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The New Londoners

www.thenewlondoners.co.uk Politics

1

Spring 2013

Ashley Banjo

Leader of Dance Troupe Diversity

JeanRoger Kaseki, Islington Councillor

“Diversity's motto is: Dream, Believe, Achieve  and I think we've lived up to it.”

People

page 5

Where do I belong?

A Brit Abroad

© Rex Features Ltd

In Kenya

Community

My Palestinian London

Theatre

EU Referendum

Sparks Heated Debate

by Kaitlyn Kennedy

Kaitlyn Kennedy is a student at Eastern Connecticut State University in America commenting on the current European Union discussions As an American I carry with me a set of values and understandings that shape my outlook and perspectives on issues involving human rights, immigration, and diversity. After spending three weeks

Shaban Arifi

in London, I have begun to develop an understanding of some of the fundamental beliefs of the citizens and the underlying similarities I have noticed. Every year migrants come to

America to fulfil a dream, to make a better life for themselves and/or their family. Some Americas believe that immigrants take advantage of the state benefits offered. In my research, I have noticed similar Continued on page 3 >>

www.thenewlondoners.co.uk


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The New Londoners

Editor-in-Chief: Ros Lucas Editorial Team: Cina Aissa Julian Cheyne Paula Freitas Joanna Haber Kaitlyn Kennedy Sabrina Prescott-Nelson Richard Rushworth Production & Communications: Sylvia Velásquez Creative Director & layout: Pablo Monteagudo Reporters: Cina Aissa Helena Argyle N.N.Dee Tania Farias Georgie Knaggs Contributors: Mamuna Camapo Robyn Chamberlen-Dunne Nicola Chelotti Denebo Dekeba Carrie Drummond Remzije Duli Konstantinos Koloucheris Charlotte Mathysse Elliot Pfebve Sabrina Prescott-Nelson Piotr Surmaczynski Howard Tingle Joanne Walker Naomi Wayne Jerdenne Wilson Photographers: Barbara Campbell Denebo Dekeba Elisa Fusi Kaitlyn Kennedy KAYAV Georgie Knaggs Pablo Monteagudo Farah Mushtaq Theatre Collection - Greg Goodale Young Voices Project Ilustrators: Khalil Bendib Luisa Kelle Ian Drummond Francisco Trebuxet Comic Strip: Rhiannon Hughes Poetry: Hasani Hasani Produced by: Migrants Resource Centre 24 Churton Street London SW1 V 2LP 02078342505 www.migrantsresourcecentre.org.uk info@migrants.org.uk With thanks to all the volunteer journalists, contributors and media group members who took part in the production of the magazine Special thanks to: Migrants and Refugee Social Media Group and Chris McHugh Rex Features Ltd.

Letter from Editor-in-Chief Dear Readers, As austerity measures begin to bite, there is a tendency to find an easy scapegoat for the country’s ills. Migrants, and immigration generally, are identified as being a major factor in contributing to our economic woes. This is happening not only in the UK but across Europe with a swing to the right and support for political parties that are “nationalistic” in nature, such as the growing fascist movement in Greece. It is crucial that there is a balanced debate on the issues and to look behind the headlines of the tabloid press and the anti-immigrant rhetoric if we are to ensure a harmonious society in the UK and ensure that London remains one of the world’s most dynamic cities and the economic powerhouse it is. Our lead article focuses on the impact of the UK leaving the EU and the drivers behind this debate. In this issue, we also continue to highlight the fantastic contribution that migrants make to life in our capital city. We tell the stories of people who have sought asylum in the UK, fleeing their countries of origin due to persecution and their lives being endangered, and how they have rebuilt their lives and are contributing to our culture and society. We should be very proud that the UK has provided them with a safe haven and enabled them to turn their lives around. Why not join in debate with us through facebook and twitter and let us have your views?

Ros Lucas MRC Executive Director

Apologies:

In our last number we published an interview with counsellor Lavanniya Langa (pag. 19) and we need to clarify that the counselling Service is funded by the Comic Relief and not by the National Lottery, and Lavanniya Langa is a counsellor and not the coordinator.

We apologize for any difficulties or confusion this may have caused.

Follow us and join in debate on:

The New Londoners @newlondoners

Supported by:


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EU Referendum Sparks Heated Debate << Continued from page 1

sentiments being expressed here. Opinions that have been sparked by free movement of EU member state citizens into the UK. After 39 years as an active member of the EU, there have been recent talks of the UK backing out of its economic and political commitments. Comprised of 27 member states, the creation of the EU was founded upon the idea that it would provide its members with financial and political stability through co-operation and coexistence. But in recent years, there have been several economic crises resulting from the mounting debt and failed banks of European countries, which have had a direct, detrimental impact on the financial success of the Union. Prime Minister David Cameron has been vocal about his desire to redesign the United Kingdom's relationship with the European Union, and has proposed a referendum that would allow citizens to negotiate future involvement. He has been cautious with his words, saying: "I never want us to pull up the drawbridge and retreat from the world. I am not a British isolationist." Although not an isolationist, the idea that the United Kingdom can “cherry pick” what it wants from the European Union has angered other member states. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stated: “We can’t have Europe á la carte. Imagine the EU was a football club; once you’ve joined up and you’re in this club you

Prime Minister David Cameron has been vocal about his desire to redesign the United Kingdom's relationship with the European Union, and has proposed a referendum that would allow citizens to negotiate future involvement

Pictures by Fin Fahey & Taro Taylor

can’t then say that you want to play rugby.” Cameron’s proposed referendum re-evaluates the United Kingdom's need to be a part of the EU. His proposals however have been broad and vague, providing ammunition for critics from opposing parties to question his motives. Some argue that his recent outcries are politically driven, triggered by the rising popularity of the Independent party which has explicitly stated it wishes to see the UK’s future as one outside of the EU. His promise to give the British people a voice in 2017 is dependent upon the Tories winning the General Election in

2015. Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour party, has been outspoken about his belief that Cameron’s referendum manoeuvre is driven by his desire to keep political affiliations strong. If the UK were to withdraw from the Union, its economic status would be unknown; potentially leading to Britain’s own financial crisis, leaving politicians, economists, and citizens conflicted over the idea of the referendum. Although Boris Johnson signed the People’s Pledge he has been quoted as stating he also wishes to see a reformed relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union. In an Continued on page 4 >>


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<< Continued from page 3

interview he explained, “The country needs a chance for people to debate the issue. If they were to vote to come out we would be losing, in my view, we would be losing substantial protection for British business and British enterprise that would exist in the single market.” If Britain was not a member of the internal market, he believes that foreign investors would be deterred. Johnson’s opinion is diplomatic while also taking a critical approach with future London business and economic endeavours in mind. Some, including Johnson, praise Cameron for being instrumental in bringing the tensions and dissatisfactions of the British people to light. The Conservative Prime Minister asserted, "There is a growing frustration that the EU is seen as something that is done to people rather than acting on their behalf. And this is being intensified by the very solutions required to resolve the economic problems." Cameron wants the citizens of the United Kingdom's voices to be heard. But, can the United Kingdom's economy thrive and prosper on its own? There is also the issue of immigration. Last year the Office for National Statistics reported Long-Term

Dream,

International Migration figures that revealed the UK had a net migration of 250,000 people. Net migration is the calculated difference between the number of people coming into the country and the number emigrating out. If the UK were to leave the European Union and tighten its borders, could these numbers change? Does the United Kingdom have to take such drastic measures to address the current concern over these statistics? With more people coming in than going out many are feeling heightened levels of frustration. British citizens are left questioning if being a part of the European Union is truly beneficial to them. As an outsider I am intrigued by the varying opinions expressed by Brits. Are British citizens who wish to see an isolated United Kingdom committed to their migrant population? Are they ready to be viewed as a culturally diverse place? Isolation in a way suggests they wish to preserve a homogeneous national identity. It seems they are neither ready nor willing to develop into a culturally diverse nation. Being a part of the European Union means embracing and welcoming members of other nations into society. It is time for the United Kingdom to evaluate what type of nation they wish to be.

Being a part of the European Union means embracing and welcoming members of other nations into society. It is time for the United Kingdom to evaluate what type of nation they wish to be

Ilustration by Luisa Kelle

by Konstantinos Koloucheris

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Dancer and chor Leytonstone to the People say that the road to success will never be straight and is definitely not easy. Ashley Banjo’s journey began in one of the roughest neighbourhoods of East London: Leytonstone. His mother, Danielle, a former ballet dancer, influenced Ashley from a young age, and he was dancing from the age of three. His father, Funso, from Nigeria, was a former boxer with an impressive career in the heavyweight categories, and gave Ashley confidence, articulation and brightness - the attitude of a man who would eventually graduate from Queen Mary University. The fact that his parents were of two different cultural backgrounds - English and Nigerian didn’t seem to bother Ashley; instead, this diversity was the inspiration for the name of a dance troupe that he leads. “Diversity” would be the winner of the third series of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ in 2009, and his tenmember team would win the grand prize of £100,000. It was a Saturday night in April 2009, when the Britain’s Got Talent final gave goose bumps to its audience with some


The New Londoners

Ashley Banjo's Pictures courtesy of Chris McHugh, Rex Features Ltd

, Believe, Achieve

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reographer Ashley Banj o’s road to success from e Royal Variety Performance in front of the Queen tremendous performances. At the time, group appeared at the Royal Variety Susan Boyle was the main contender to win. Performance, where they danced in front of Her undoubtedly stunning voice in contrast the Queen. The press dedicated articles and with her appearance drew people in and feature stories to the achievements of the impressed audiences. Everything the media young choreographer from Leytonstone, and loved was in her story. The big surprise wasn’t only Susan Boyle’s performance, but that she found herself in second place. The gang The other guys in the group are from Essex with an astonishing three always calling me Goody Two Shoes, minute performance managed to leave everyone who was watching the but being in shape is important to me. show speechless. The Diversity dance I try to be a good role model to my group, led by Ashley Banjo, performed what we can only describe as an pupils. Diversity's motto is: Dream, extraordinary piece of choreography performed in such a sophisticated Believe, Achieve  and I think we've way that it would reach even the lived up to it most merciless of audiences. They won the prize and since then Ashley Banjo from Leytonstone has a dream and a path to follow - even if his feet are stacked on the ground, as he says - in the his attitude towards his fame. In a statement dance industry as a dancer, choreographer in the Daily Telegraph, a couple of months and actor. In November 2009, the talented after the end of Britain’s Got Talent, Ashley

told readers that his education matters to him as much as his new-found fame. Diversity is a big part of London society and Ashley’s story is a perfect example of why youngsters should be inspired to follow their dreams. The multicultural background of Ashley’s team is case in point that individuals of different cultures and ages can find success through hard work, even in a tough industry like dance. This should also be seen as a sign of how much more space there is for groups like Diversity, due to the multicoloured character of London’s population. The British capital is undeniably a city where someone can find representatives of nations from all around the world, as it is the highest populated host society for immigrants in Europe and one of the biggest in the world, according to figures from UNESCO. Cultural diversity certainly has an impact on the entertainment industry, and this unique story may be a catalyst for change in an era where xenophobia and racism are no longer tolerated by the public.


