and after passing five more stations including Overton, Whitechurch, Andover, Grately and one more, then finally I arrived at Salisbury at about midnight.
I stayed inside the Salisbury train station till about 0115 hours, then I was asked by the supervisor of the station to stay out of the station till about 4am, so myself and two others stayed out of the station in a bit of sheltered area by a vending machine till about 4:15 am despite a heavy rain and wind outside, so the manager of the station kindly let us in again to the waiting room area after 4:20am and we rested there till about 0630 hours, then one of the people who was staying outside with me, whose name was Simon, kindly offered me a lift with a taxi with another person named John from the US who was staying in a hotel in the town near to the Stonehenge, so at about 7am we headed towards the stones after picking up him from the town.
It was about 0730 hours that we got to our destination and I thanked Simon and gave him a heart to heart hug just in case I couldn’t see him again due to the area being very busy, also I said goodbye to John and the taxi driver as well, so that was a brief peace journey which the universe got me connected to the Stonehenge just before the sunrise at about 0800 hours, but due to cloud and rain I couldn’t see the sunrise.
I saw some wonderful people again whom I met at different festivals and gatherings during the spring and summer of this year and met some new people as well, below is a photo of me taken by a wonderful universe brother.
Stonehenge on 21.12.13 winter solstice
After being at the Stonehenge from 0730- 0900 hours we were asked by the security people to leave the area, and during the time I was by the stones, I met a wonderful rainbow brother and he kindly offered me a lift to Avebury, after I told him Avebury is my next destination, so I left the stones area onto a road very near to the stone circles, which used to be one of the old cattle roads, and it was here that our rainbow brother introduced me to Mardi Lee, who is advocating an open access to Stonehenge (www.openaccesstostonehenge.com)/ (www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-round-table-enter-into-discussion-about-open-access-to-stonehenge).
After some talking to some wonderful local people, who were coming to the Stonehenge almost every year, my rainbow brother and I headed towards Avebury at about 11am, after a wonderful conversation and update on what we’d been doing since our last meet up on 10th December, during our peace pilgrimage walk for Syria in London. We arrived at about midday in the village of Avebury, and after saying goodbye to one another I went to a local old English inn to dry myself and familiarise myself slowly into the life of the village.
After a wonderful warm up and a bit rest in this nice warm pub(inn), I started to go around the village and explore it for myself and despite a very heavy wind and rain, I managed to go around some of the stones circulating the village, and also speak to some locals and visitors to the village, I found almost everyone around the area were wonderfully kind and lovely, and due to a much heavier weather forecast then was expected, and not be able to find a good peace camp area, and also finding an opportunity to head back to London, I didn’t hesitate to head back. Two wonderful human beings helped me get from the village to one of the M4 junctions close to Swindon, and on our way we chatted a bit about why I am doing this and I told them about my reasons, and they kindly offered me some homemade sandwiches, and a piece of fruit, then we said goodbye to one another.
So, after some walking to the right side of the junction I started to show my board and try to get a lift towards London, and soon just about 15min a wonderful couple name Martin and Hennie Symington gave me a lift all the way to a petrol station near to junction 11 on the M4. On our way I told them who I was and what I was doing and they were quite happy giving a lift to a peace pilgrim, and even they asked me to talk to their son who was driving behind them, and I told them my weblog address for them to go and visit if they find time, and after asking them to drive with care due to the torrential weather I told them I hope you all enjoy your evening.
The couple very kindly offered me some money and after I told them I don’t accept any, the wonderful husband “Martin” despite his backache, came to the petrol station and got me a sandwich and a drink of my choice, then after my usual heart to heart hug I said goodnight to them, and wished them safest journey to their destination.
I stayed at the petrol station for about half an hour before another wonderful Steve turned up and he asked me “where?”, and I told him London, and he said jump in and that was it, he took me all the way to my friend’s place near the City of London.
On our way we started to talk about what we were doing and what has made us to see each other. He told me he has left London same day about 1pm and got to Walbury Hill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walbury_Hill) at about 4pm for winter solstice and also he asked me to find out about Lowbury (http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/9401/lowbury_hill_camp.html), and Aldworth yew (http://www.aldworthvillage.org/Localinformation/StMarysChurch/StMarysChurchhistory/tabid/70/language/en-GB/Default.aspx) and giant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldworth) for summer solstice in Berkshire.
