Michael Mayoral Elections
George Michael is one of the biggest international stars ever “who hadn’t tasted hard Cypriot work” Page 16
Liz Fekete Interview
Legal Aid Cuts
Lenny Henry on stage
Media and Migrants:
Same Old Story
The demonisation of migrants by the British mainstream media has ancient roots. Gary Buswell does a roundup of some of the most disturbing tales which led to modern stereotypes and misconception
Anyone who has picked up a copy of The Daily Mail or The Daily Express will probably be familiar with the modern media portrayal of immigrants coming here in their thousands to take our jobs, homes and benefits. But these negative
stereotypes of new arrivals are nothing new and were in fact just as common in press reports from over a century ago. w The targets back then were Jewish refugees fleeing persecution in Tsarist Russia at the end of the nineteenth century.
It was working class East London that hosted most of these refugees and initially it was the London newspapers of the time voicing disapproval, using terms such as “aliens” and “undesirables” to describe newcomers. The Even-
ing News ran stories almost daily during the summer of 1891, using headlines such as “Jewish Invasion” and “Keep The Aliens Out”. Others such as the Eastern Post and the East London Observer soon jumped aboard, reporting of continued on page 3 »
The New Londoners
Editor -in-Chief Ros Lucas Editorial Consultant Maria Teresa Sette Editorial Team Dermott Carroll Vicky Ilankovan Production & Communications Sylvia Velasquez Creative Design Team Salman Anjum Ellen Davis Grefberg Reporters Helena Argyle Gary Buswell Ellen Grefberg Vicky Ilankovan Nerina Moris Eddie Romero Photographers Georgie Knaggs Pablo Monteagudo Contributors Khadija Abdelhamid Joe Anderson Azita Jabbari Arabzadeh Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell Sadie Kryeziu Bejtullah Anna Bowsher Julian Cheyne Rib Davis N.N.Dee Carrie Drummond Elena Felices Hasani Hasini Indira Kartallozi Georgie Knaggs Mathew Lamba Kevin Laue James Mathison Michael Paraskos Richard Rushworth Eva Sanchis Sara Wickert Yaya Ebrahim Yosof
Letter from Editor-in-Chief Summer time in London promises to be full of activity with several major events – the London Mayoral Elections in May, the Diamond Jubilee in June and the Olympics in July. In this issue of The New Londoners we give an insight into the two frontrunner mayoral candidates’ views - Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone - on migration in the capital, with both acknowledging the benefits that migrants bring to the economy in London. It is a national disgrace that the two largest political parties do not publicly share this view and continue to develop punitive immigration policies and rhetoric that feeds negative perceptions about migrants. Gary Buswell’s lead article focuses on the continued demonization of migrants in the mainstream media. The main event in London for the Diamond Jubilee will be the flotilla of over 1,000 boats, including the Queen’s barge, that will sail down the River Thames on 3rd June. We feature two different views about the Jubilee, and the future of the monarchy, from a migrant and a Londoner perspective. As in other issues, we focus on a migrant community that brings so much to life in the capital city, and beyond. In this issue, we feature the Greek Cypriot community and lead with perhaps our most famous star of Greek Cypriot roots, George Michael. We review one of the many Greek Cypriot restaurants that help to make London one of the most culinary diverse cities in the world. London will be the focus of the world in July as we host the Olympics. We take a look at how one of our most popular athletes, Somalian born Mo Farah, is preparing for the Olympics. Team GB will be a shining example of the contribution that migrants make to our culture and sport in the UK and will provide an opportunity for positive images in the media which we hope can be a legacy for the future. We welcome your letters, comments and tweets, on any of our articles.
Ros Lucas MRC Executive Director
Drawing Ian Drummond Advertising Marigona Gashi Produced By Migrants Resource Centre 24 Churton Street London SW1V 2LP 02078342505 www.migrantsresourcecentre.org.uk firstname.lastname@example.org 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 www.thenewlondoners.co.uk
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Media and Migrants: Same Old Story
« continued from page 1 “foreign floods” crowding locals out of homes and jobs and lowering wages. As with today’s stories, there was little evidence to support such claims. It is estimated that around 150,000 refugees settled between 1880 and 1905, with many who came moving onto America. However, inaccurate statistics were published regularly. Reports of influxes of as many as 800,000 led to outraged readers letters. Arrivals found themselves accused of spreading everything from cholera to anarchism. When popular national tabloids started to appear in the 1890s things
intensified further. In 1904, The Sun* wrote of “criminals, undesirables and radicals” who were “flocking to England in their thousands” to “fill our hospitals, our asylums and prisons and the taxpayer has to support them and smile”. The Express called immigrants a “menacing evil” while in June 1904 The Mirror claimed “with almost every tide of the Thames a
deposit of the floating wreckage of the continent is being left on our shores”. The Mail, meanwhile - who only a few years back published 200 anti-
asylum articles in one year - wrote a piece in February 1900 entitled “So-Called Refugees” about a boat bringing 600 refugees to Southampton. “There were scarcely a hundred of them that had, by right, deserved such help” it reported, “and these were the Englishmen of the party. The rest were Jews”. Reports in the broadsheets were only slightly more sober. The Times
In 1904, The Sun wrote of ‘criminals, undesirables and radicals’ who were ‘flocking to England in their thousands’ to ‘fill our hospitals, our asylums and prisons and the taxpayer has to support them and smile’
The New Londoners
and The Observer did publish pieces recognising the benefits immigration had brought to Britain and voicing concerns about heightened prejudice, but even they published inaccurate statistics and supported harsh restrictive measures. Like today, these newspapers at the time stated they weren’t being racist. Most sought to emphasise distinction between “respectable” English Jews and the “alien pauper community” of Russian and Polish Jews. But anti-Jewish sentiment increased at the time, with over 40,000 joining the nationalist British Brothers League. The Aliens Act was eventually passed in 1905. It gave authorities the right to remove destitute immigrants and imposed controls against numerous groups seeking entry, including those with mental illness. Media hostility towards Jewish entrants continued right up until the eve of World War Two. The worrying similarity between media coverage then and now suggests that a few newspaper editors could do with some history lessons and a course in responsible journalism. *This was a daily evening tabloid that ran between 1893-1906, and is not related to today’s The Sun newspaper which was launched in 1964.
In the period leading up to Britain’s first piece of immigration legislation in 1905, anti-immigration reporting in a range of newspapers reached levels of hysteria and frequency matching anything seen today
Myth: Migration is responsible for high unemployment and the displacement of jobs to non-British workers.
Fact: A report by the Migration Advisory Committee earlier this year showed that non EU-born workers have statistically displaced 160,000 British workers over five years (around 32,000 a year) during the recession. Set against the current UK unemployment level of 2.64 million it can’t be seen as “the main driving force behind the rising jobless figures”, points out Alan Travis of The Guardian. http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/ workingwithus/indbodies/mac/ Myth: Most migrants stay in the UK.
Fact: A large proportion (two thirds) of all nonBritish citizens arriving in the UK stayed for less than 5 years. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/ dcp171776_244534.pdf
Myth: Most migrants come here to find jobs.
Fact: The most common reason for people to migrate to the UK is to study. The number coming for this reason reached a record high in 2010 at 238,000, although this was not significantly different from the 211,000 who came in 2009.