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Where do

P ictu re b y P

The question of belonging still h poet Shabibi Shah Nola. In earl husband and their three young abandon their life in Kabul to tr first to Pakistan and then on

a b lo M on te ag u d o

See a review of "Where do I belong" on page 34

by Georgie Knaggs

I want to be involved. I want to know people. I want to do something and I have to be busy all the time. The minute I don't have anything to do I get depressed

Shabibi Shah Nola, small and neat, is now in her mid-sixties. We meet at her home in London. It is hard to believe that just thirty years ago this generous woman had her comfortable life in Kabul uprooted completely. On 21 March 1983, on the edge of winter, she and her children, the youngest not yet two, trekked across the mountains into Pakistan following their well-known journalist father, Zafar Shah, who had been forced to leave a fortnight ahead of them. In our meeting Shabibi doesn’t mention this journey – she only asks if I have read her book. “I started trying to write my book Where do I Belong? because I was trying to learn English. It is not a big, massive book but the things I say in the book are more important.” The first edition of the book was published in 2001, some five years after she first took an English language adult education course, and eight years on from the death of her husband. “I was depressed… The reason I went to classes was that I didn’t have anyone Afghan around me and I wanted at least to get into this society.” Shabibi confesses that she is not so much a writer as a poet and has published poems under the name Shabibi Nola. Her poems, some in English but most in Dari, are often sad with vivid, torn images of loss. After nearly three decades in the country Shabibi still cannot think of herself as English. Her laughter ripples through the kitchen where she prepares ‘boloni’. “This is the problem. This is the problem. I don’t know what I am doing here.” Going back is not an option. “It doesn’t make sense. I’ve been away from Afghanistan for many, many, many years… people have changed, the environment has changed and the culture has

changed.” We move from the kitchen into the warm colours of the living room. Glossy indoor plants nod out to the small garden beyond the glass. Shabibi points to a photograph of herself and friends in Kabul in the 1960’s. The girls, with fashionable hairstyles and sunglasses, are all in brightly coloured, knee-length dresses or skirts. “Kabul was very cultured and very advanced.” Shabibi points to the lady in the centre of the photograph – a medical doctor. She, a recently qualified journalist, stands next to her. The decades that followed the day that photograph was taken turned Kabul life upside down. The monarchy ended in 1973 and Russian influence and turmoil began to spread. Shabibi and her family scattered


o I belong?

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Shabibi Shah's Pictures by Georgie Knaggs

haunts writer and ly 1983 she, her children had to ravel as refugees n to London

around the world. Loneliness is one of Shabibi’s greatest fears. “I am a person who always panics when I don’t have people around me. I want to be involved. I want to know people. I want to do something and I have to be busy all the time. The minute I don’t have anything to do I get depressed.” This energy, and Shabibi’s skills as a communicator, are becoming known across London. Last year she was awarded a gold medal in recognition of her outstanding work as trustee for the Ruth Hayman Trust - a small, London-based charity that helps those who don’t speak English as a first language. “I love them because they do a lot of things and I just go and join them. Occasionally I do some cooking for them.” Later she admits that the cooking does help with fundraising. “I did a 100 people for the first one. They were shocked because we made £3,000 in one evening.”

The Paiwand (Unity) Afghan Association has elected Shabibi as their chairperson – a position she has held for three years. This London Association tries to unite all Afghan refugees and to help them feel more at home. “I am just the chair. I do not do much to be honest. I get the privilege,” she smiles and pauses, “and they get the work.” There is also fostering. Since 2008 she and her youngest son, Sulaiman, have been foster carers for Afghan boys helping them cope with the new culture. “Most of these children come as unaccompanied minors... It is a shock for them. They don’t feel comfortable. They are young and they need someone.” There have also been speaking engagements including one in Westminster and interviews with French television, BBC Radio Four and BBC Television. She has met Princess Anne and been photographed with the Queen. The list goes on… Shabibi jokes: “I am famous.” She says it with a dismissive laugh she knows just how fragile life and fame can be.

The Ruth Hayman Trust provides small grants of up to £500 to support the education and training of adults who have come to settle in Britain and have a first language other than English. Many of those supported are refugees and asylum seekers. The Trust gives away approximately £15K each year and therefore needs to raise a similar amount through donations and fundraising activities. For details of how to apply for a grant and to donate to the Trust see www.ruthhaymantrust.com


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The New Londoners

by Kaitlyn Kennedy

Unfavourable portrait of migrants in the press must end

Media has to truly reflect the changes in society shown in the last census Economist Ron DeLegge II once said that “99 percent of statistics only tell 49 percent of the story.” Statistics have the ability to reveal the truth for some while strengthening lies for others. Society has become numb to number dropping from outspoken politicians that make claims based on reported figures. Unemployment, crime and divorce rates have all at one time been skewed and tailored to attention-grabbing headlines. It is no secret that the media in the past as well as the present has played an active role in manipulating the minds of many. Millions of people every day pick up their local newspaper or scan the internet for the current events impacting their nation and have their minds influenced by the stories they read, formulating opinions that aren’t always accurate or true. Most recently in the United Kingdom the media has gravitated towards the topic of immigration, and not in a positive light. “Pregnant Polish migrant told British Muslim women wearing hijabs to 'go back to your own country' in drunken tirade” was the headline chosen by the Mail Online in an article published last August. Racial injustice was inflicted by Polish migrants on other migrants of a different ethnic background.

The tension surrounding the possibility of UK withdrawing from the European Union has been surmounting in the past couple of weeks. A lot have been said about the Bulgarians and Romanians and the reported “predicted statistics” of their immigration to the UK by 2014. Little do the public know that those figures are only based on previous immigration statistics from Polish and Czech migrants in 2004. In fact, according to the businessman and philanthropist Nicolae Ratiu, in interview for the Guardian, “Romanians, as a first choice, don't come here [to the UK]. It's easier to go to Italy and Spain. In a month a Romanian can speak Italian and Spanish and Portuguese. It's easier to learn those languages. Language makes a big difference. We are closer in terms of history and culture to the Latin countries.” As result of the mishandling of the truth society is consuming what is being put out: media campaigns attempting to dissuade immigrants from coming because of the “bad weather” and other trivial reasons. If the government is foolish enough to put something out so ludicrous, surely there will be people in the public foolish enough to go along with it. The publication of the last census, in December, painted a telling-picture of how immigration has shaped the United

Kingdom’s current population. Today, approximately 40 percent of Londoners are foreign born, a dramatic increase from the prior decade’s statistics. This increase has made London surpass New York (36 percent) as an internationally populated city. The census also showed that the proportion of those describing themselves as white-British has dropped from 58% in 2001 to 45% in 2011. Not only are the numbers changing, but the way Londoners are identifying themselves has begun to transform as well. London has become a multi-cultural city, creating space to adjust the previous concept of British national identity. With the number of migrants residing in London on the incline, it is disturbing to also see the continued publications that fail to provide the public with the truth. It is time for the media as well as the entire United Kingdom to begin embracing their multi-cultural citizens. When comparing the most recent census statistics to that of 2001, a progressive path emerges; a path towards diversity. These statistics, I argue, can be the force behind change. The media has the responsibility to the public to begin printing pieces that portray a more accurate, positive depiction of migrants.

Pictures by [top right]: Julia Manzerova; [first line, from left to right]: Pilar Castro, Lefthandrotation, Espen Faugstad (x2), Renato Morbach, Rajiv Ashrafi; [second line]: extracts from 'Earth's continents', illustration by Francisco Trebuxet


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students and how to handle challenging behaviour in the classroom. Nyandoro also discovered that IT skills were at the heart of the British education system and he started having IT skills lessons, learning how to use PowerPoint, MS Word and Excel. Nyandoro accepted the challenge to make his maths lessons interactive and interesting. More relaxed, he introduced a variety of learning styles and realized that his fellow teachers were more than willing to support situation unbearable. The plight got worse as him to settle into his role as a foreign he was approached by two strangers, hired Pictures by Andrew West, Charles by a student resentful for having received Pieters & AV Hire London low marks in a revision paper. Despite reporting the incident to the headmaster, Ka z i e d i who communicated with the parents and t h e s tudens covered th disciplined the student, Nyandoro felt in his ho ts he tau at shaken by the episode In class, his anger and frustration w ere miles me countrght increased and he saw himself being y a a

Confrontation and resilience mark life of foreign teachers. The story of Zimbabwean Kazie Nyandoro and others to be made part of short documentary

by Elliot Pfebve

It was the dream of greener pastures that motivated Kazie Nyandoro, a Zimbabwean Maths qualified school teacher, to leave his country and come to the United Kingdom. He is not alone. According to the latest Census, the Zimbabwean population reached 127,000 people in 2011, in contrast to almost 50,000 in 2001.