From about 1815-2015 hours we were talking to each other and we did enjoy our different subjects of conversation, he told me he has been abroad in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Afghanistan as an accountant for the ministry of defence, and he was quite happy about what he was doing, at the end I did offer him a cup of tea and some bread and butter, and then he told me he has to go back to west London to join his daughter before it gets too late, despite my offer of staying and resting here in almost east London, so then my usual goodbye and goodnight, and I asked him to get in touch with me if I can be in any help to offer.
week starting 23.12.13
Today myself and two other peace advocates for Syria, from our peace and justice for Syria working group, had an appointment at 3pm with a councillor of the Turkish embassy “Alper Aktas”. Just before we start our talking he offered us some drink, and we all asked for a special Turkish coffee which usually comes with a glass of water due to the quality and thickness of the special coffee, which reminded me of my Middle East peace journey when they were serving me this everywhere very kindly, then we were down to our talking and briefly I told him what I have been doing and others did mention their concerns and questions and also one of the members of the group was taking some notes of what the councillor was telling us. I recommend, if you have time, to visit www.peaceandjusticeforsyria.wordpress.com for more details of the meeting in terms of figures and numbers which the councillor was mentioning to us throughout our one hour long conversation. He was quite happy for us to get in touch if we have any concerns or need any help in the future.
Next, I allocated most of this week to go around and visit all the five centres of a charity called Crisis (www.crisis.org.uk), which as I have observed has been offering lonely and a percentage of homeless people a place to go and enjoy their time during the festive season (Christmas time), for a warm meal and some advice and some other activities which they might not be able to do during the whole year round in the capital.
I was told all the day centres including colleges and academies has been donated, and about 8000 volunteers support the project, every day from 24-29 December from 9am-9pm.
I headed towards my first destination which was east London day centre (the city academy Hackney) Homerton Row E9 6EA. On my way there I visited old Occupy Nomads places at Ion Square and Haggerston Park, then I went through a fruit and vegetable market where I came across Mark and Andria (who I met at the Small World festival and I ended up going back to their place and helping them for more than a week apple picking in Sussex), so I saw them in the market and we were so happy to see each other again and Andria kindly offered me a wonderful cup of apple juice as usual and some bananas, also a little branch of mistletoe in hope of spreading more love around the planet, then I met again Mark’s brother, and Andria’s daughter, and another wonderful young man who told me he has been helping Mark for almost two years. After some conversation with him I asked him to check my blog and read about my peace journey if he has time, then after some catching up and some laughing with them I said goodbye to them and headed towards my main destination, the Crisis day centre in east London.
So as I approached my first day centre I was greeted by some wonderful volunteer people, and then I was asked for a name and address, or the borough you were coming from, nationality, language etc. This information was requested before they offer you a wristband, so my only answer to all their questions was “Earthian, a messenger of love and peace, the rest is irrelevant to me, if that is not enough I should say goodnight to you all wonderful people and try other centres from tomorrow”, and they kindly accepted what I said and I got through their gate with a wristband.
Now what I have observed inside was very interesting – some of the people were looking at the food and drink as a commodity, and taking as if there was no tomorrow, and some were quietly sitting in corners and just watching what was going on in front of their eyes, as they couldn’t do anything to change things, so why not be quiet and eat and drink as they were given food and drink by the volunteers at the centre.
I tried to exercise some of my rights to see how some of the volunteers responded, but they didn’t have anything near to an answer to my concerns about what was going on: for example, a man came to a refreshment area (tea, coffee, fruits) and he held a bag and filled it up with about 20 mandarins/tangerines, and despite others were just taking one or two, he was doing this action in front of everyone, without anyone saying anything to him, and I went there and I asked the volunteer who was kindly helping and was trying serve, and I said “is that ok if I go and get a bag and get as much as he has?” and the volunteer said “yes, go ahead”, so I realised there wasn’t a sense of limitation, not because there was plenty of the fruit, but because they were scared of telling people what is enough, and they were not realising that these people every day have to run from one place to another in order to get enough food to go through the day, and so now, despite he knew there would be a tomorrow with plenty of those fruits again, but past scarcity has made him to store as much as he can, just in case tomorrow the fruits might never come. On the other hand, it was about dinner time and I asked a volunteer if they have any bread and they told me they don’t have any, and just five minutes later another volunteer brought not only bread, but jam and butter and a second time meal for another member of the public, so clearly there was pettiness and double standards among those who had offered their time to do good, and to feel good, not knowing that their time has just been used not really to solve homelessness as a whole, but for making the charity called Crisis bigger and more competitive in a system which really and truly doesn’t want the homelessness to be solved anyway.