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/migration1/ migration-statistics-quarterly-report/ november-2011/msqr.html#tab-3---Why-arepeople-migrating-to-and-from-the-UK-
Myth: People think immigration has a negative impact on entrepreneurship and business start-ups. Fact: A recent State of the Nation survey by British Future found that 57% of Londoners thought immigration has been good for entrepreneurship and business start-ups with only 8% saying it has had a negative impact. http://www.britishfuture.org/wp-content/ uploads/2012/01/Hopes-and-Fears-updated. pdf By Ellen Grefberg and Helena Argyle
The New Londoners
Our Politicians have failed
A chat with Liz Fekete, Executive director of the Institute of Race Relations and author of “A Suitable Enemy: Racism, Migration and Islamophobia in Europe”. Interview by Indira Kartallozi
Liz Fekete Refugees and asylum seekers are often demonised in the British and EU media. Why do you think this has happened? I think the first reason why refugees and migrants and asylum seekers have been demonised relates to the failures of our political class – their failure to educate people about the reality of a rapidly changing world and the real reasons why people are displaced. We live in a continent which is used to being wealthy, influential and in control. The world has become a lot more insecure. Ironically, it’s more interconnected but it’s more insecure. There is more displacement of people yet rich states in the EU want to close their borders to those who are forcibly displaced by the very chain of events set off by globalisation and the market-state. So, what we have seen in Europe is the hardening of border policies, the fortification of borders and the construc-
tion of immigration rules which allow passage for the highly skilled but force displaced poor people into dangerous means of travel. In your book ‘The Suitable Enemy’ you argue that migrants who do not assimilate or are incapable of assimilation are excluded. Can you explain what you mean by ‘assimilate’? Assimilation is not my word, but it has become very topical and is increasingly used by politicians and in documents about integration. What we have seen throughout Europe, particularly since 9/11, is a drift from integration policies (a two-way process) towards assimilation (a one-way process, the subsumption of the minority into the majority). European countries have different approaches to majorityminority relations. In Britain we have always been a multicultural nation. We’ve always been English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, so the idea that we can be a mono-cultural nation is a very dan-
Our political class has failed to educate people about the reality of a rapidly changing world and the real reasons why people are displaced
gerous and absolutist idea. In a democracy you have to sign up to the fact that you are a politically-pluralist society where you tolerate other people’s views, lifestyles and cultural choices. But, in a kind of assimilationist monocultural model you are being told that you have to sign up to the values of the majority culture. But then, where does it end? That’s where Nazism went. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says there are about 43 million displaced people around the world. The immigration policies in the UK and EU have made the movement of poor and unskilled migrants and those fleeing conflict and environmental disasters very difficult. What do you think about this and how could governments play a more constructive role? The most immediate thing would be to review the policies that are making things more dangerous for people and we need to be a lot more honest and a lot more truthful. Because a lot of this demonization of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers is based on the idea that we are facing an invasion and that the people who come are not genuine refugees but carpetbaggers, welfare scroungers and asylum-shoppers! UNHCR statistics that give the real facts never become the headlines in the ‘Daily Mail’ or the ‘Sun’. We might say that we can’t solve all of the problems of the world, but we can certainly make sure that it is not our policies, our multinationals, that are making the world more insecure and dangerous. This means addressing our culpability! If we look at the displacement of people, refugee movement and internal displacement, the main reason for that is war! Look at the amount of people who lost their lives and lost their homes
because of conflicts we are involved in, like Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya. And yet, the militarised borders which have been erected to stop refugee movements meant that hundreds and thousands of refugees fleeing those conflicts were denied entry by those same borders. Many of them were dying in rickety boats and that is a crime for which we are culpable. Some argue that Britain’s immigration policies have not only made it difficult to protect the rights of migrants in the UK but have also prevented their effective integration into our society. How do you see the future of multiculturalism in British society? I’m pessimistic in the short-term, but then on the other hand I do have hope, and the hope is in the future, in the young. Young people have grown up side by side with a person who hasn’t got papers. In that sense there isn’t a distinction between the native child and the migrant child. Young people who are living in multicultural societies do not make those distinctions. And that’s the hope. But, on the pessimistic side, I feel that the borders have been sealed and the assault on the heart and soul of the refugee convention has been pretty thorough. In that sense I’m pessimistic about the guaranteeing of asylum rights as a whole. I feel that the move has to be around protecting the people who are here, particularly the youngsters. That means protecting them from internal border controls and from laws that prevent them having access to education, the welfare state, employment and housing. The IRR is an educational charity that produces IRR News, an online alternative news service on race and refugee issues.
Demonisation of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers is based on this idea that we are facing an invasion and that the people who come are not genuine refugees but carpetbaggers, welfare scroungers and asylum-shoppers
The New Londoners
The vigil eye on Mugabe’s abuses Every Saturday for the past nine years, Zimbabwean activists and refugees have gathered on the Strand to draw attention to gross violation of human rights perpetrated by Robert Mugabe’s dictatorship. Hasani Hasani met some of the protesters
“To save Zimbabwe, Mugabe must go; Mugabe must go to save Zimbabwe!” shout the protesters, mostly Zimbabwean exiles, outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in London. Every Saturday for the past nine years, the Zimbabwe Vigil on the Strand has drawn dozens of Zimbabwean political activists. They have all fled the rule of Robert Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state and one of its longest-serving dictators. The vigil started on October 12 2002 to draw attention in the UK to gross human rights violations under President Mugabe, and to campaign for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. The lively group usually sings songs of protest, hands out leaflets to passers-by, or collects signatures for its cause. Clemence Munyukwi, a former high school mathematics teacher at a rural school in Mashonaland East, a proMugabe province in Zimbabwe, fled the country in 2002 when his school was attacked by the youth militias loyal to Mugabe’s Zanu-PF for having opposition party sympathisers. Despite the fact that Zanu-PF has been governing in coalition with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
since 2009, in rural areas anyone perceived to be a member or supporter of the MDC risks being punished by these youth militia known as the ’Green Bombers’. “I saw some people with white ZanuPF T-shirts who came to the school where I was a head teacher,” said Clemence. “They had a list of names of school boys they wanted to see.” Clemence added that on this visit some teachers were taken to a torture camp for interrogation and that was the last time that they were seen. He managed to flee during the cover of darkness after receiving warnings that the militia would be visiting again. Another protester, Constance Kachidza, was a secretary to a prominent lawyer and an MDC activist from Mbare, a scene of political clashes earlier this year. This made her a target for Zanu-PF supporters. She left Zimbabwe during the chaotic land invasions on which Mugabe embarked in 2000, in an attempt to secure rural votes in the run-up to elections, amid growing public discontent at soaring inflation, rampant corruption and the government’s contempt for the rule of law. Facing defeat at general elections by the newly formed MDC party, Mugabe embarked on a populist land policy bereft of planning. Prime farming land, which was largely in the hands of a few white farmers, was forcibly taken and given to close associates and Zanu-PF supporters to the detriment of the agro-based economy. Opposition activists like Constance faced constant harassment at the hands of the ’Green Bombers‘. She has been coming to the vigil since 2009 because
a free Zimbabwe is what she yearns for. Another protester, Patrick Moyo (not his real name) now lives in Sunderland, in North East England, but in Zimbabwe he worked at a farm in Plumtree, a small farming boarder town west of the country. “War veterans came to our farm, and beat up everyone there,” he said. “We deserted the farm together with the farm owner.” Though Patrick came to the UK in 2003, this was his first time at the demonstration. “It is good for the country [Zimbabwe] to demonstrate by sending [to the world] a big message about what is happening in Zimbabwe,” he said. According to Rose Benton, who organises the vigil, the number of weekly protestors varies between 60 and 90 people but a lot of people came out to demonstrate in 2008 “because there was a very violent election campaign.” After the MDC of Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round of the presidential election in 2008, and withdrew from a run-off marred by violence, Mugabe and the MDC formed a power-sharing government in 2009. But even with the formation of the coalition government, the
Zimbabwe Vigil still feels its demands for recognition of human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe are far from being achieved. Activists say they haven’t seen an improvement in the rule of law and more violence is expected with new elections in the next year or so. “It was stupid [of the MDC] to get into bed with a dictator,” said Benton. Besides protesting against Mugabe’s despotic rule, the Zimbabwe Vigil also campaigns against deportations of political activists from the UK to Zimbabwe. The Home Office, in March, lifted a four-
year ban on removals of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. This affects 10,000 people in the UK, and deported activists may face detention in Zimbabwe because of their activism in this country. So, for as long as Mugabe ignores human rights, and with election violence rearing its ugly head again, the drums of the protesters on the Strand will not be silenced.