TheThe teacher teacher

pproach part in t and distco learninghe iplin e

and andthethetwotwocultures cultures

reprimanded by the headmaster. Nyandoro teacher. All the efforts were paid off as couldn’t understand why he was not allowed Nyandoro produced the best GCSE Maths to shout at students for misbehaving. At results of Achiever Academy: even students first, it appeared to him that all he had who were initially struggling with Maths learned at the University was no longer managed to pass with a minimum B, the best valid. In his country, teachers were even result since records began at the School. ed ept acc He qu ickly allowed to smack students as a method of Nyandoro’s commitment was presented punishment, yet he couldn’t even shout at a with a trophy award for the best improved that he too needed student in the UK. He felt something had to results at the school and it was no surprise to change his change. when the headmaster offered him a Nyandoro soon realized that he needed to permanent position. teaching style alter his teaching style. His dry approach to Looking at his journey, Nyandoro is grateful teaching with no visual aids and no use of for the support received from friends, technology was based on his experience in relatives and professional colleagues in his home country, where computers were making his achievement possible and Nyandoro’s first job came through an non-existent. To start with, he researched promises to help other immigrants who agency, replacing a teacher on maternity the British education system, the rights of wants to join the teaching profession. leave at Achiever Academy. It didn’t take him long to realise how different is the approach to education between Britain and Zimbabwe. This story is based on the life of immigrant teachers in UK. If you would Already in the first week of work, students like to help sponsoring a short film based on this theme, please contact misbehaved and taunted him, making the Elliot Pfebve (epfebve@yahoo.co.uk) for more information.


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The New Londoners

You Are Home by Paula Freitas

Pictures by Elisa Fusi

You Are Home creates network of sustainable pra

biologist Elisa Fusi explains how activities in Lon It’s six o’clock in the morning and Elisa Fusi is ready to start our Skype interview. After some technical difficulties caused by the Internet connection in Mexico the Italian molecular biologist explains the origins and aims of the ‘You Are Home - Itinerant Ecovillage’. What is ‘You Are Home’? We are a network of people sharing ideas and principles of sustainability. We are an itinerant educational centre with no roots, travelling to small villages and to big cities to teach new ways to live in a more sustainable way, a more resilient way.

Why the name “You Are Home”? Love, respect and care are the basis of a home. That’s why people say “I feel at home” when they feel comfortable. We are living in a world which every day is becoming more stressful, making us blind, stuck and numb. By reconnecting with nature and bringing back such concepts [of love, respect and care], living in a more sustainable way, we feel balanced, independent, empowered. Where did the idea of the project come from? Ten years ago, I was working as project manager for some NGOs in Africa.

Westerners established eco-villages there. It was beautiful work, but I saw more potential. We don’t have to disrupt, to invade their lives, living there permanently. The aim is to educate without settling. Why not empower small villages around the world, share our knowledge with them, and help them live in a more sustainable way, respecting nature more? That’s where the idea started. Who is involved in the project? The majority of the people are based in London. Actually, we are all foreigners. We have people from Italy, Brazil, Portugal and Mexico.


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time and knowledge. The village donates accommodation and meals in exchange for knowledge that will benefit the village even when the volunteer leaves. In Panama, for example, we created a garden of medical plants and a document showing all the plants that can be found in the surroundings of the village. They’ve sent me some emails with pictures showing how the garden is coming on. ‘You Are Home’ also works as a filter, checking and making sure villages and organisations do exactly what they say they will. Where has this network been working? We have worked in villages in Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Colombia and Mexico. What is planned for London? The plan is to have weekly courses on several themes, including Permaculture, Bike Maintenance and Herbal Medicine. For instance, in February and March, we are running a course in Shamanic Practice – the Mayan Chocolate Ceremony. The students will be able to drink pure cocoa harvested by an ancient tribe of the rainforest of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. They will also participate at a Cocoa Ceremony under the guidance of a certified Mayan Medicine Practitioner. We are also planning Swap Parties, where people can exchange books, clothes, music, knowledge, etc.

We don’t have to disrupt, to invade their lives, living there permanently. The aim is to educate without settling

actices around the world. Italian ndon are essential for the project How does the charity raise funds? Our idea is to rely as little as possible on fundraising. We don’t have an office, for example, and I think this is a good thing. We don’t want to use lots of our time trying to think of ways to make money, to make things work. The main aim is to work as a network, connecting the people who are willing to learn with those willing to teach and to those wanting to help. But how is it possible to have a charity without fundraising? In London we have lots of people concerned with sustainability, willing to

learn and willing to volunteer. The idea is to work in two main ways: offering weekly courses of a variety of themes, such as herbal medicine, permaculture, eco-design, solar energy, among others. These courses charge a fee. This money will be used for programmes in small villages. Another way is through international volunteers. Those interested in receiving training pay a fee of £20. If they want we also put them in contact with organisations or villages that need help from volunteers. The person pays for the flight to get to the village, the village provides accommodation and 3 meals a day. The volunteer donates

How people can know more about the courses and dates? People can visit our website www.youarehomeweb.com, our Facebook page (You Are Home Itinerant Ecovillage), our MeetUp page (http://www.meetup.com/You-AreHome-London-Network-ItinerantEcovillage/) or send me an email on youarehome@rocketmail.com


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Pictures by Pablo Monteagudo, Kevin Harber, Sarah Joy & Jerry 'Woody'

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Jean by Tania Farias

We met councillor Kaseki at the Islington council Town Hall. Passionate and very expressive, he talked to us about the Congo, being a political refugee, his motivations to become a human rights activist and his new path as a politician in the UK.

Knowing Jean Kaseki In his late forties, Jean Roger Kaseki has a PhD in Political Science and Human Rights and is an associate at the Institute for Human Rights and Social Justice of the London Metropolitan University. He speaks seven languages, including French, English and Lingala. “I was born in the Congo, where, as elsewhere in Africa, womens’ rights were neglected. In the villages people tend to send boys to school and neglect the girls. I was one of the first to denounce this injustice – if you want a country such as the Congo to progress, you need to empower women and girls as well.”

History of the Congo The Democratic Republic of Congo is the second large country in Africa, with a population of over 71 million people. “This a country that has suffered quite a lot since Europeans went to Africa, since colonisation in 1885 by King Leopold, which I consider to be a brutal colonisation, with massive human rights violations. We are talking about a country the size of Western Europe, belonging to one person. He named the country the Free Congo State. The indigenous population resisted, and from 1885 until 1908 he managed to commit the first African genocide, and 20 million indigenous Congolese were killed. Unfortunately, this 20th century crime against humanity was


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a chat with

Roger Kaseki largely ignored by the media”. It was the British ambassador, Roger Casement, who first reported on the situation in the Congo. Aware of the violations committed in this country, the international community put pressure on the Belgium Parliament to take the state over from the King in 1908. His campaign Congo declared its independence in 1960. Several years later, Mobotu Sese Seko’s leadership was supported by the United States, and he became the president of this young nation. Mobotu’s government soon became a dictatorship. “Although, [the DRC], it was a very rich country with minerals, the situation went from bad to worse without the support of the international community. There were security forces everywhere; there were many kidnappings, killings and arbitrary arrests – but no one could speak up. Why is this happening to the Congo? Why is this happening to my family? I was not different. My family was living through this too, so I needed to start making a difference, what could I do? I started campaigning when I was at the University. I could have been in trouble for this, but I never stopped denouncing what the government was doing: arresting young people, imprisoning students, arresting anybody who was protesting. I became more and more committed – I held demonstrations, and published articles and books.” Fleeing DRC After several years campaigning against the dictatorship in the Congo, Jean Kaseki’s life was in danger, and he sought asylum in the UK “When you are publicly against a dictatorship government you are a target. I wouldn’t talk about my personal experience as a refugee, but I let you guess what happen in a situation in which you are a target

because you are defending human rights. I came to the UK during the 90’s - being a refugee was very difficult, but when I fled the DRC I was recognised for what I was doing for my country. The government here knew about me and my fight for democracy” His path as a politician Once in the UK, Jean Kaseki continued to campaign for human rights, and began his career as a politician by joining the Labour Party. “When you came from a country where politics is very difficult, you will find that the political space in

I’m glad to be a Londoner. I am glad I have achieved what I have achieved – I am now a British citizen, and I am proud of the spirit of London, and the willingness of my fellow British citizens, who help me work very hard the UK is open to anybody. You will find yourself quite comfortable, and I felt comfortable. This is what I dreamed for when I was in the Congo. My fight in the Congo was to achieve such a society, where democracy, freedom of expression, good government, rule of law, progress, and economic development are valued.”

Jean Roger Kaseki was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where he was a human rights activist campaigning for fundamental human rights, democracy, freedom of expression and womens’ rights. Now settled in London, he has become the city’s first councillor of Congolese origin. Since 2010, he has been one of the three councillors for the Tollington Ward in the London Borough of Islington. At the same time, he continues to be deeply engaged with the fight for change in his country of origin. C o n ti n u e d o n p a g e 1 4 > >


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The New Londoners

an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib

This a country that has suffered quite a lot since [...] colonisation in 1885 by King Leopold, which I consider to be a brutal colonisation, with massive human rights violations. We are talking about a country the size of Western Europe, belonging to one person Becoming Islington Council << Continued from page 1 3 “It’s a journey. Sometimes is tough, but everything is possible when you believe in it. It does not matter who you are, when you come from, if you work hard, you will still achieve. I would encourage people. Is it tough? Yes, but, you need to work hard to be where I am”. Jean Kaseki and his two other councillor colleagues from the Tollington Ward have established a fairness commission, in the order of narrowing the gap between rich and poor. Thanks to this commission people from deprived backgrounds, such as ethnic minorities, have a better access to local services, including education, employment, health, and housing. “Narrowing the gap in education is a key priority. We need children from poor backgrounds to have the chance to achieve the same results as a child from an affluent background.”

Immigrants’ contributions to the UK “Migrants have brought a lot to this country, especially those migrants from Commonwealth countries - they were the first to arrive, because of the English connection. All of us have contributed significantly to the UK and its economy – as nurses, doctors, civil servants and teachers. They seized many opportunities like I did – by going to college, going to university, looking for jobs, working, paying taxes. This is how people can contribute to this country.” His own contribution “I’m glad to be a Londoner. I am glad I have achieved what I have achieved – I am now a British citizen, and I am proud of the spirit of London, and the willingness of my fellow British citizens, who help me work very hard.”