I had some refreshment, used some internet and had a light dinner, and a dessert, though I nearly missed my dinner due to being told dinner is between 1900-1930 hours and the time was just 1935 hours, but it wouldn’t have been any surprise to me if I wasn’t getting any dinner, due to my earlier explanation.
One of the main reasons I was visiting Crisis centres during this festive period was to find out how they can solve the problem of homelessness. At the Occupy London camp we approved in one of our General Assemblies that we were supporting to solve homelessness, and we approved that there is a big issue of homelessness, which we had some working groups like the Next Step group to work on this, and many other people tried their best at the time to come up with a solution, but we had not enough resources in hand to do so. So it was this made me to take my peace pilgrimage journey into these day centres of Crisis to find a solution, as I have read about the charity which has been around for more than 40 years, like another charity which is called Shelter – they both came about more or less in the late 1960s.
So today I start walking towards the south London day centre city of London academy Lynton road, SE1 5LA in Bermendsey.
During two hours of walking I visited another Occupy Nomads places in east London – Occupy Shadwell, which was in King Edward memorial park, and was very controversial, because although we were there to give local support, we moved there only based on rumours that it was a good location, with no discussion or clear indication from the local community, and it was a mistake to do so. Here you can see in this video I am trying my best to say “we are here to support you and if you think we aren’t we will move on”, but the locals were telling us “we want you out of here as soon as possible”, and after moving out from the disputed location, we couldn’t sustain ourselves and finally after our rainbow brothers left us to go to south east London for a Rainbow Gathering, we had to go and join back with our other occupiers at Occupy Mile End park again, and it was after this occupation I decided to go ahead and Occupy Everywhere rather than just a location, a park or a building here in London, and since then I have been occupying everywhere on my peace journey (http://www.whatsinwapping.co.uk/occupy-wapping-shadwell-kemp-11042012/).
I also visited near Occupy Limehouse, and I managed to walk for more than a mile underneath the Thames water in Rotherhithe tunnel, and as I was heading south I met another pedestrian who was a young man heading north almost in the middle of the tunnel, also I saw a cyclist just before I reach the exit of the tunnel, and then after another few miles finally I found the south London day centre.
When I arrived I went through the officials then just at the refreshment area I was greeted by one of the old occupiers from Occupy Mile End who was called Red Jim (on twitter @thesocialistway), and he asked me to join the table where he was sitting with a group of his friends, and just at the same time I met another occupier who I’ve come across often recently, coincidentally, so I said hello to them and I joined Red Jim’s table, and he introduced me to his friends and he told them about my story, then we exchanged some contact details. Later on I went to explore the area and went to the library and I found a book about peace. In every centre I tried my best to get hold of a book or something to read which I was interested in, or anything about peace, and I found these: “5 a day what’s it all about nhs.uk/5aday” (http://www.nhs.uk/LIVEWELL/5aday/Pages/5ADAYhome.aspx),and “Three cups of tea” by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Cups_of_Tea) in the south centre. Then I came down and had a wonderful Christmas dinner with no gravy , and a good dessert as well, and it was just before dinner when I met Fredrick from Occupy LSX/Finsbury and Limehouse, who did kindly help me during the night of the occupation at Limehouse.
Then I used some internet, got some drink and with a friend we said goodbye to the centre, and we got a lift to near Tower Bridge as well, then I visited the friend’s place but due to sleeping limitations I had to say goodbye and walk back to my resting place.
Overall the centre was much more organised and volunteers were doing their best to help everyone compared with east London.
I managed to get to the centre of south east London day centre Lewisham college Deptford campus 2 Deptford Church Street, SE8 4RZ at about 1730 hours and the first thing I noticed was that everything was almost winding down and they were just concentrating on feeding people and serving people, also the centre was closing earlier as well, and there weren’t any transportation facilities.
I couldn’t find any book in their little library of a couple of boxes of books, and with five minutes remaining time of internet I managed to use internet just enough time to check a few e-mails and that was it.