The New Londoners
The brutal price
At the heart of the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe has been the failure to have free and fair elections, says Kevin Laue
Zimbabweans have suffered multiple human rights abuses both before and after independence in 1980, but especially since around 1998. The struggle for independence took many innocent civilian lives, and soon after independence thousands more civilians were killed by
North-Korean trained soldiers in the western part of the country. However, the past fourteen years have again seen a great deal of torture and many killed, and what made everything worse was the total collapse of the economy, hyper-inflation and millions forced to flee into South Africa and further abroad as desperate political and economic refugees. At the heart of the on-going crisis has been the failure to have free and fair elections. The Zanu-PF Mugabe regime has stubbornly clung to power despite overwhelming evidence that most Zimbabweans want a change of government. President Robert Mugabe has remained in de facto control by unleashing extreme violence against the MDC party and ordinary
voters at every election and all the signs are that such violence will be repeated this year or next when once more an election is due to take place. Since early 2009 there has been, on paper, a power-sharing arrangement between Zanu-PF and the MDC, but it is repeatedly and openly ignored by Mugabeâ€™s forces which are running the country: The army, police and the intelligence service known as the CIO. These three organs, at least at leadership level, have benefitted to an obscene extent from the Mugabe regimeâ€™s corruption and patronage, and are committed to maintaining their vast privileges in a sea of despair and desperation which is the lot of people who have not fled altogether. The leader of the MDC, Morgan
Tsvangirai, has little real power, and neither does parliament where he has a tiny majority. Zanu-PF continues to murder and torture those who challenge it, and vicious in-fighting within its own ranks too is the order of the day. While the economy has stabilised to a degree following the ditching of the local currency for the US dollar, it remains a very volatile situation which is likely to become worse before it starts getting better. Human rights are a dream in Zimbabwe, but there are brave people on the ground fighting to make that dream come true. Kevin Laue is a human rights lawyer from Zimbabwe and a legal advisor at REDRESS, an NGO that helps torture survivors obtain justice.
The New Londoners
The human costs of legal aid cuts Access to justice and equality will be seriously compromised if the Government’s proposed reforms to legal aid are put into law. By Anna Bowsher and Mathew Lamba The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is making widespread cuts to the legal aid budget under government proposals in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. These include cuts in advice and representation on immigration, employment and family law and welfare benefits. The Law Centres Federation considers this may mean that 18 of the 56 law centres around the country will have to permanently close their doors cutting off a lifeline of legal assistance to those who rely on it the most. To mitigate these cuts the MoJ argues that people can represent themselves in court. Critics warn this recommendation is short-sighted and that without some serious amendment these proposals will deny justice to the most vulnerable in our society. Public funding for immigration law is one area the Government is proposing to cut. It is already difficult to get legal aid for some cases as Hasani and Handsen, cousins from Zimbabwe and both political asylum seekers to the UK, have found. They had to represent themselves in court due to a lack of legal aid. Neither man had appeared in a court environment before coming to the UK, yet have had to rely on their own abilities to plead their cases before a judge and a team of Home Office lawyers. Hasani said: “I prepared myself for the worst, I was looking for a lawyer right until the last day. We went to many law firms but many of them were saying ‘no because there’s no longer legal aid, we cannot take your case because there’s no guarantee we are going to be paid”. The assistance provided to the cousins consisted of a few pamphlets, but they both note one huge advantage they have
over the majority of asylum seekers arriving in the UK who face the same legal battle. As Hasani put it: “But for us at least we can read English. We are not versed in legal [terms], but we are better placed than someone who does not speak the language. They are going through the same processes, how will they be able to cope? It’s even harder”. Mario Marin, specialist immigration adviser at the Migrants Resource Centre expressed the concern of those working in the field: “Even if they have the knowledge, they don’t have the confidence [to represent themselves]. If you suffer, if you are abused, you lose your dignity and your confidence is gone.” “Under government proposals in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, further cuts will also be made in the areas of employment, family and welfare benefits advice. What are the implications?” In the area of employment law, only discrimination cases will remain eligible for legal aid. For example, employees who have been unfairly dismissed will no longer have recourse to legal aid to assist them in bringing actions against their employers. If employees cannot afford legal representation they will be expected to navigate the complex web of employment law procedures and technicalities by themselves. Furthermore, while employers can invariably afford to pay for lawyers to represent them, it is often the case that employees cannot afford legal representation precisely because of the employment issue in dispute, as with unfair dismissal, which may have resulted in the loss of their livelihood. The upshot is that the inequality between employers and employees will become even more extreme.
Legal aid will no longer be available in almost all aspects of family law, despite overwhelming opposition from legal practitioners and the judiciary. Only domestic violence and child abuse cases will remain eligible if government proposals are implemented. Families involved in cases such as divorce, contact with children, custody, access and adoption will be unable to get legal aid. The Government’s justification for cuts in these areas is that families should be encouraged to settle such issues through mediation, but this overlooks the fact that many legal aid clients are vulnerable and need legal representation, especially where mediation fails or is not appropriate. Perhaps the most significant objection to cuts in legal aid to family law is the knock-on effect this will have on children. For example, safe and equitable contact arrangements must be reached for the benefit of the child, while ancillary relief
Perhaps the most significant objection to cuts in legal aid for family law is the knock-on effect this will have on children
orders aim to protect the financial interests of children. If individuals who cannot afford representation have to put forward their own case, often dealing with these complex and developing areas of law, it is possible that the outcomes reached will not be the most suitable for the children involved. A number of responses to the Government’s consultation on the cuts to family law legal aid argued that the proposals may breach both Article 6, the right to a fair trial, and Article 8, the right to family life, of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is incorporated in the UK Human Rights Act. All legal aid funding will be cut for assistance with welfare benefits, despite the fact that individuals in need of welfare benefits are often in a vulnerable position. The Government has justified the cuts saying ‘the accessible and relatively user-friendly nature of the tribunal means that applicants can generally present their case without legal assistance’. However, welfare benefits legislation is already extremely complex and with the government proposing further significant changes to the benefits system, such as the introduction of universal credit, those claiming benefits are going to be in even greater need of expert legal assistance. Professional legal advice is required to assess both an individual’s entitlement to benefits and also to advise on whether an appeal should be made. Scope, the disability charity, has expressed concern over the tribunal system, which it says is already ‘stretched beyond breaking point’. Cuts in legal aid to claimants of welfare benefits will only place further undue pressure on tribunals, with the long term effect that many disabled people will be unable to work because they will not get the support they are entitled to. It is evident, therefore, that such sweeping cuts to legal aid will not only deny access to justice for individuals with specific legal issues, but will also undermine the government’s own ambitions to reduce costs in the long run.
