It was this week that I was in touch with Steve Rushton. In December 2013, Steve found time to come with me when I was on my peace pilgrimage around the world embassies, he has written for Occupy London (www.occupylondon.org.uk/author/steverushton), and he told me that he has just written a story for the New Internationalist (NI) blog about my peace journeys: Around the world, one border at a time. It was on this NI website where a first story about the beginning of my Peace Journey to the Middle East was published (A one man peace mission) by Emma Fordham, who is actively writing on different subjects including this new NI article about the recent flooding in Britain (Money’s no object – to creating floods), and blogs from Barton Moss and other places on her own blog website (www.hazelhedge.wordpress.com). (For more about Barton Moss and the struggle against fracking, see www.frack-off.org.uk). Anyway, if you have time I recommend you read both Steve and Emma – I have a great respect, and fascination, for their writing.
So, back to my good news which Steve gave me to say that my story has been published, and also he asked me if I could go to a place in number 238 Gray’s Inn road for an event in a new Bank of Ideas on Saturday 08.02.14, for an hour’s talk about my peace journey. I have to say here that it was a great place and I had a wonderful time talking at the opening of a week long programme on free education at this place, and it was a day full of great speakers, talks, assembly and entertainment from 1pm to 11pm, which you can access via Occupy London website (www.occupylondon.org.uk), or at bambuser.com channel occupylsx.
Below are some of the photos of the day in the new centre called “Bank of Ideas”, these were taken by some of my good friends.
I went to join peace and justice for Syria group (www.syriapeaceandjustice.wordpress.com) for a peace vigil in Trafalgar Square in front of the national gallery, where about a dozen people turned up, and it was started at about 18:30 and after about half an hour waiting there, due to windy weather we couldn’t light up our candles and the square was very quiet, so about half of us decided to do a peace walk around Leicester Square, and back. Throughout our peace walk we interacted with some wonderful people including a nice lady from the Liberal Democrat office from the Parliament, who came across us and we had a good conversation with her, and she told us she is going to check on our peace group and will tell more people about us.
Then, after spending about an hour in the area we came back to join the rest of the group at the Trafalgar Square, then we formed a circle and we had a 5 minutes silence to reflect on the world around us for peace, and in respect to all those who have lost their lives across the planet, especially those in today’s Syria, then everyone had a chance to talk for a minute or so about themselves and their point of view, also their suggestions for future events and gatherings for the group, then at the end about 21:00, slowly we were saying goodbye to one another and I started walking back to my resting place as well.
Below are some of the photos taken by some peace brothers from the group which reflect on the day.
There was a conference on Syria in the context of the Arab Uprisings from 11am to 1800 at the Theatro Technis 26 Crowndale Rd. London NW1 1TT, also St. Pancras Community Centre 30 Camden St. London NW1 0LG, which you could follow (#syriaconf) on twitter at the time of the conference. I have to say the conference was organised by the Syrian community in the UK, International Socialist Network, Socialist Resistance, Anticapitalist Initiative, Workers’ Power, and Left Unity (www.leftunity.org), and with contributions of many other individuals with strong and in some cases biased views on the conflict.
As I arrived well before the start, I told the organisers who I was and what I was doing, then they kindly helped me with getting into the conference and I allocated a little space for myself and my writing boards so people from the conference could see me, so I could get in conversation with people at the time of breaks.
The conference had about 15 different speakers from different areas in the world, and also via Skype some could connect to the conference as well, we had student, lecturer, researcher, Dr., professor, blogger, law graduate, anthropologist, director, activist, and finally an MP (John McDonnell) who were present in the conference, and I have to say here that the MP promised people to book a room in the Parliament for those who want to go and discuss the Syrian conflict in there, so hopefully MPs will listen to their constituencies’ needs, and other people’s demands not to get involved in the Syrian conflict militarily, and ask for an immediate ceasefire, and a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Over all I had a very positive and good day in the conference, and some people had a chance to speak their minds, and ask questions at the Q&A sessions including myself, also we had an occupier who joined later and was kindly doing some livestreaming of some parts of the conference which might be available on the Occupy News Network (www.occupynewsnetwork.co.uk) or (bambuser.com channel occupylsx), also peace brother Dan, and a peace sister from the peace and justice for Syria group were present in the conference as well, and this helped us to participate in both venues, and advocate our peace mission to the audiences. I have to mention, in the conference, brother of a late Dr. Abbas Khan was present and he spoke to the people of his and their family’s ordeal, and then at the end Dan and I had a chance to see him and share our sadness about their loss and took a memorable photo together in the conference.
After saying goodbye to all those people I knew in the conference, I walked back to the final day of the new “Bank of Ideas” place, and I managed to share some of my thought with people over there in an assembly which was about the free education, which was a great discussion and hope that we can open up many of similar centres like this in the future, as this one was its last day, then after saying goodnight to people who I knew I started walking back to my resting place.
Today I went to a meeting which was called “Global peace & unity- can it be done?” After getting there just on time I waited for the meeting to start, which was organised by the Zeitgeist Movement London (www.thezeitgeistmovementuk.com) and One People One World (www.onepeopleoneworld.net), in the evening from 19:00-22:00 in Elixir Bar 162 Eversholt street, Euston, NW1 1BL.