Then I had some refreshment and some dinner which was good enough to fill up till next day, then I spoke to some people in the centre which was busy and small compared with the rest, just before I left the centre and tried to make my way to my resting place I got into a conversation with a volunteer near to the exit and I told her what I was doing and she kindly offered me some more refreshment and after a heart to heart hug I offered her my blog address to visit if she had time, and then I said goodnight and headed back to my resting place.
I managed to get to the west London day centre Ealing, Hammersmith & West London college Hammersmith campus, Gliddon Road, W14 9BL. The centre was quite big compared with the others, it was more like Bermondsey and more people were there as well, and they were busy playing different activities like chess, table tennis, singing, karaoke and art as well. Like at some of the other centres things were winding down after 6pm and the centre was concentrating on feeding people and volunteers were serving people here as well like in some other centres.
Again I couldn’t find any library or internet due to the time being after 6pm and they were all shut, but I managed to get some refreshment and speak to some members of staff, and I was telling them what I was doing and also coincidentally I came across an ambassador called Michael for the “Crisis Skylight” (http://www.crisis.org.uk/?gclid=COP12dKa2rsCFabLtAod_CkAZA), which is a programme that runs around the year and not just in the festive periods, and they wanted more people to get involved and know about what Crisis is doing the rest of the year. After telling him what I am doing and how I am doing it, he was telling me that they are advocating peace as well and they would like to help me as well, and I told him no problem, this is how I can help and I’d like to see how Crisis can help me, and we got into some discussion which we both agreed that some other ways should be found to solve the issue of homelessness, I have to say still I have an appointment with him for 6th January 2014 and I’d like to see how we can help each other.
So as I said there wasn’t any peace book here to find, but I had some refreshment and met some of the old occupiers including the famous heavy tent owner filled with scrap metal called John and his mum Christina. I remember we wanted to install some solar panels at the back of the Tent City University at OLSX and their tent was very close to it, and I asked some other kind occupiers to help them to move their tent to a place near to the Occupy Anonymous area, and I believe it took some people almost a day to just move their tent, so I asked John “what did you do with all that metal stuff?” and he told me most of it got evicted, and also I have to say his mum was complaining about her son that he is keeping a big storage place and paying £X a week (which I could organise and manage the entire budget of OLSX camp on!) for something which he doesn’t use. It was so funny for me to see them again and share this little story with you, as I can’t forget their presence at the camp LSX. So here I was, seeing them in a Crisis place and telling myself “Good luck to Crisis if they want to bring these two wonderful human beings back to so-called normal life and out of homelessness, because both have a place, but because of too much stuff in their places they can’t go back and they prefer to sleep here and there”. Definitely they need a couple of the most sophisticated robots to catch up on an inventory of their collection of plastic bags and many more other sorts of stuff.
I went to the last centre of Crisis at north London day centre Westminster Kingsway college 211 Grays Inn Road London WC1X 8RA, and the centre was quite big, similar to Bermondsey in south and Hammersmith in west London. People were busy doing different things and things were more under control here, especially the IT room, which was programmed to be used in 20 minute slots because it was so busy, and there was a library as well but not many books. I managed to find a book called “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kite_Runner), which drew my attention. I met two volunteers at the centre who remembered me from the time of Glastonbury festival, when George (an old Occupy friend) introduced me to them, and they were part of the green movement at the festival. They said they are still involved with green stuff and were quite happy to see me there, which I was likewise, and they said they were happy to come and help Crisis as well. I didn’t have much time to sit down with them and see how they got involved with the charity, but I hope their good intentions will help on the way to the right changes.
Then I headed down to the refreshment area and then dinner time which was a very good dinner and I enjoyed it and after talking to some more people in there, and telling them about my journey, I said goodbye to the centre and headed to see another friend in a new year party place. After getting near to the area I couldn’t find my friend but I found another friend and after staying there just for a short period of time I said goodbye and headed back to the centre and ended up finding myself in front of St. Paul’s cathedral again, and then I said goodbye to the city and went to my resting place.
As new year 2014 is approaching I want to say – last year at this time I was in the Middle East part of the Asian continent and this year here I am in London Europe, and maybe next year in America… wherever we are, if we are contributing towards a better world I believe there should be our home, and this should be irregardless of which part of the planet /continent or country/nation we are in. We should all advocate love, goodness and peace towards that land, and all over the land.
your humbled messenger of love and peace