The New Londoners
Stephen Lawrence case a lesson for all
How Britain’s archaic law and policing systems are being forced into a rethink by migrants such as Neville and Doreen Lawrence. By N.N. Dee The stereotypical portrait of an migrant is one who is illegal, poor, lazy, lawless, and often a benefits scrounger. By contrast, the system against which the migrant battles is perceived as pure, righteous, above reproach in all its ways and justified in attempting to keep migrants out. Then, along came Neville and Doreen Lawrence, hard-working, law-abiding migrants who, apart from their ethnicity, were everything the stereotypical migrant was not. Tragedy struck in the form of one of the vilest aberrations of natural order – their son was killed. It was a racially motivated, senseless attack that would cause any parent indescribable grief but, to add insult to injury, the system snoozed as the police bungled the investigation that could have ensured timely justice. The wheels of justice having failed to be set in motion for them, the Lawrences got up and got about it themselves. They never gave up their fight to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice and, in the process, contributed to overhauling the methods used in British policing. Has anyone noticed that it is migrants (in the form of the Lawrences) that have forced the British policing system to take a closer look at itself and the way in which it operates? It is the tireless campaigning and efforts of two migrants that delivered the close examination of policing practices, which led the Macpherson report to declare the Metropolitan Police Service, and police services elsewhere, to be institutionally racist. What a positive impact these two migrants have made on Britain, ensuring that society aspires to the great example of a just and civilized society that The United Kingdom is supposed to be. The Lawrences then set up The Stephen Lawrence Trust to honour the memory of their son, by vicariously realizing his potential through funding young students who might not otherwise have had the chance to afford professional qualifications. These two parents who tragically lost their son and had to tirelessly battle complacency and inertia in the system in order to secure the justice that was rightfully theirs in the first place, then heroically set about helping others to realise their dreams of higher education. What a noble response to tragedy in the face of a system that for nearly two decades refused to provide this family with the justice that was their due. At present, the Trust is experiencing financial difficulty and the trustees are finding creative ways to fundraise. One cannot but marvel at the timing of this. It seems that the death of Stephen Lawrence is providing yet another opportunity for British Society to take a look at
itself and the way in which it operates – but this time, from a social, not legal point of view. The Stephen Lawrence Trust is currently struggling to meet its operating costs to help others in the year that Great Britain, toasting, celebrating and congratulating itself, will spend millions of pounds on Diamond Jubilee pomp and pageantry, not least of which is the possibility of one gift to the tune of 60 million pounds to be funded by corporate sponsors. One wonders whether these very generous corporate sponsors (for whom money is obviously no problem) have even heard of The Stephen Lawrence Trust, how and why it came into being, and what it currently does for others. As Stephen Lawrence’s brutal murder came to the attention of the world in 1993 and highlighted the defects in the British policing system, the Lawrences battled to get basic justice. Now, in 2012, the year of Britain’s staging of the Olympics and the year of The Diamond Queen, a new battle is being waged – to keep the Stephen Lawrence Trust going. In all this pomp and spending, is such a cause as the Stephen Lawrence Trust really going to be left unaided? Take note that it is a migrant that is at the heart of this burning question – a migrant is presenting yet another opportunity for Great Britain to take a good look at itself. Wouldn’t it be reassuring to know that as the eyes of the world behold the splendor of British celebrations, that the British social justice system is alive and functioning well and that the needs of basic, worthy causes are being met?
The Lawrences never gave up their fight to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice and, in the process, contributed to overhauling the methods used in British policing
The New Londoners
The London Ma
With the mayoral election coming up, Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone ha By Nerina Moris
They are hard working, good people and we need to learn from them Boris Johnson has frequently distanced himself from the main antimigration discourse of the Conservative Party. In December 2010, Johnson protested that plans to limit the number of migrants to Britain would put the recovery of the economy at risk. His views echo the concerns of business groups. In October 2011, answering questions from a Westminster audience, Johnson was said to question why migrant workers were more successful at getting jobs in the service industry, saying: “Look at the London service economy. Go to Pret a Manger. How many native Londoners serve you? Ask yourself, what’s going on?” And although the Evening Standard ran an article with the title “Young Londoners lose Pret jobs to migrants” stating that his comments “sought to reflect a sense of anger among many Londoners that so many young local
people are unemployed at a time when employers are still recruiting migrant workers”, Johnson was careful to state that ”There is a problem with young people in London who don’t have the educational attainment that they need, particularly in literacy.” In an interview with The Sun he added ”London is a fantastic creator of jobs but many of these jobs are going to people who don’t originate in this country. They are hard-working, good people and we need to learn from them and understand what it is that they have got that makes them able to get those jobs that young Londoners don’t have.” While Johnson’s stand on immigration focuses on the contribution of migrants to business, Livingstone welcomes cultural benefits of migration as well as the economic benefit. In a September 2010 interview with The First Pint website he said: “we
don’t just want foreigners to come here and invest; we would like you to bring your culture as well. The result is that we have a relaxed community that has come to terms with the fact that people are different.” He also talked about his work as a Mayor supporting the celebration of cultural differences by promoting events such as the Notting Hill Carnival, St. Patrick’s Day, and the Chinese and Russian New Year celebrations, where Londoners can enjoy different cultures. In the same interview Livingstone, like Johnson, praised the motivation of migrants. He said: “People who get off their back sides and come half-way around the world don’t come to stay in a bedsit, they’ve come to make their fortune. Asian immigrants generate over twice the economic benefit of an indigenous citizen, on average.”
The New Londoners
ayoral Race is on
ave a say about migration and the benefits it has brought the city of London. On the 3rd May Londoners will elect a new Mayor, and the 25 members of the London Assembly. There are around 5.8 million people registered and eligible to vote in the election. Any London resident who is a British, Republic of Ireland, Commonwealth or EU citizen, and 18 years old or over on 3rd May 2012, is entitled to vote in the elections. For those Londoners who are still not registered, the deadline for registration is midnight on Wednesday 18th April 2012. However, anyone who qualifies as an anonymous elector - generally a registered voter whose safety would be at risk if their details were available on a public electoral register - has until midnight on Thursday 26th April 2012 to register. The work of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly affects many areas of London’s life, such as policing, housing, planning, transport and the environment. The Mayor’s most influential area of decision making is transport, which is a key battleground point for the election.
Ken Livingstone has announced that he will cut fares by seven per cent. Livingstone and Johnson have both stated their intention to take charge of suburban rail services. The number of police officers on London streets is also a key point of debate. Ken Livingstone pledged to reverse Mr Johnson’s cuts to officer numbers, while Johnson says that there will be 1,000 more officers on the streets than when he was elected in 2008. Johnson also insists that the 32,000 police officers available in London are enough to police the city. Boris Johnson has also announced a cut in the mayor’s share of the council tax bill which will result in an average annual reduction of £3.10 per household. This will be the fourth election since the office of Mayor of London was created in 2000. The candidates for the three largest political parties are, current Mayor Boris Johnson for the Conservative Party, former Mayor Ken Livingstone for the Labour Party, and former Deputy Assistant Commissioner in the London Metro-
politan Police, and the United Kingdom’s most senior openly gay police officer, Brian Paddick who has been nominated by the Liberal Democrats. Other candidates are Jenny Jones for the Green Party, and independents Siobhan Benita, Zack Gilpin, Peter Lee and Wolfgang Moneypenny. There is also a migrant among the candidates, Uruguayan Carlos Cortiglia who, paradoxically, stands for the British National Party, a group known for its xenophobic discourse. Anyone wishing to be a candidate can submit a nomination by midday on Wednesday 28th March 2012 and a list of candidates will be published on Monday 2nd April 2012. Recent polls suggest that the election will be a close contest between Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson, just as it was in the previous mayoral contest in 2008. Candidates are urging Londoners to register to vote and make their opinion count. More information is available on www.comres.co.uk/polls/2/ political.htm and www.yougov.co.uk.