The New Londoners Myth: Being born in the UK is the key element for being considered British. Fact: The place of birth is considered the most important factor only by 26% of UK citizens. Respect for the freedom of speech of others (50%), for the law (46%), the ability to speak. English (41%), and treating men and women equally (38%) are seen as the top four essential foundations of participation in the UK society. http://www.britishfuture.org/publication/state-of-thenation-2013/ Myth: Migrants take advantage of the public services in the UK especially the NHS. Fact: Information published on the official Citizens Advice Bureau website states that most treatments in the UK are already free under the NHS for all European Union countries. In addition if a person or people have come to the UK to work, either as an employee or self-employed person they are also entitled to free treatment under the NHS. Also some countries outside of the European Economic area have a signed health care agreement with the UK which allows their nationals or residents to receive free health care in the UK, depending on the details of the agreement. http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/healthcare_e/healt hcare_help_with_health_costs_e/nhs_charges_for_people_fr om_abroad.htm#NHSchargesandpeoplefromabroad

myt h fact

Myth: The more the percentage of immigrants, the greater the concerns about immigration. Fact: Immigration was a top source of local tension for 19% of people in the north-east and 20% in Wales – where the 2011 census shows one in twenty people were born abroad – and for 20% of Londoners, where immigrants make up more than one in three of the population. http://www.britishfuture.org/publication/state-of-thenation-2013/ Myth: Migrants send more money back home to their families than the total aid budget. Fact: Migrants in the UK usually have family back home in another country that they help to support either wholly or partially. However due to banking crisis’s and debt, remittance has fallen. Money being sent back to families outside of the UK is no longer rising because the migrants are having to cut down on their expenses here to send something to their families because there just isn’t enough money to go around. Also because money transfer companies are charging extortionate fees to send money around the world, migrants sometimes cannot afford it. http://www.december18.net/article/migrants-strugglemaintain-cashflow-home Myth: Media influence the way citizens perceive immigration issues. Fact: Readers of tabloid (30%) and mid-market (28.5%) newspapers were more likely to cite immigration as their top source of local and national tensions than broadsheet readers (17.5%). http://www.britishfuture.org/publication/state-of-thenation-2013/ Nicola Chelotti & Jerdenne Wilson

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Through my young eyes:

My London Bromley

Robyn ChamberlenDunne shares with The New Londoners her experiences, showing how much a positive and active younger generation can change the environment where they live As a child, my neighbours and I made the area we lived in the best that we could and now that our generation has passed, we are battling with the younger generation to get out there and explore the simple grounds of where we live. The Young Voices photography course I did with JustB and MRC, at my youth club, opened my eyes about the community as a whole, not just the place where I live but the roads I walk on every day on my way home. I realised some places are hidden yet so important and, if we try to make a difference in the area we live in, it will open the eyes of all occupants, whether tenant or homeowners, and we will take pride in how we treat our homes and our neighbourhood. I knew then that I wanted to create change so the ‘council flat’ stereotype of people not caring for their surroundings, wouldn’t come true. I got in touch with Groundwork London, an environmental charity that promotes economic and social generation by improving the local environment. They funded and helped me and the occupants of the area with ideas and requests. We talked to the council and put our ideas forward. We worked to improve our play and green areas. People living in my neighbourhood are diverse in age, culture and occupation. Working together has created a tighter relationship and a learning curve for us all. Although the council may not always care for the area, the community spirit and family we created got through to them. The dream is that the next generation will live in a community that feels like one and cater for the needs of all its inhabitants. Council tenants may not be able to afford the family weekends out so where is the harm in making the patches of useless green spaces more attractive to young people? I think a garden can bring the community together having found respect for the place we live in and share.

Pictures by Young Voices Project


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The New Londoners

A Brit Abroad in Kenya

by Charlotte Mathysse My name is Farah, I’m 27 years old and I’m originally from Manchester. This is my first time in Kenya, and I’ve been here for about 9 months now and been away from home for over a year. Whilst here I have set up a children’s home in Kenya’s Rift Valley called ‘Our Home Nakuru’. Why did you decide to leave the UK and move to Kenya? For me, life in the UK is often superficial and revolves around materialism. Everyone’s in a rat-race, it’s very competitive and that’s one thing I didn’t want. Also even though I was part of Amnesty International and the British Youth Council, I didn’t feel like I was making a huge difference or impact. I wanted to leave the UK and go somewhere where I could actually see my efforts happening. What were your first impressions of Kenyan life? My very first impression of Kenya was complete speechlessness. I experienced a huge culture shock. Everywhere you go in Kenya, people shout after you: ‘mzungu’ [white person] - you’re a foreigner and it made me feel like an alien. How have you tried to integrate into Kenya? For me personally, I’m Asian British and the Indian/Asian community in Kenya is so tight-knit and their approach to life is very different to what we’re used to. When I arrived, I hardly knew anyone, but they knew me; they knew background and what I was doing in Kenya. At the same time, once I got to know them, I felt protected and I’ve found it very helpful to be part of this community. What are the benefits and drawbacks of having the Asian community here in Kenya?

Despite the ups and downs, there’s something about Kenya that will make you come back. There’s an incredible draw to this place


The New Londoners

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Do you call yourself a migrant or an expat here in Kenya? I am officially a migrant here and that’s often how Kenyans will make me feel. Kenya does not feel like my home. Wherever I go, I don’t feel like I belong there. So I guess that might make me a migrant. However, I would personally see myself as a humanitarian wanting to do my work; I don’t care how people label me. So how do you try to make yourself feel at home here? It’s never going to be the same, because Manchester will always be home. However

here at the moment, especially because it’s Christmas time – there’s a big expat presence. We’re always here for each other, and we’re all on the same boat. It’s a comfort zone. But it hits you every now and then again, if anything happened, my family is not here to help me out. How do you compare being a minority in the UK, with being a minority here in Kenya? Back home, I have never felt as if I’m a minority. English people are very used to diversity; it’s part of our history. I feel very much part of British society. I’ve never felt like a minority, until I arrived in Kenya.

Living here I’ve felt exposed; I’m like an alien to lots of people. What are the differences between opportunities Western migrants are given in Kenya and how migrants in the UK are treated? It’s ridiculous. Back home, I worked with a law firm in Huddersfield that worked with refugees and asylum seekers, and so I witnessed their treatment. They live in the worst conditions you imagine, there are not the same job opportunities and immigration is always on your case. Then you have the indigenous population who are against you – saying the immigrants are taking jobs. But

I only realised this fully when I was abroad. When you’re home you don’t feel the pain they go through. It’s so frustrating; why In Kenya do ‘migrants’ get the ‘upper hand’? It seems ridiculous to call both groups migrants, when I can use my foreign status to get better opportunities here, whilst in the UK being foreign works against you. It’s not fair. How have you changed since living abroad? I now ask myself is this thing, a want or a need. Back home I would treat myself to fancy clothes and perfumes. In Kenya, you look around and you think that instead of

spending 2000 shillings on a new thing, you should save that money for someone that really needs it. What are your plans for the future? I’ll be here for at least another year. I am going to start teaching human rights in Mount Kenya University. Any last words to say on life in Kenya? Only that you will always come back. Despite the ups and downs, there’s something about Kenya that will make you come back. There’s an incredible draw to this place.

Picture by Farah Mushtaq

Obviously there are lots of benefits. For instance, they trust me, because I’m Asian. It’s benefitted our charity a lot; I’ve received a lot of support. If I approach people, they’ll see their sister or daughter in me, because I’m Asian. However, I am a liberal, independent person, and one of the huge challenges with living in Kenya are the social restrictions I experience. Whatever you do, or wherever you go, people will know. If you are spending a night out with your friends, then the next morning it’ll be everywhere. People make your business, their business. I feel like people are invading my privacy and space, which I’ve never felt back home.


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The New Londoners

Reflections Remember, remember the immigrant pauper by Cina Aissa

St Martin's service of commemoration pays homage to homeless who have died in 2012

Pictures by Kate B. Harding & Alles-schlumpf

This year I’ve decided to confront head-on my own ghosts of homelessness, those that still haunt me, my years of exodus. Born an immigrant, born homeless and on the move. How can a building be so cold even though it’s full of people? Names are recited. Lots of them: men’s, women’s, British and foreign names. Strange-sounding names, yet familiar, resonating like missing friends in a morning’s register. The congregation is invited to pick up a name card and a candle. In the pilgrimage to the altar, where it hangs a multicoloured banner with this year’s theme ‘Entertaining Angels Unaware’, I am drowned in a sea

of hands extended towards name cards and candles. My anxiety draws questions that nobody wants to hear: “will I get a card? Which name will I get it? What if I don’t like the name I get it?” There is no shortage of dead paupers’ names. Mine reads ‘Emile Marciny’. Minutes later, a lit candle is passed to one another, lighting individual candles, each time accompanied by the muttered words ‘the light belongs to everyone’. I leave the service warmed by the tears I have shed and the love I felt in the church. My grief is a little less heavy as I honoured this year’s cohort, brothers and sisters who have gone ahead of me.

Once at home, I look at the name on the card and cannot resist the urge to Google it. The headline reads ‘Vagrant's body identified with fingerprints after suicide’. I learn that he killed himself by jumping in front of a train at Wimbledon station in mid-2011 but he had his death explained by the Westminster Coroner’s Court in 2012. The article states that Mumbai-born Marciny had “moved to England when he was an adult to work (…) but he outstayed his visa and was sleeping rough, while suffering from depression.” Cresswell Lawrence, Marciny’s friend and solicitor, explained that “Emile had waited for a quick response from the Home

Office after applying for leave to remain on a number of compassionate grounds. Emile then sank into a spiral of despair and decided that he could not wait any longer.” I grab a jumper and slip on some thick socks. How can a building be so cold when it contains so many people?