James Phillips from (www.tzmeducation.org) was one of the first presenters. He put forward his idea of how we might be able to live in peace together, and he told us all his presentation materials should be available on his site very soon, then after a break we had another speaker from One People One World, who did hand out some leaflets about a future conference on 4th October 2014 and asked anyone to participate towards this unity, and hopefully this will help the current non functioning system be changed to one which he was advocating; also he asked people to think about it really seriously, and ask any question that they might have, so I recommend if you have time, go and find out for yourself, and participate if you can in both sites.
At the Q&A session people had a chance to ask their question and I managed to talk to the audience about my ideal world, one which could be in peace and how we could start to help out towards it, many liked what I said and afterwards I spoke to some other people, and explained my reasoning for why I am doing my peace mission in this way, at the end I said goodbye to all and walked back to my resting place.
On Wednesday I attended Peace and Justice for Syria meeting, full details of the discussion are on the group blog (www.syriapeaceandjustice.wordpress.com), all I can say here is that it was very positive and very motivated. Less than half a dozen people were present, but we got consensus on some meet ups, peace walk, talks and vigils to be planned for future, which you can check on the group weblog for more details.
Also Dan and I had an opportunity to briefly talk about the Syrian conference which I have mentioned earlier, and also I told them about the Global peace meeting from the day before in Euston, and I did give out some leaflets about the event, so hopefully these wonderful people will examine those hand outs and in the very near future we can co-operate and collaborate together.
Today I decided to go and visit a Strategy Meeting in Common House near Bethnal Green station, which has been organised by a group from Occupy London (www.occupylondon.org.uk), and it has been a monthly meeting for the last six months or so, as far as I know, and I did notice for the duration of 2 hours or so that I was there that people have changed a lot, and their decision making, and their behaviour, has changed since the time of Occupy Lsx camp General Assembly, and the way that they were trying to do things has been moved on from the real consensus, due to – as some of them were putting it – “frustration with blocking of a decision”.
In the meeting there were about 14 people in the room and there were discussions on a few different issues and out of those 14 people, 2 of them were new to me and it wasn’t long before both of them left the room, and I heard one of them tell the people present in the room “I am in a wrong place”, as he believed the Occupy he has heard of wasn’t like what he was seeing now, and at the meeting this person was very upset about the way others were treating their fellow occupiers, and as he told one occupier “you are bullying the other occupier”, so the conflict was so strong that if I was new to the movement, and if these people were going to represent Occupy, I would have been the next to leave – as I told the occupiers in the meeting.
The thought for the end of the month
So as some of you might know, London is a big city, so called a great capital of wealth and power in the continent of Europe, if not the world. Where I stay is very close to the City of London, which is another city within the city – the so called financial city – and as I don’t have the will to be getting my food from supermarkets, then I have to go and fetch food in places where food is given out for free, and also I go to those places which waste their food due to date expiration policy… as I am not in a countryside, or in a farm, then I have to get my food from somewhere, and there are different sources which are providing food daily to hundreds of people if not more across the capital.
Many of the 33 boroughs of London are providing some of the necessities for life to those so called vulnerable people, and especially in the City of London I have seen and had a chance to speak to some of those people like, Jesus Army, “Order of Malta”, “Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team (AMURT: www.amurt.org.uk), Salvation Army, Hare Krishna, different churches, and many more charities, organisations (www.thepavement.org.uk), and even some individuals and so on, who are coming out to some particular areas in the city to provide help without expectation, every day of the week especially in the evenings. All of these provide help out of what they see as their courtesy to humanity… they will provide people with what they can get from different sources, and offer this stuff to people “in need”… Sometimes, as I have seen myself, the hand outs could be an expired food or drink of almost a year out of date, given out to hundreds of people, so if you are not careful it could have more bad effect then good!
So anyway, some people kindly are trying to help out of the goodness of their hearts, but I have to say here I don’t think this is the right solution. They are just trying to be helpful, but sooner rather than later, if we don’t find the real solution, these handouts will not be there as well, as the system and so called law enforcement are trying to limit and prevent this sort of hand out, as they have been doing in some 6 boroughs of London already, and also the government is trying to pass a law to make it a criminal offence if for whatever reason you sleep outside, like they did make a law against occupying (squatting) an empty residential building, and now they are trying to do the same thing with commercial buildings as well.
It is like the issue of prostitution; I don’t believe for a moment that there should be prostitution, and there should not be sleeping rough and having to occupy disused buildings and giving old food handouts either… but outlawing these things only harms those at the tough end… If our economic system was supporting the people who are doing these kind of activities to live in a harmonious and balanced way, then we would see the end to these activities, not by making laws against them.
At the end of my thoughts, all I want to say is in order to have a society living in harmony with itself, every citizen of that society has to be in harmony within, and it will be great to finish this thought with an adaptation of a famous Carl Sagan saying, in which I have changed some negative-sounding words to let me think positive, and be positive, to see the change that I want to see:
“The world is one organism and an organism at conflict with itself hasn’t got much to feel good about itself”.
with much love respect peace and harmony to everyone out there on this planet
Your humbled Earthian brother always within your reach.