We don’t just want foreigners to come here and invest, we would like you to bring your culture as well
The New Londoners
The global no to capitalism The Occupy movement began in New York on September 2011 and since then protests have taken place in dozens of other countries all over the world. Sociologist Martin Shaw gives some insights on the nature of the movement and on its links to migration. Interview by Azita Jabbari Arabzadeh The Occupy movement began in New York on September 2011 and since then protests have taken place in dozens of other countries all over the world. Sociologist Martin Shaw gives some insights on the nature of the movement and on its links to migration. Protests inspired by the Occupy Wall Street Movement in New York spread quickly to other cities around the world last October, as tens of thousands of
people took to the streets to protest against corporate greed, growing inequality, and other perceived injustices of global capitalism. In London, anticapitalism protesters sat up their first protest camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral on October 15, but they have now been removed. Protesters are also angry at the government’s handling of the financial crisis, which has left hundreds of thousands of people unemployed, impoverished or homeless. To analyse the anti-capitalist protests in London, we interviewed British sociologist Martin Shaw, a senior lecturer and researcher in International Relations in London, Sussex and Barcelona, and a regular commentator about current issues on openDemocracy. net. A former member of the International Socialist Group, he himself was involved in two important anti-status quo movements during the 1960s: the student and anti-Vietnam War movements. You were part of the British socialist movement during the 60s and 70s, which also exposed capitalism’s flaws. Have these flaws remained the same? In the 1960s there were the beginnings of a crisis of the welfare-state and the Keynesian capitalism of the period after the Second World War.
This became more severe in the 1970s after the oil price shocks. However capitalism renewed itself in the 1980s in a more free-market form, became more dominated by financial markets, and became more globalized, especially after the collapse of the Communist bloc. Now that a series of huge financial bubbles have burst, we have had a massive crisis of the banking system that has become a crisis of state financing, especially in Europe. We are seeing new extremes of money grabbing by many bankers, politicians and others, which were not so apparent in the 1960s. And of course, not only the totalitarian Communist model, but any kind of socialist alternative has become more difficult to think about. This means that we have an anti-capitalist movement, but not a socialist movement like we had forty years ago. Why do you think we are seeing similar anti-capitalism protests around the globe? In an increasingly global world ideas spread very rapidly, and the problems we face are increasingly similar in many countries. The protests in the US were themselves preceded by the indignados in Spain, protests in Greece and Italy in the spring. Behind them lay the bigger inspiration of the democ-
racy movements in Arab countries. But we had worldwide movements in the 1960s too. So far, while the Arab movements are as big and world-shaking as the biggest movements of the 1960s and 1970s, the anti-capitalist movements in the West are much weaker. Although they are catching the public mood, they have not really engaged masses of people in action, which is why politicians can afford to patronise them. A big difference is that in the 1960s and 1970s, workers’ movements were strong, while today’s trade unions have not recovered from their decline in the 1980s and 1990s. The protesters say that one of the reasons for the growing inequality between the rich and the poor is that our democracy represents corporations instead of the people. Do you agree with them? Not entirely. Parliamentary democracy does offer us important tools to challenge social inequalities and we are not using them very well. Any effective movement for change will need to combine mass protest with using existing institutions. What are the drawbacks that capitalism has had for immigrants in your opinion? Global capitalism has of course provided huge opportunities for migration, but employers often exploit migrants’ vulnerability. I think, however, that the big danger today is that, with economic contraction, anti-immigrant parties and politicians will thrive. Theresa May’s recycling of a false anti-migrant story told by a UKIP leader was a recent straw in the wind in Britain. What do you think is the relationship between capitalism, wars and displaced people? The relationships between capitalism and war are complex, because the direct causes of wars are mainly political rather than economic. However armed conflicts occur today mainly in poor countries, and economic instability feeds conflict. People become refugees (or internally displaced) due to the insecurity caused by fighting and as a result of deliberate policies by
The New Londoners
Q&A with Khadija
I think, however, that the big danger today is that, with economic contraction, antiimmigrant parties and politicians will thrive some states and armed organisations to remove particular population groups. You have been closely involved in politics all your life, since you first joined the Labour Party in the 1960s. Protesters complain that we are ruled by a political elite who ignores its citizens. Why do you think they seem to have lost their trust in politics? These complaints are not very different from those we made in the 1960s. But clearly politicians across the Western world have failed even more spectacularly in the last decade, and are dramatically failing to manage the present crisis. What should the British government do in response to the protesters’ demands? There is not much point in saying what the Government should do about their demands, because clearly the Conservative party, which derives most of its funds from the City, is not seriously interested in equality. It will only make tactical responses to protest. We are in for a roller-coaster ride of deep economic, social and political crises. I think the question is whether and how a larger opposition movement could develop, which might reshape British politics and force the Government to respond to the enormous dissatisfaction that exists.
20 year-old Sudanese born Khadija Abdelhamid is a member of the British Youth Parliament and founder of the campaign Unity, which stands for Understanding Negative Issues Towards Youths. She talks about her battle against gun and knife crime. Interview by Helena Argyle
The New Londoners Magazine has met up with 20 year old Sudanese born campaigner Khadija Abdelhamid. Following a stint at the Brent Youth Parliament she is now taking her campaign, U.N.I.T.Y: Understanding.Negative.Issues.Towards. Youths, all over London and beyond, taking a stand against gun and knife crime. What inspired you to start Unity? Since I was little I have been passionate about making a difference in the world. But I never knew how I wanted to do this. So in 2007 when the news started to show youths being involved with gun and knife crime, I realised how serious it was. At the time I didn’t understand that much about gun and knife crime but I still had that flame inside of me. Unity started properly when I became part of the Brent Youth Parliament that is made up of 72 youths and runs for a year. The members come together every month to discuss issues affecting youths and how we, as members of the parliament can help. We can approach issues and youths better than adults as we are youths ourselves. One of the directors of BYP real-
ised how well my campaign for gun and knife crime was going and she suggested I write an article in the Brent and Kilburn times. I used this time to speak about gun and knife crime. The Brent and Kilburn Times liked what I had done and they offered to work with me and my campaign and asked me to write an article every 5 months, updating on my campaign. On 31st January 2011 Unity first officially started with a facebook forum page. At first I had ten friends but when the arcticle came out it went up. I now have 1500 friends. What do you actively do within Unity to further its cause? Every month I conduct questionnaires to youths and I ask questions about gun and knife crime. The first questionnaire I did I asked the question, ‘Why do you think gun and knife crime is on the increase?’ Also at the moment I am trying to get my charity sponsored, so I can get money to productively work with youths. This will open new doors for me. So what do you see in the future for your charity? I am attending a conference tomorrow
organised by the Met police that focuses on gun and knife crime in the Muslim and Somalian community. I am going to attend and make a ten minute presentation about what Unity is about. In the future I want to open youth spaces with the first one being in Wembley and then from there based on its success, I want to start up youth centres in other boroughs. You are originally from Sudan. How has your family supported you? My mum and dad have been more than supportive. They have helped me out financially like paying for my travel. My dad attended a gun and knife crime event that I went to last year because I told him it would be good for him to see what I do. Obviously parents get scared when you’re involved with something like gun and knife crime. He liked the event. He saw all the work I had done and all the connections I had made. He saw how passionate I am. What do you, following your extensive research, think are the main causes behind gun and knife crime? I have found that a lot of youths vocalise a lack of support. But as a Londoner I feel there is only so much support they can get. They don’t go to youth centres, they’re not motivated enough. They want that little push. A lot of crime is to do with money. They see the prospects of going to school and further education but that is in the long run. There is a sense of ‘How do I get money now?’ There is no sense of working, persevering for your rewards. Rather than further education more practical training is needed for young people. I think this would help. Often they don’t have a role model at home. They come from a broken home and there is a lack of guidance.