In memoriam: Emile Marciny Born 26.02.1968 Died 18.07.2011


The New Londoners

The voice

supporter or sympathiser of the Oromo liberation struggle. To the Ethiopian government, every Oromo appears to be member of the Oromo Liberation Front. Failure of proof of non affiliation with the OLF or any attempt to remain politically indifferent has come to be dangerous in Ethiopia for every ordinary Oromo. These people face discrimination in getting public jobs, access to social services all of which are controlled by the government (even including residence ID), this includes students and rural people. Businesses are effected if they fail to be members of the ruling party. Emergency food and other aid is only allowed to be distributed to

The EPRDF government has made Ethiopia the most terrible home to live in for the Oromo nation supporters of EPRDF, restricting the work of charities. In so doing, technically, the authorities decide who should die from and who should survive hunger. Land grabbing is another abuse that vexed the Oromo in UK. Millions of hectares of land have been re-distributed. This is the tragic history behind the proliferating large scale commercial estate farms, sugar factories, hydroelectric dams, cement factories, large-scale real estate industries and flower farms. The flower farms discharge chemical waste directly

into the lakes. I have personally witnessed the situation in one of the villages next to a flower farm. Cattle, fish and birds have died. A large number of people working in the flower farms have skin diseases and die. Despite all this no government authority questioned or attempted to investigate. The economic growth fantasised by the Ethiopian government is being made on the necropolis of millions of Oromo people evicted from their land without any reasonable compensation. The income from these schemes have simply kept the investors and the authorities richer. The economic and wealth ownership in Oromia reminds me of the Pareto's Principle as more than 90% of Oromia’s wealth is processed by less than 10% of the nation’s population. The demonstration and demands of the Oromo people in the UK did not, I am not sure, get news coverage by international media like the BBC. If this demonstration had taken place in Ethiopia, it would have attracted the attention of the international media giants. This is not because it would have been attended by millions of people, but because it would have resulted in mass killings, arrests and assault by government security forces. Even thinking or discussing such a demonstration in Ethiopia is a nightmare, resulting in horrendous consequences. The Oromo people had been protesting in various forms including peaceful protests and political struggle. The Ethiopian government security forces reacted brutally. Hundreds of students who made non violent demonstration against the injustices have been killed, tens of thousands of people arrested, children harassed, women assaulted and raped. Others, like me, have fled the country to live in exile. Backed by financial support of billions dollars from the western world, the lion’s share of which is contributed by the government of UK annually, the Ethiopian government and its security forces have become stronger to suppress such public movements. Despite all this leaders of the western countries kept praising the Ethiopian for “achieving remarkable economic growth and progresses in democratisation” simply echoing the Ethiopian government authorities. Where is the solidarity for human dignity, human rights, freedom and democratic values?? What shame!... What shame!!

of the Oromo A personal view by Denebo Dekeba

Pictures by Denebo Dekeba

In this snowy cold weather in London, a large number of Oromo people gathered in London at King Charles Street near the UK Houses of Parliament in January 2013. They all shouted loudly “Shame on you UK tax payers; you’re paying killers in Ethiopia; Shame on you UK government; you’re supporting the tyrant of Ethiopia!”. United by a generation long craving for freedom, justice and fundamental human rights, the demonstrators also demanded for the release of political prisoners, stoppage of land grabbing and harassment of the Oromo people. Being one of them, I started to ponder deeply about what I thought of the inhuman actions of the Ethiopian government that has, mysteriously, remained uncovered by the international community that only sees the tip of the iceberg. The EPRDF government has made Ethiopia the most terrible home to live in for the Oromo nation. More than twenty thousand Oromo people have been arrested and thousands assaulted every day by government security forces, accounting for more than 90% of political prisoners in Ethiopia last year. Hundreds of Oromo university students were arrested and torched in January 2013 only because they demanded basic human dignity. Many students who made non violent demonstration against the injustices have been killed, children harassed, women assaulted and raped. Others fled the country to live in exile. People are just arrested and accosted for being a member,

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The New Londoners

A Slower Pace of Life

the

House of

We immigrants always remember our first job in a new country. Usually we do a job which is far removed from what we had been doing in our home country, or one that does not match our qualifications or personal expectations. I found this aspect of my move socially degrading. I knew that leaving my own country would encourage me to experience different things, but I didn’t expect that it would prove such a huge challenge for me. It was a cloudy day on the 4th November 2006, when I left Poland and came to the United Kingdom to start my new life. I had already secured a job, working as a care assistant in a nursing home somewhere in North East of England, near Darlington in Soulfield Hall. Every mile I travelled took me further and further away from my previous life in Poland. My new life was set to take me in an unknown direction somewhere in provincial England. Jobs in nursing homes are popular occupations for immigrants in the United Kingdom. In some nursing homes migrants account for over 90% of the overall staff. Another characteristic of work in a nursing home was that the pace of life was gentle, very calm, sometimes too calm and almost eerie.

The Legend of Soulfield Hall

Souls b/w pictures by traur2

Soulfield Hall was a Victorian style nineteenth century building. During World War I and for many years afterwards, Soulfield Hall acted as a hospital for war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Legend has it that in the autumn of 1916, during World War I, a young English veteran called Stephen Scollard had been admitted to Soulfield Hall. Shrapnel from a German bomb had exploded in a trench nearby where he was stationed during the Battle of Verdun. The explosion killed all those immediately surrounding Stephen, and although he somehow survived, he was left severely wounded. Stephen spent many weeks in hospital and

by Piotr Surmaczynski was then sent to Soulfield Hall for recuperation. As a result of his injuries Stephen had both his legs amputated, and his left hand was left paralysed. His mental well being was also greatly affected. Stephen felt he had little hope of making a full recovery and was traumatised by flashbacks of the explosion and seeing his dying comrades lain all around. As the macabre memories intensified, the young veteran turned to thoughts of suicide. One night Stephen managed to cut the vein in his paralysed left hand, leaving a stream of blood covering the wall by his bed. The poor young man passed away in relative peace just hours later. The next morning the nurses found Stephen’s body in a pool of blood. His bloodstain on the wall had formed a letter ‘V’, and his dead body was said to have looked peaceful. Stephen had won his last battle at last. Stephen’s memory lives on in Soulfield Hall, as legend has it, the bloodstain on the wall where the young soldier passed away could never be removed, and even through many layers of paint the stain was still visible. Stephen’s bedroom was converted into a linen closet. Now the wall with the bloodstain is obscured by a large wardrobe. When I opened the linen closet one day, I smelt the smell of blood but never saw the actual bloodstain despite my curiosity, the wardrobe was too heavy for me.


The New Londoners

Now Founder and CEO of Barb Wire Enterprises having tossed in a lucratively waged position to live on £64 pounds per week, Barbara Campbell, shares why she went from an outdoor office to home alone I own Barb Wire Enterprise Limited, a south west London based publishing house that incorporates contract publishing and consultancy along with in-house productions of two themed magazines, namely: Black Heritage Today for Black History Month and The Official Guide to International Women’s month. As these publications are annuals my company also runs an online listings magazine (Live Listings) that began life in 2000. In the same year on the spur of the moment, on my birthday, I walked out of a well-paid job. The reason being I missed writing to inform and educate my community. On top of that I wanted to spend more time with my two children. I was a single mum who had returned to ‘adult education’ to give my kids a better life. I regularly left home really early and returned home very late, many times having to phone the local takeaway to feed my children, and the fact that the live in nanny was being mother to them broke my heart. I thought to myself this is not what I signed up for. This is not comfortable. I’d always known I’d have to do my own thing if I was going to combine family life with a new profession so I went to the bank with a business proposal. After cashing in my life insurance policy and with added financial help from my brother I stared my company with just £4,000 to kit out a desk-top design publishing company and gave birth to my third baby: Live Listings Magazine. Uncertainty of the economy was the price I paid to work from home. Sometimes I was unsure of how I will pay who I needed to and also pay myself. I did cut back on luxuries, but it was worth it for the kids’ sake.

A Day in the Life Barbara Campbell

by Sabrina PrescottNelson

On the spur of the moment, on my birthday, I walked out of a wellpaid job. The reason being I missed writing to inform and educate my community Empowering, inspiring people and helping them to grow is important to me. I believe I was put on this planet to be a writer, author and inspiration. My motivation is that I love to help people discover new things about themselves. On a weekly basis I tutor a few young ladies (for free) and nurture their desire to become a journalist. As I know how hard it is and what is required for that field. Mentoring them is one of my ways of ‘giving back’ to the community. Another way is my creation of three very different outlets – Black Heritage Today aimed to educate and support the black community, The Official Guide to International Women’s month aimed to empower women and Live Listings aimed to keep my local community informed on current events. My days are very busy, but I always make time for rest. I don’t see the point of working yourself to death and then enjoying life, because you’ll be dead. The most rewarding part of working from home is being able to have dinner ready for my children when they come home. I do not have to compromise my role within my household; I get on with what I need to but can still be an award-winning journalist, business woman, mum and grandma. I have no regrets.

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www.barbwire-enterprises.co.uk


The New Londoners

Picture by Marte Bluth

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My Pales

An estimated 30,000 Palestinian refugees and migrants live in the United Kingdom alone

Picture by Viktor Jackson

Picture by GVerga

Picture by Abdel Nasir


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stinian London The New Londoners

by Helena Argyle

At the end of September crowds of Muslims congregate in the beautiful and historical surroundings of Trafalgar Square to celebrate Eid ul Fitur, or the breaking of the fast after Ramadan. Many of those that congregate around Nelsons Column will be those from the Palestinian community in London. An estimated 30,000 Palestinian refugees and migrants live in the United Kingdom alone, part of the Palestinian diaspora that makes up almost half of the Palestinian population. The migration of Palestinians alike many other communities in and around London brings up the political and humanitarian plights of their homeland. The treatment of Palestinians and their human rights are heavily disputed by many activists from all over the world and even in London; creating a melting pot of political discourse and artistic interpretation. The first influx of Palestinian refugees to England and worldwide was in 1948 when

following Nakbar Day, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled their homes or were displaced. During the June 1967 war a further 325,000 Palestinians where forced to flee. Today over 6 million Palestinians live as refugees. London is a cultural and artistic hotspot and all communities and groups of people will find much to their advantage in the city when wishing to artistically express themselves. The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) held the first London Palestine Film Festival in 1998 and it has been going strong ever since. The festival works with Palestinian film directors to engage UK audiences with the issues surrounding Palestine and last year opened to a sold out premiere of the film Man Without A Cell Phone by Sameh Zoabi. London also houses The Palestine Gallery, 21-27 Chalton

D ra win g by A lH urriya

Pi ctu re by Fli ckre

Street, NW1. From the artistic to the political there are many online and physical forums for humanitarian discussion, including the London Palestinian Rights Meetup Group and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. There regular discussions and protests in London in aid of the Palestinian plight. On Thursday

nric

15th November hundreds of protestors gathered outside the Israeli embassy in High Street Kensington just a few hundred yards away from a few hundred pro Israeli protestors at the height of recent clashes on the Gaza Strip. The protest, far from being a quiet affair was peaceful and an arena where political debate could be safe from violence.