Khadija is working with Dark Falcon Productions producing a short documentary film over the next month that will focus on real youths involved with gun and knife crime.
The New Londoners
A Day in the Life
Farida Stanikzai is an engineer and political refugee from Afghanistan. She manages a project at the Refugee Council, helping create job opportunities for refugees. London is her home. By Gary Buswell “I came to the UK in 1996 as a political refugee. I come from Afghanistan but due to problems in my country I emigrated in 1993 to Pakistan where I set up a women’s group for Afghan refugees in Peshawar, close to the Afghan border. This caused problems and it wasn’t safe for me to stay so I came to live with my sister who was in London. When I first arrived here I knew very little about life in the UK. My asylum application was made in-country so I was not entitled to any financial support. My brother was also here as a student and was working part-time. He used to try to give me money but I didn’t want to take it as I knew he couldn’t afford it, so I often used to tell him I had money when in fact I had none.
Within two weeks of arriving I managed to find work as a volunteer on two projects helping refugees. I also enrolled on an English Language course at Southgate College. They invited me for an assessment. It was in January and very cold. I went with my sister but neither of us had money to take public transport so we left early in the morning and walked there. It took us two hours. I remember back then colleges would pay for student travel expenses and they gave us 10 pounds to get home, but somehow we misplaced the money so had to walk back home too! My work background is in engineering. I studied in Afghanistan for five years and wanted to find work as an engineer but my qualification from back home is not recognised here. I
couldn’t enrol on a course here as I was still an asylum seeker and not allowed into mainstream education. Soon after getting my refugee status I managed to find paid employment at the Refugee Council. Although I lacked experience I was able to convince them to give me a chance. I set up a training partnership project to encourage employers to recognise transferable skills of refugees. The project was set up from scratch and I was so happy to be able to represent refugees here. Helping refugees integrate and creating opportunities for them is my passion and I’m always amazed by the commitment of those I work with, especially volunteers. I really like living in London. It’s a fantastic city and as a Muslim woman I don’t feel discriminated against here.
EU Project calls for submissions of articles and photographs Media4us is a new European-wide project coordinated in the UK by the Migrants Resource Centre. Through the publication of news content, online and in print, media4us aims to highlight the work of journalists from migrant backgrounds and journalists reporting fairly on topics relating to migrants. The project is producing a news media website and requires news articles, photos, video or other content from journalists and citizen journalists. A selection of news articles submitted to the website and the winning photo from the project’s upcoming competition will also be published in a special insert in the Metro in autumn 2012. Help make migrants’ participation and contributions to society more visible. Get your voice heard through media4us. Contact saraw@ migrants.org.uk for info.
It’s very multicultural and I have been able to retain my culture and also take positive things from British culture. I feel that it’s harder for migrants to come to the UK now. The government keeps making laws tougher and there’s less funding for migrant organisations. The media are often negative towards migrants but many people don’t realise how difficult it is to leave your home country. You have everything back home and suddenly you have to start again. You have to be patient and tolerant to prove yourself. When I first arrived I felt I was not capable of competing with people here but I’m much more confident now. I have lots of English friends and feel very settled. London is my home now”.
The New Londoners
James Mathison moves to Chile and tells his story
In 2007, I moved to Chile with my wife. I had been here twice before for holidays and I liked the countryside, the people, and most of all I liked the idea of moving from Britain. If I were to list what I like most about Chile, I would have to say the vast rural areas, the small villages, and the proximity to the sea and the mountains. The people havenâ€™t disappointed me at all. They are warm, friendly and helpful, although in their eagerness to be helpful they may sometimes leave you more confused then when you started! What do I dislike about Chile? The lack of books is a problem, as Chilean people are not avid readers. New books are extremely pricey, with a poor selection available, and it is difficult to find secondhand and affordable ones. The other difficulty with Chile is that the cost of living is very expensive. The supermarket prices are virtually the same as those in Britain, however we do not have the same low-price outlets here, and the prices are the same in all of the supermarket chains. This is particularly serious as Chilean salaries are 5 to 8 times lower
than in Britain and I do wonder how people live with such low salaries and high prices. Household running costs are again the same as in Britain, and in some cases more expensive. If anyone is thinking of coming to Chile to live cheaply, forget about it. Since I arrived less than five years ago, groceries prices have increased by almost 300%, and petrol has risen in price from 70 pence to ÂŁ1.10 a litre. The job market too is very different. There is no central place where lots of jobs are advertised like a British Job Centre. Here, a few newspapers carry job listings but most of the jobs are never advertised. The system works by sending your CV blindly to where you aspire to work or, more commonly, by having a friend arrange a job for you where they work. One of the main sources of employment for expats is in the teaching of English. However the market is very competitive as a large number of Chilean professionals study to be English teachers. University teachers are generally employed on a 6-month or one-year contract and paid on
A Brit Abroad in Chile
a self-employed basis, so no pension or health insurance is included. So yes, it is difficult for a foreigner to earn decent money working in Chile - even as a teacher of English you may find yourself underemployed. There are opportunities in specialist areas such as mining, and those engineers who continue to be paid British salaries in Pounds Sterling may continue to do well, although the exchange rate has dropped some 25% since I arrived here. Many people are employed in farming and this can be a good business to be in if you can get a good price for your produce. However, as elsewhere, large buyers are notorious for keeping prices to farmers low, and there are problems associated with the dumping of cheap and subsidised produce in Chile. While you may need to accept a lower standard of living in Chile this is not necessarily a major problem. There is a different quality of life here that offers many advantages over what may be considered an overly efficient and regimented way of life in Britain and the rest of Europe. Health care is of a high standard here
but is not free. You need to have good health insurance or other means of paying for any treatment you may need. If you need to drive in Chile I would recommend a large car or truck with a high level of safety features. Road quality is poor in many areas, and standards of driving are not to European levels, which means that there are many road-accident related deaths here. While I do sometimes miss the culture and the historical character of the old world I have, over time, become accustomed to the very different way of life here. Chile feels freer than Europe with fewer petty regulations and taxes than you have in the UK. There is no social security system in Chile so you have to generate your own income. This lack of a benefits safety net means that Chileans still retain their family support structures. This, in my view, is a positive thing when compared to the reduction in importance of the family in UK society over the years. All in all I am happy I moved to Chile, but then I married a Chilean so this wasnâ€™t a completely foreign country to me.