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The New Londoners

Palestinian Culture Tradition by Jerdenne Wilson

The former territory of Palestine is situated in western Asia and is the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. The main things that make up their culture are food, music, language, costumes and the people themselves. The people consist of mostly Arabic speaking Muslims. However you will also find other religions such as Judaism and Sunnis. There are also people who speak American English and the ancient biblical language of Aramaic. The Palestinians cook with a lot of herbs and spices and a popular dish to eat is Falafel which is made from primarily chick peas. It is usually made into burgers or little balls which can be eaten with salad and bread. Other popular foods to eat are humus and bread. Embroidery is one of the most important craft for women in Palestine. Many weave their own costumes and the details on a garment can often depict status and identity amongst the different communities. Women wear veils with dresses with a Qabbeh which is a special embroidered chest panel whilst men wear turbans with Abayas which are long cloaks. The most important occasions for music in the Palestine are weddings and other gatherings. Their music often involves Dabke which literally translates as foot-tapping and Qawwali which are devotional songs linked to religious observances. Their music has become very popular in the UK that it can be accessed on sites such as MySpace.

The palestinian singer and cartoonist Amal Kaawash. Pictures by Farfahinne

Mahshi Warak Enab (Stuffed Wine Leaves)

Sources: http://www.raqs.co.nz/me/clothing_palestine.html http://www.mapsofworld.com/palestine/societyandculture/ http://www.salaam.co.uk/themeofthemonth/may02_index.php?l=12

Ingredients

• 1 lb. fresh tender vine leaves • 2 cups ground or chopped meat, preferably lamb • Several meat bones or cubes of meat • 1 1/2 cups rice • 1/2 cup lemon juice • 1 1/2 tsp. salt • 1/2 tsp. pepper • 2 cups cold water • 2 medium sized tomatoes, sliced • 1 medium sized tomato, chopped (optional) • 2 medium onions sliced

Mahshi Warak Enab Preparation

Picture by George Hatcher

• Soften and blanch vine leaves by dipping a few at a time in boiling, salted water. Set aside. Wash rice and put cup of warm water for 15min , take of the water and mix with ground meat , salt, pepper and oil. Stuff one leaf at a time. Place a teaspoon of stuffing in the center of each. Fold the bottom of the leaf up over the stuffing, then fold from each side to the middle. Roll tightly to form a cylinder about three inches long and somewhat thicker than a cigar (see the picture) • Arrange mahshi over layer of bones and sliced tomatoes and onion. When all has been added, press down firmly with palm of the hand. Add water to cover, salt, and cook about an hour, or until leaves are tender and the stuffing is well cooked. Sprinkle with lemon juice, minced garlic and dried mint. Simmer few more minutes.


The New Londoners

Maramia

Review by Tania Farias Trying new flavours is always an exciting experience and when somebody asked me if I have ever eaten Palestinian food, I realized I have never tried it. So, I went to the internet to look for a Palestinian restaurant and found Maramia Café - It seems to be one of the first restaurants in London offering this kind of cuisine.

Located at the end of the Portobello Market in Nothing Hill, Maramia café is a cosy place, with a beautiful terrace for the sunny days. As we went there for dinner, we went straight inside. The owner received us with a cordial welcome and offered us to seat close to the window. The place was nicely decorated with pictures from Jerusalem, gorgeous Palestinian women and comfy red cushions on the Arabian sofa style. Don’t forget the music from Palestine to recreate even more the ambiance. For the starter, I went for the Foul Medames, a dish prepared with mashed broad beans, green chili, garlic, and tahini and lemon juice. My husband chose the Arayes, grill pita bread filled with lamb, nuts, and cinnamon. We both asked for maramia tea (a tea with sage herbs from Palestine). As we waited for our saucers we could feel the condiments filling the room, and we sipped the maramia tea, with its reddishbrown colour, very intense smell and quite bitter flavour. I was curious about our starters. The foul Medames had a strong taste, the chili and the lemon dominated the dish. Its acid taste reminds

me some Lebanese dishes I have tried before. On the other hand, the Arayes had a soft taste contrasting completely with the one of the Foul Medames. As main course, we had Chicken Musakhan, one of the specialties of the house prepared with grilled chicken, onions, pine nuts and sumac all of these ingredients wrapped in a handmade bread accompanied with a fresh salad; and a Lamb Lahnem, prepared with grill lamb in a handmade bread and salad by the side. To finish, the owner of the restaurant offered us a delicious dessert. A slice of hot and soft Hilba – a Palestinian cake with fenugreek, anise and honey; and a slice of Basbouse, cook with semolina and coconut. It was an excellent way to finish our diner. Despite many of the flavours were not totally new for us, since the narrow link the Palestinian cuisine have with some of the countries nearby, we enjoyed our saucers; they were well cook, spicy and generous. Furthermore, I discovered the taste of a new spice: the sumac. This was present in any dish we ordered. With a slight lemon taste and a hint of lavender, this spiey seasoned the dishes. With a friendly service, sometimes a little bit long, good prices – we paid less than £40 for both – and a nice location, Maramia Café is an excellent place to have a meal. A bit of Palestine in the middle of London.

48 Golborne Road - London W10 5PR Transport Westbourne Park / Ladbroke Grove - tube Telephone 020 3181 0030 Opening time from 8:00 am to midnight Main courses £9.95-£12.95 www.maramia.com

Picture by Antonio Montuno

Pictures by Pablo Monteagudo

Restaurant review

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The New Londoners

Is There

Anywhere

More

F ilm m a ke r

The P21 Gallery is a Londonbased non-profit organisation promoting contemporary Middle Eastern and Arab art and culture with distinct focus on Palestine

Ka m a l Alja fa

Artists: Mohammad Al-Hawajri, Kamal Aljafari, Tayseer Barakat, Mike Hoolboom, Khaled Hourani, Khaled Jarrar, Josh Jones, kennardphillipps, Inzajeano Latif, Manal Mahamid, Laila Shawa, Nasser Soumi, Tarzan and Arab

ri . P ictu re b y Log an S a va g e

by Kaitlyn Kennedy

“Is there anywhere more beautiful than Palestine?” the woman on the screen asked the interviewer this question as her eyes filled up with tears. I was immediately struck by her emotional connection to this geographical location, I knew nothing about. I watched as her eyes widened and fill with vitality as she described the colour of the oranges and the size of the bananas; the simple things in life we take for granted or overlook until they are gone. Until they are taken. She was asked, “Would you go back to Palestine if Palestine was free?” To which she responded, “Could any Palestinian not go back to Palestine?” I removed myself from the context of the video, the context of her situation, the context of the gallery I was standing in and I asked myself, “What would I do if I was forced to leave my home?” It is a painful thought. It is a painful reality for some Palestinians. I carried that question with me as I entered the next room. Grey and bleak with two beautiful paintings by Mohamed Al- Hawajri, with Mike Hoolboom’s film Lacan Palestine playing in the background. I was introduced to maps demonstrating foreign control in the Middle East. Clips of British politicians urging for the creation of a strong Jewish state. I absorbed the propaganda of the past: Jews would better benefit the West than the Arabs. As I sat in the red bean bag chair close to the screen I divulged into the historic tensions of the land. Images of battle and war intermixed with scenes of everyday life: love, laughter, children. Children with toy guns, playfully aiming and shooting with perfect technique. Children that are surrounded by violence, despair and destruction. On the stairway down to the lower gallery, the wall is draped with keenardphillips work, Palestine (2008). Towards the bottom of the stairs the Palestinian flag pops out of the large monochrome canvas. The tri-color

Exhibition dates: 19th December 2012 - 16th March 2013 http://www.p21.org.uk

flag that is symbolic of the Arab Revolt. A flag that was banned from the Gaza Strip by the state of Israel in 1967 following the Six Day War. In 1980 a law was created that banned the use of the four colors of the flag: red, white, black, and green from artwork. Any Palestinian displaying artwork that contained this combination of colors would subsequently be arrested. But I didn’t know this background information when viewing kennardphillip’s artwork. And yet feelings of pride and resilience were evoked from the image of the flag swaying. There was an intriguing quote in another video titled Roof by Kamal Alijafari. I have searched the internet endlessly for the exact phrase and have failed to produce it, however it is just as poignant paraphrased. It was the idea that we never really leave home, we continuously drag it with us. I thought back to the woman who first introduced me to Palestine: her homeland, her love - and I thought about the pain in her eyes, the life drained from her face when she talked of being forced to leave. All she has are her memories, her nostalgia for her childhood in a land that was wrongfully taken away. Through research I later made the connection that she was a refugee from the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. The same year as the Dein Yassin Massacre that took place on April 9th, after the Untied Nations had proposed the division of Palestine into two separate states: Arab and Jewish with Jeruselum belonging to neither. A decision made by an organization foreign to the land. A decision made without the consent or regard for the people who lived there. Approximately 200 men, women, and children died. But this is just one of many violent attacks inflicted on Palestine. The narrative of their explosive relationship with Israel is one that is continuing to be written. The people of Palestine remain occupied today. The


?

The New Londoners themes of occupancy and oppression are apparent throughout the gallery. Khaled Jarrarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Concrete performance produced the carved out volleyball present on the gallery floor. Images of him chipping away at the concrete wall dividing his community capture the frustration and helplessness of the situation. How can these barriers be removed? How can these boundaries be peacefully

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taken down? The future of Palestine is unknown but its past and present is eloquently displayed in P21â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gallery. I left not only feeling more informed and educated than when I walked in, but I felt a connection to the land, to the people, and to the struggles they continue to fight and endure.

Beautiful

Extract of a large canvas by Mohamed Al-Hawajri. Picture by Kaitlyn Kennedy

Refraction: Moving Images on Palestine Art exhibition at the P21 Gallery


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The New Londoners

Jews for Justice for Palestinians by Naomi Wayne

Jewish people are prominent in challenging the Israeli Occupation of Palestine and working for a just peace. They are involved both in broadbased organisations like the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and in Jewish-only groups. Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JFJFP) was set up more than ten years ago. With over 1700 supporters, it is the largest Jewish peace group in Europe. It organises public meetings, assists Palestinian and Israeli groups that challenge the Occupation, lobbies British, American and other European Governments, participates in demonstrations, campaigns for a boycott of Israeli Settlement goods and services and, in 2010, organised a Jewish Boat to Gaza. It also maintains a brilliant website (www.jfjfp.com), which is essential reading for anyone wanting news and information about Israel/Palestine. Established by several JfJfP signatories, the British Shalom Salaam Trust (BSST) is the only Jewish grant-making charitable trust helping groups inside Israel and in the Occupied Territories. It has worked with a huge range of projects from Gaza to Galilee, Tel Aviv to Nablus. These include the world renowned Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, the amazing Jenin-based Freedom Theatre, the African Refugee Day Centre in Tel Aviv, Combatants for Peace, the joint Palestinian-Israeli ex fighters group, Hope Sew, a Bethlehem women’s cooperative, and very many other education, women’s and children’s support organisations. To find out how to donate to BSST and to see the wide range of projects it has funded, visit www.bsst.org.uk

The Torah teaches: ‘Justice, justice, you shall pursue’ (Deuteronomy 16.20) To secure a lasting settlement to the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis so they can live in peace and security, thrive side by side and cooperate together, Jews today are obligated to pursue justice on behalf of both peoples’

Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah, JfJfP signatory

Anti-Zionist Jews from Neturei Karta meet some children in a refugee camp within Gaza City. Picture by I am Rudy

‘There can be few theatrical enterprises in the world more inspiring or more necessary than the Freedom Theatre. I support it with great admiration’

Nicholas Hytner, Director of the Royal National Theatre and BSST Patron.


The New Londoners

Django Unchained

by Mamuna Camapo

I recently watched the controversial film of the moment, Django Unchained, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. I was somehow pleasantly surprised as well as deeply disturbed by Tarantino’s depiction of slavery in the West. Growing up as an ‘Afro-European’, my history and culture always was, and still is, at the heart of our household; my parents positively emphasise our ‘rich’ African history and background. My first contact with a portrayal of slavery in the United States came when I watched the movie Roots, a dramatization of author Alex Haley's family line from his ancestor Kunta Kinte's enslavement through to his descendants' liberation, released in 1977. I was fascinated by the main character’s bravery in the face of his owners. In fact he was a true model of integrity and pride in his African heritage. In High School, a few years later, my brother introduced me to AfroAmerican history with the ‘Autobiography of Malcom X’ and the ‘I have a dream’ speech by Martin Luther King, both of whom gave hope to African Americans, of freedom and equality in polarised times. Gradually, I became more aware of the atrocities of slavery in the U.S. But somehow I could not link it to my African past until 1997. In 1997, the movie Amistad came out. It was about a slave called Cinque, who was not only from my country Sierra Leone but also from my father’s tribe, the Mende. I had never heard about Cinque before this movie. Can you imagine the impact that would have had on me when I was growing up? In the movie Spielberg created a deeply thoughtful account of slavery as well as recruiting a brilliant cast. Sixteen years on and a new vision of Afro-American slavery has been created. Tarantino said it himself: “Everyone talks about the fact that there are no new stories out there. But there are a lot of slave narratives that are completely indigenous to the American experience and American stories.” Before I dig deeper into the subject, let’s start by introducing the story by

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the director himself, Tarantino: "The initial gem of the whole idea was a slave who becomes a bounty hunter and then goes after overseers who are hiding out in plantations. From that point on, other things came to it, and it became a love story about him trying to find his wife, but that initial thing 13 years ago was a slave who becomes a bounty hunter who hunts white people before the Civil War.” As I mentioned at the beginning, I was pleasantly surprised by the movie, after all it is a Tarantino movie, a controversial director on a controversial subject. It has a well chosen cast with visible on-screen chemistry; Jamie Foxx as the freed slave Django, out for revenge, fearless yet witty at times, whose brilliant ‘repartee’ with Schultz, played by Christoph Waltz, makes for a rather hilarious yet at the same time unlikely partnership. Leonardo Di Caprio, as a slave owner, is charming as always but behaves completely unpredictably, while Samuel L Jackson, as a slave devoted to his master, Di Caprio, who is seen as a sell out by his fellow slaves, is scary but so accurate. However, I deeply question the caricature of slaves in the movie, which I found even cartoonish at times. Django and his wife seem to be the only characters who dare defy their white masters. Furthermore, the slave narrative is almost non-existent. This might be due to the fact that Hollywood is still a white dominated industry which finds it preferable not to deal with its own past. On the subject of slave narrative here is what the man himself had to say: “I actually did not do a movie about a slave. I might do a movie about a slave one day. The character starts off as a slave. I was interested in a slave narrative.” So, what about a movie of Frederick Douglass or Toussaint L’Ouverture? Danny Glover has tried to make a movie about Toussaint with an all black cast but was faced with a lack of funding by his Hollywood peers.


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The New Londoners

In the cosy setting of Theatre Collection, which sits atop the 'Lord Stanley' pub on Camden Park Road, N. N. Dee chats with the theatre’s producer/ director, Shaban Arifi

by N. N. Dee Tell us a bit about yourself and this theatre. I am Albanian and I came to the UK fifteen years ago. Two and a half years ago I set up this theatre with my Russian friend and business partner, Victor Sobchak. We do mainly European and Russian drama, highlighting the different cultures across Europe. We might also do the odd Japanese drama, but our focus is European culture. I produce and direct the plays and sometimes I also act. What’s playing now? The Brothers Karamazov, based on the novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky. What’s it about? It’s a story set against a modernising Russia and delves into the debates that surround God, free will and morality. It deals with the themes of faith, doubt and reason. We tend to focus on bringing novels to the stage and so our shows are not what you would find in typical theatres throughout London. Our aim is to educate.

What is your vision as a producer? I want to express myself and different cultures. I want to share what I like in other cultures and what I don’t see in typical theatres. I see it as a way of being charitable – sharing what is good in other cultures with the general public. You’re Muslim, but last year, you did a play entitled “The Life of Mother Teresa.” Wow! Well, I’m a secular Muslim, so I’m not too caught up in religion. Besides, I think we should be tolerant because at the end of the day, we all believe in the same God. Also, Mother Teresa was much more than a religious woman. That she was a nun and therefore Catholic was incidental; she represented humanity in the world and I think that she spoke positively about all religions, so it was not at all taboo for me as a Muslim to bring her life story to the stage... and she is the pride of Albania, my nation. As an Albanian, do you find it difficult to fit in, in London?

The good thing about London is that you fit in because everyone here is a migrant. There are some negative stereotypes about Albanians, but migrants have to do their bit. They have to work extra. We migrants have to see ourselves as ambassadors of our countries. Migrants have a duty to be good. Everyone should be good but migrants have to work a bit harder but achievement is not impossible. Has the theatre won any awards or been recognised in any way in theatrical circles? We get good reviews, for example... Sometimes we get a review and where, for example a British theatre might have got five stars, we might be given three stars, but that’s okay with me because it is still an acknowledgment. Is there anything else that you’ve been dying to say on a public platform if given the opportunity? Everything that I want to express, I do through my theatre productions. Just go to www.theatrecollection.net. Everyone is welcome.

Interview with

Pictures by Greg Goodale

Shaban Arifi


The New Londoners

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Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Independence of Albania Voluntary Projects in London by Remzije Duli KAYAV Leader

To learn more about KAYAV and future events they will be involved with, find them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ KAYAVcampaign

After 500 years of occupation by the Ottoman Empire, Albania was finally granted Independence on November 28th, 1912. This momentous occasion still holds great meaning in the hearts of Albanians everywhere. On November 28th, 2012, the British Museum organized an event to celebrate the 100th anniversary. The aims of this event were both emotional and educational. This day was an opportunity for Albanians to promote peace and prosperity; a day to come together with pride and teach Londoners about their heritage and culture. Leon, an attendant atthe event explained, “Today’s celebration gives us a moment to reflect on our heritage and look to some of our fellow Albanians here in the UK and around the world who serve as inspirations for us all.” Leon is also a KAYAV activist. KAYAV stands for Kosovar Albanian Youth Against Violence, a youth group that represents the Albanian London community and advocates discussions on issues involving crime. KAYAV is dedicated to changing violent activity associated with their community to positive activity. The group is instrumental in organizing community events in London that work to reduce the presence of gangs and high crime rate. As a spokesperson for this group and his

community Leon urges Londoners to, “Forget stereotypes you see in movies like Taken and embrace the true icons of Albanian achievement, such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa and internationally acclaimed writer Ismail Kadare. From actors to opera singers to poets to athletes, Albanians have left their mark and continue to be important figures of society.” Members of KAYAV work to disprove the misconceptions, generalizations, and harsh stereotypes made against their people. KAYAV is a well-respected organization amongst the older generation as well. A presenter at the event explained, “We aim to assist parents and children in understanding how family, ethnicity, culture, and spirituality influence their values and behaviours. We at KAYAV encourage the parents and children to reconnect to the positive aspects of their past.” The process of blending the past with the present was evident at the event. One way that this was achieved was through folk dress. At the event, younger generations wore the traditional, authenticate dress of the past. Aida, a teacher from Ardhemia Supplementary School said, “I felt like a star, everyone was taking pictures of us in different costumes and were curious to know where we come from and what culture we were representing.” For Albanians, folk dresses are the most expressive manifestations of traditional culture. Aida’s experience demonstrates the feelings of pride and honour these garments continue to invoke today. The British Museum’s event this past November was a cultural and educational event that contributed to the overall goal of bridging the gap between communities. It provided a positive platform for KAYAV to spread the message of their cause.