The New Londoners
Despite a rollercoaster life:
George Michae My father is one of those seduced by England in the â€˜50s, and London remains the most convincing example of a melting pot in the world
The New Londoners
el still has faith He is one of the biggest international stars and one of the most famous personalities from the Greek Cypriot community. By Ellen Davis Grefberg Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou was born in June 1963 in Edgware. His father, a Greek Cypriot and his English mother owned a restaurant. “Work was their religion”, George later said in interviews. Georgios father Jack Panos called his son’s plans to be a singer the “indulgence of a British-born boy who hadn’t tasted hard Cypriot work”. He also thought Georgios lacked the talent. There was an extremely hard working ethos in the family. George battled his father all through his career. “It’s a good coincidence, in a way, to have both musical ability and a lack of self-belief, a kind of damage that drives you on like an insane person.” Jack Panos rose from sharing a single room with seven people in Cyprus to a good standard of living in the UK, even when George became one of the most famous people in the world, it was never good enough for his father. Georgios became a popstar by forming the pop duo Wham! with his friend Andrew Ridgeley in 1981. He later referred to this period as: “littered with screaming girls, fluorescent pink posing-pouches, and unimaginably white teeth.” Wham! sold 25 million records and Georgios created an alter ego that was far removed from the insecure boy from Edgware. But George couldn’t get sufficiently far away from Georgios. He came to realise that behind the image of the happy, straight, party-like-there’sno-tomorrow alter-ego, was a deeper need. George was gay. The band split in 1986 and George embarked on a solo career. Major success came with the help of Aretha Franklin and the song ’I knew you were waiting for me‘. The duo won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance. Faith, Michael’s first solo album came out in 1987. Three years later he released ’Listen without prejudice’, a more stern album where George Michael sought to create a reputation as a serious-minded artist. During his 1991 tour he spotted a man in the audience, Anselmo Feleppa, who would become Michael’s partner and first true love. Six months into their relationship Anselmo discovered he had HIV. The pain is said to have contributed to George Michael giving one of the best performances of his career at the 1991 Queen tribute concert for Freddie Mercury. “Can you try to imagine being any lonelier than that?” he later said. “Try to imagine that you fought with your own sexuality to the point that you’ve lost half your twenties. And you’ve finally
found a real love, and six months in, it’s devastating. I’m standing on stage, paying tribute to one of my childhood idols who died of that disease... the isolation was just crazy.” In 1998 George Michael was arrested in entrapment operation ‘pretty police’ in a Los Angeles toilet for “engaging in a lewd act” with an undercover police officer. George did community service, paid his ticket, and soon afterwards openly admitted he was gay. Michael made a video for his single “Outside” based on the public toilet incident and featuring men dressed as policemen kissing. His career in America never recovered after that. Despite not having released any new music in the last few years, George Michael is still touring and performing. Over the course of his career he has sold over 100 million records. He has been announced as one of the final nominees for the 2012 induction into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. In December 2011 George Michael contracted pneumonia and barely made it out alive. “It was by far the worst month in my life” he stated on 23 December in a speech outside his home in London where he talked about his recovery and thanked the Vienna General Hospital staff for saving his life, “I have to believe that someone thinks I still have some work to do here.”
The New Londoners
To experience Greek Cyprus in London Attend a wedding. The bride and groom dance and hundreds of guests pin money on them. The money dance is a symbol of future prosperity and wealth. Visit the wine festival in Alexandra Palace, a two day event taking place in June. You get the chance to discover all things Cypriot, including soutzouko (candy made from grape must and walnuts) souvlakia (grilled meat on a scewer) and commandaria (sweet Cypriot dessert wine). In London the festival is not celebrated when the sun comes out but when it rains.
The New Londoners
My Greek Cypriot London Most of the Greek speaking population in London comes from the sunny island of Cyprus. The blue shores are allegedly the birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, who rose from the foam of a wave. By Ellen Davis Grefberg Greek Cypriots first migrated to Britain during the 1920s and 1930s for economic reasons, and found work in Soho’s catering industry. The increase in post-war rents forced many Cypriots to move from central London, further north, settling in Camden and then Haringey. Author Robert Winder claimed that Haringey became the second biggest Cypriot town in the world. The biggest inflow of Greek Cypriots began in 1960 when Cyprus ceased to be a colony of Britain. An expectation of the turbulent years to follow on the island, combined with fears of restricted migration opportunities to Britain, encouraged many to emigrate. Greek Cypriots became involved in the ladieswear industry and owned most of the dress factories in the 60s and 70s.
In 1974 a Turkish invasion resulted in the division of Cyprus and a further influx of Greek Cypriots to London. Many settled down in financially accessible areas: Hackney, Haringey, Enfield and Southgate. As they became better off some moved to more upmarket areas such as Palmers Green and Wood Green in North London. There are an estimated 300,000 Greeks Cypriots living in London. They live side by side with Turkish Cypriots. In Palmers Green or “Palmers Greek” Turkish and Greek shops sit next to each other. Turkish and Greek Cypriots sip their coffee in Cypriot cafés. Many Cypriots agree that the problem never was been between Greeks and Turks but between superpowers. Intermarriage between the Greek and Turkish communities was not uncommon before the island was divided.
The New Londoners
London Greek Radio
How a radio station with humble beginnings now provides the heartbeat to London’s Greek community. By Ellen Davis Grefberg London Greek Radio broadcasts to educate, inspire and entertain the Greek community in London. The station also helps third generation Greek Cypriots discover their roots. Walk into a shop or restaurant owned by a Greek or Cypriot Londoner and the chances are London Greek Radio will be playing in the background. London Greek Radio is the only Greek and English language radio station in the world. It started airing in 1983 as a pirate station and became legitimate six years later. In 1993 LGR began airing 24 hours a day with broadcasts from Cyprus between 12 AM and 6 AM. Famous Greek Cypriots on air have included George Michael, Anthony Costa and Peter Andre. LGR reports on the news happening in London, Cyprus and Greece. It also produces musical, educational and cultural programmes that educate and enter-
tain its 300 000 listeners. LGR plays the latest Greek songs, international hits and traditional Greek music. London Greek radio is currently based in Finchley. Its audience consists of Greek Cypriots, mainland Greeks, Turkish, Armenian and Maronite Cypriots. The station is also heard by many English and British born listeners as well as members of other ethnic communities. London Greek Radio calls itself “The heartbeat of the Greek Community”. Cypriot born Vasilis Panayis has worked for London Greek Radio for the last twenty years. He says people will call in to talk about almost anything, even to ask what bus to take or where to find a good doctor. Currently a lot of callers are concerned with the difficult situation in Greece. London Greek Radio is organising a fundraiser together with the Mayor of Athens during which listeners will be asked to donate clothes, food and money to be sent to Athens.
Afelia Afelia is a traditional Cypriot food. It is pork marinated and cooked in red wine with coarsely crushed coriander seed. Afelia is usually served with bulgur and yogurt. Pork 3 cups Red wine 2 heaped tablespoons of Coriander Seeds 1/4 cup Olive Oil Salt and Pepper Marinate the pork. Put the sliced pork in a bowl and add 1 1/2 cups red wine. Coarsely crush 1 heaped tablespoon of coriander seeds and mix with the pork and red wine. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry. Reserve all of the marinade. In a heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Lightly brown the pork on all sides, a few pieces at a time if neccesay. Pour the marinade along with the remaining 1/2 cup of red wine and just enough water to barely cover the pork. Season lightly with salt
and pepper, keeping in mind that the braising liquid will be reduced. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and braise for about 2 hours, or until the pork is fork-tender. Add more water during braising if necessary. About 20 minutes before removing the pork from the heat, coarsely crush the remaining heaped tablespoon of coriander seeds and sprinkle over the pork. Reduce the braising liquid until thick. Serve hot with crusty olive bread, rice or couscous.