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The New Londoners

Rita Ora

Two talented young stars, with Britain’s music industry is fast paced and competitive to say the least, it’s even harder to adapt when you are of different heritage. Today, Britain plays host to over 20 different music genre’s, including pop, folk and soul; which has contributed to the success of Rita Ora and Lianne La Havas. These women, both equal in talent and beauty are living proof that hard work, determination and worldwide support can one day turn dreams into reality. Rita 22 and Lianne 23, are both singer-songwriters, Rita specialises in pop and Lianne in folk and soul music. After being born in Kosovo, Rita’s family emigrated 21 years ago and she has lived in west London ever since. Half Greek, half Jamaican Lianne was born and raised in south London. Both women embraced singing, performing and song-writing in their

The Route Two young and talented

Drawing by ~DraigCoch98

Picture by Magnus Manske

childhood and pursued it in secondary school. Rita attended Sylvia Young Theatre School and Lianne was in her school

sensations progressed to getting signed to two major American record labels in 2009, after being ‘talent sourced’ – mainly through MySpace for For Rita it was The beautiful pop star Lianne. Nation, (founded by comes from a family of Roc Jay Z) and for Lianne was clearly in artists that gave a lot to who demand, it was Warner the cultural development Bros and super agency CAA. of Kosovo Despite their ‘new age’ music, both women have rich choir and later a member of a musicals histories and are band. Despite struggles that influenced greatly by various each family may have faced artists from across the globe travelling to, living in or and of multiple genres. Rita’s adapting to Britain, they both influences include Gwen made good choices - as Britain Stefani and Lianne’s includes nurtured Rita and Lianne’s Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu. talents. Today, these budding young Demonstrating the strength of stars are making huge names British media, these two for themselves; with their


The New Londoners

33

h roots from different countries  use their vocals to travel their way to the top of the charts careers no longer than five years old, they by the Albanian Prime Minister whilst have various achievements already under attending the 100th year anniversary of the their belts – despite the fierce competition. Independence of Albania. Lianne who is also a multi – The New Londoners met with Rita’s father instrumentalist, now has a Besnik Ora, who debut EP, ‘Lost and Found’, explained his reason followed by a full-length for coming to Britain The halfGreek, half debut album ‘Is your Love - “It is a metropolis Jamaican Londoner Big Enough?’ .Which world, containing all stormed the charts in July the activities of life mixes oldfashioned 2012, entering at number and it respects melodies, youthful four, described as “sonically human rights when vulnerability and adventurous.” it comes to talent In 2012 Rita collaborated and integration”. He sweet, smoky vocals with DJ Fresh for his new proudly proclaimed, song 'Hot Right Now' which “Rita’s talent is went to number 1 in Britain. supported not only This song now has over 37 million views on by her family but also by her Kosovan YouTube. She won best newcomer at the community, country, the UK and worldwide.” MTV awards and was a guest judge on the X Factor. Rita and Lianne have broken down social Proving that she has never forgotten her and cultural constraints through music and homeland, Rita went back to her birth place by simply being their humble selves. They Pristina, Kosovo to shoot her video 'Shine Ya act as ambassadors of Britain, yet still Light' which includes her singing in the New identify with their roots, positively paving Born Obelisk. Her involvement within the the way for up and coming multi-cultural Kosovan community was recently honoured artists.

to Fame d singers: two journeys

Picture by Lou Le Guilloux

by Sabrina Prescott Nelson and Sadie Kryeziu

Lianne La Havas


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The New Londoners

Book review

Where do I Belong (by Shabibi Shah) From Kabul to London – A Refugee’s Life

by

Rhiannon H ughes

C omic S trip

o n te a g u d

o

Shah says she feels ‘displaced, torn between two countries.’ But I believe that by telling her story with such simplicity and passion, she has built a bridge between Kabul and London – for her children, for other first-generation refugees, and for every reader.

y P a b lo M

Pakistan. Two weeks later, Shabibi and her three children – the youngest aged only four months – made the hair-raising journey across the mountains to join him. “We were high up in the mountains on an ancient lorry whose wheels were inches away from a drop of several thousand feet, and by the time we stopped again I was numb with fear.” Nor was Peshawar in Pakistan a place of safety. It was a dangerous, dirty frontier town, teeming with refugees and ruled by the repressive Mujahideen. Zafar was imprisoned for months and Shabibi again had full responsibility for her children. Simple day-to-day life became a struggle, especially for an educated woman from Kabul. “Now in the twentieth century, wearing perfume was a sin; laughing with a male relative was a sin; walking alone in the street was a sin; raising a chaderi to expose any part of the face and body was a sin. Women suddenly had no freedom at all.” After a year and a half of living in the refugee camp, the family were finally granted British visas. They arrived in London in 1984. To this day, Shabibi

P ictu re b

Most of us know something about Afghanistan today – Taliban atrocities and the dangerous work of British soldiers there. In her book, Shabibi Shah tells us about a different Afghanistan – the relatively peaceful and liberal country of her younger years. Then, the government encouraged both boys and girls to study. Shabibi attended Kabul University in the 1960s and met her husband Zafar there. After marrying, they moved in with his well-to-do extended family “who lived together in a huge bungalow, built behind a row of nine shops which belonged to the family. I remember that it had an enormously long, white marble corridor which was washed and polished every morning by the servants. All the ceilings were decorated with fine wooden carvings… The rooms were carpeted with Afghan rugs.” Two children were soon born; Shabibi became a college teacher; Zafar worked as a political journalist. The future looked bright. But Afghanistan has a turbulent history and Shabibi describes in vivid detail how the Russian invasion and corrupt Communist regime tore their happy family life apart. In March 1983, to avoid imprisonment, Zafar was forced to flee to

Review by Carrie Drummond


The New Londoners

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May

What's on

London Literature Festival. Friday May 24th till Wednesday 5th June. Southbank Centre. Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX http://www.timeout.com/london/booksand-poetry/london-literature-festival-2013

London Events by Helena Argyle

March

Bangladesh Independence Day. 26th of March 2013 commemorates the 42nd Bangladesh Independence Day, celebrated worldwide. Rich Mix, in Tower Hamlets, will host special events to commemorate the occasion, with key guest speakers, exclusive modern and cultural performances, attended by media personalities, dignitaries and community members. http://www.richmix.org.uk/whatson/festival/sanchita-islam-the-rebel-within/ March is International Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Month. Rich Mix is holding an exhibition with the South Asian Women Creative Collective. http://www.richmix.org.uk/whatson/event/sawcc-salon-intlwomens/ Refraction: Moving Images on Palestine. Exhibition dates: 19th December 2012  16th March 2013 http://www.p21.org.uk/aboutMovingImageso nPalestine.aspx

June April

8  21 April 2013. A festival celebrating the contribution of the French Protestant Huguenots to Spitalfields, where around 25,000 of them settled in the late seventeenth century. http://www.timeout.com/london/festivals/huguenots -of-spitalfields-festival Pictures by [from left to right]: H-Huynh, Ji-Elle,Annie Mole, Jon's Pics

Trooping the Colour. The Queens Birthday Celebrations. Saturday 15th June. http://www.timeout.com/london/things-todo/trooping-the-colour-2013-the-queensbirthday-parade-horse-guards-parade-15june-2013 Refugee Week. 17  23 June 2013. Annual Refugee Week sees a wide selection of events and festivities taking place all over Britain. Follow this link to find events taking place in your local area. http://www.refugeeweek.org.uk/Events


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The New Londoners

Voices from No Man' s Land The Poems, published on this space are by refugees, asylum seekers and migrants living in London Inheritance My Jacket It is an heirloom Handed down to me by my father Handed down to him by his father Grey coloured For it, I can take no dollar No tailor can mend it There is none like it I keep it safe to pass on

Our earth It is our heirloom Handed down to us by our fathers Handed down to them by their fathers Many coloured For it, we can take no dollar No man can make it There is none like it We keep it safe to pass on

by Hasani Hasani

Drawings by Ian Drummond


The New Londoners

by Howard Tingle Diabetes Coordinator

Today 2.9m people are living with diabetes, and an estimated 850,000 who have the condition are unaware. The projections alarmingly indicate that the numbers will double from 1 in 20 to 1 in 10 of the population over the next decade; diabetes is therefore serious public health concern currently costing 10% of the NHS budget.

I am worried I have diabetes. What is Diabetes? Diabetes is a serious lifelong condition in which the amount of glucose in the blood is too high at diagnosis, because your body doesn’t produce enough insulin (Type 1) or where the insulin doesn’t work properly or when your body can’t produce enough insulin (Type 2) What is Insulin? Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, the key that unlocks your body’s cells so that glucose can enter and be converted, to give you energy. How many types of Diabetes are there? Type 1 :The cells in the pancreas have been destroyed and there is a lack of insulin, usually occurs in people under age 40, and commonly in childhood. It can be treated by Insulin injections, diet and physical activity.

Type 2:The pancreas still makes insulin but insufficient for your body or the insulin does not work properly. It appears in people over 40 or 25 if you are South Asian, and increasingly appearing in children and young adult. Treated by lifestyle changes: Healthier diet, increased physical activity, weight loss and medication which may increase over time, and possibly insulin injections. What are the risk factors for Type 2? Family History- if one or two parents with Type diabetes 15% or 75% respectively. What are the main symptoms of Type 2? Blurred vision, frequent urination, extreme tiredness, genital itching or regular episodes of thrush, slow healing of cuts and wounds .Or sometimes no symptoms at all. Are there any complications of diabetes if it is left untreated, diagnosed late or not managed well? Yes. Some are: blindness, damage to the eyes, amputations, heart and blood vessel problems, coronary heart Disease, atherosclerosis, angina (chest pain), kidney damage ,sexual dysfunction, foot ulcers. Who is most prone to have Type 2 diabetes? South Asians (6times more likely to develop it than the white population) and Afro-Caribbean’s and Black Africans (3 times more likely to develop it than the white population)

by Joanne Walker

Low incomes Tax reform Group

Legal Advice

Self employment

I just came from Spain and I used to have my own business installing kitchens and bathrooms. I would like to work in the same industry in the UK but I don’t know what to do? If you work for yourself (are selfemployed) you need to register your business with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as soon as possible. You will probably have to pay weekly Class 2 national insurance contributions (NIC), and you may have to pay Class 4 NIC depending on the level of your profits. You will have to complete an annual self assessment tax return, to tell HMRC about your taxable profits. You are responsible for paying the correct income tax and NIC to HMRC. If you carry out the same business in the UK (in this case installing kitchens and bathrooms) as you did in Spain, HMRC will deem that your old business in Spain has ceased and that you are starting a new business in the UK. Can I work for an employer and be self employed at the same time? Yes. If you have two jobs, you can be both an employee (work for an employer) and self-employed at the same time. For

37

Health Advice Diabetes

www.diabetes.org.uk careline@diabetes.org.uk example, you may work as an employed music teacher at a school during the day (employee) and give private piano lessons in the evening (self-employed) I am a seasonal worker; do I have to pay tax in the UK? If you come to work in the UK as a seasonal worker, for example, to work picking strawberries on a farm for three months, you will normally have to pay income tax and national insurance contributions (NIC) on your wages. Your employer should take the tax and NICs from your pay, and then pass them to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC – the UK tax authority) You may be able to claim a tax refund when you leave the UK, but you will not be able to claim a refund of NICs. The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) www.litrg.org.uk/Migrant has recently launched a new section on its website dedicated to migrants. This provides various materials to assist migrants in dealing with the UK tax system, including a simple guide – “Tax and Benefits: A LITRG guide for migrants”, a set of factsheets, and more detailed information on the website.


The New Londoners spring 2013