The New Londoners
Daphne On Bayham Street in Camden Town lies a little Greek Cypriot restaurant called Daphne. Walking into a warm and friendly atmosphere, one of the first things we notice is extensive writing on blackboards. The menu looks disturbingly long. Our very friendly waiter calmly suggests the meze grill for two to get properly introduced to the Greek Cypriot kitchen. Meze grill includes a range of dip sauces, tzatziki, hummus but also tarama short for taramasalata – a traditional Cypriot dish of cod’s roe sauce, to start with before moving on to the actual starters and finishing off with a main course from the grill. The calamari did not wow me but the spicy loukanika sausages are really good. I only have to mention scallops to get a dish of those as well, perfectly cooked in garlic (and not put on the tab) washed down with half a bottle of Shiraz and a great Cypriot lager “KEO”. We are advised to take a break before the main course (a sure sign of what
is to come) and are being left to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. It amazes me how many customers are greeted as old friends. The standard of the service is high and it comes as no shock that the vast majority of Daphne’s clientele are regulars. Eventually we are ready. In comes pork souvlaki, chicken shaslik (scewer), lamb cutlets and sheftalia,(a sort of rolled minced pork with onion and fresh parsley). Being full from the other dishes I could not manage more than a taste. The meal is rounded off with yoghurt, honey, nuts, some Turkish delight (on the house) and fresh mint tea. Daphne is a perfect restaurant for great service, good food and a friendly atmosphere. Before our next visit, I won’t eat anything for days. The bill came to £56 for two. Price half wine bottle: £10 Main courses: £12 Meze grill: £17.50
A British Cypriot View of Art
Michael Paraskos, a freelance journalist, talks about what art means to him
A few years ago I had dinner with Terry Atkinson, a member of a well known art group called Art and Language. Terry had just returned from a series of art fairs around the world. I asked him whether he thought art was still different in different countries. ‘No,’ he said in his gruff Yorkshire accent. ‘It’s the same everywhere now.’ I didn’t believe that then and I do not believe it now. Art is rooted in our experience of the world as individuals. It grows from who we are, where we find ourselves and where we come from. By that I do not mean art illustrates or even expresses these things. It simply grows from them. For me those roots lie in the nebulous world of British Cypriotness. I am neither quite British nor Cypriot, but somehow both; and if the British side of that identity has given me a strong sense of the importance of art to society (think of the attitude to art seen in great British writers like John Ruskin and Herbert Read), so my Cypriotness has given me a particular notion of contemporary art that is original and challenging. For much of the past century the mainstream view of art has been that works of art are trying to tell us something about our world. They are seen as illustrations of ideas, feelings, events, views or other things that already exist. This has diminished the idea of originality and creativity in art. But this conception of art has always seemed to me to be too limiting. It suggests we cannot think original thoughts, or create new things. Instead we are doomed to repeat the things that already exist, with the best hope being
to rearrange them in different ways, but never to create something new. I find that a depressing thought that doesn’t really tally with my experience of life. In recent years I have worked with my good friend Clive Head, a British artist who exhibited at the National Gallery in London last year, to challenge this nihilistic notion of art. In doing so we have both been drawn to my Cypriot background, and in particular the traditions of art in the Greek Orthodox Church. Although many people wrongly assume Greek Orthodox icon painting is unchanging and therefore uncreative, what is important about Orthodox icons for modern art is not the stylistic tradition, but the philosophy that underpins them. As the theologian Ernst Benz once wrote; for the Orthodox, the icon is seen as a kind of ‘window between the earthly and celestial worlds.’ What this has triggered in my own thoughts over the last decade is an idea that contemporary art can be seen in a similar way, not as reflecting things that already exist in our world but as revealing things outside it. That will probably sound very religious, and I do not deny it stems from a specifically religious view of the world rooted in my Cypriot origins. If I had been a Protestant from Hanover I would be unlikely to think these things. But I do not think the concept of art showing us alternative realities requires a belief in God. The extraordinary icons you see in churches in Cyprus are predicated on faith in God; but what if the faith you needed for art was simply a belief that the artist can
create something that does not exist? The function of the artist would then be to create alternative realities that are convincing, no matter how extraordinary and unlike our world they might seem. For me this developing theory of art seems disturbingly normal. It gives art a functional base that helps to explain its existence in the long history of human culture. The artist, in a sense, dreams new worlds for society in the way the icon painters of Cyprus dreamed of
heaven for the Orthodox faithful. Yet I know those who have placed so much store in the dominant understanding of art find my ideas threatening. In a lecture on this at an art school in central London a couple of years ago an angry student threatened to throw me out of a window. But increasingly people seem to be finding time to listen to this alternative notion of art even though it grows from my very specific British Cypriot experience of life.
The New Londoners
A Comedy of few Errors
Lenny Henry shines in the role of Antipholus of Syracuse in the play The Comedy of Errors. By Vicky Ilankovan If you were to mention the name Lenny Henry to the average member of the British public, the first thing to pop into their heads would most likely be a farcical image of a towering black man, sporting a Comic Relief red nose while delivering stand-up strewn with funny voices through a permanently etched smile. This is the Lenny we know and love. However his performance as Othello in 2009 marked the beginning of a new chapter in Mr Henry’s career - that of the Shakespearean actor. His performance floored audience members and critics alike, as he commanded the stage, lending true gusto and passion to the role of Moor. His success playing one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragic heroes makes it no wonder that he was asked to be in one of the Bard’s earliest comedies, The Comedy of Errors. Lenny plays Antipholus of Syracuse, one of two identical twins who were separated at birth and puzzlingly share the same name. The comic errors begin when Lenny’s character arrives in the same city as his long-lost brother played by the slightly trimmer Chris Jarman - resulting in a series of incidents of mistaken identity including matrimonial mistaking, wrongful arrests, chases, punch-ups, beat-downs and all manner of tom-foolery aided by the Dromios the other set of twins who are the respective servants of the Antipholus twins. Confused already? That’s half the fun. Director Dominic Cooke partially mitigates the audience’s bewilderment by having Lenny and his Dromio (Lucian Msamati) put on thick African accents while the resident master and servant are more London than anything. The wife of Lenny’s counterpart, Adriana (Claudie Blakely) and her sister Luciana (Michelle Terry) are presented as a couple of blonde, fake-tanned, squawking Essex girls, teetering about in impressively high-heels, adding a further comic dimension to the play. Amit Shah works brilliantly in the role of the goldsmith Angelo and the
musical rabble that traipses onstage every time there is a scene change are a truly spectacular addition. However, Lenny remains the one to watch, bringing all the charm and humour from his stand-up character and somehow seamlessly transitioning them into the role of Antipholus. Although his accent seems a little too contrived, he cuts a convincing
yet comical figure, playing up the African influence with some magnificent sounds, dances and religious signing, all the while using his face in a typically exaggerated Lenny-esque manner so that it alone is enough to make the audience roar with laughter. The slap-stick fight scenes between Lenny’s character and his Dromio, as
well as the ambulance chase scene are fantastically choreographed, yet what makes the production a success are the moments of silent emotional connection. The reunion scene between the Antipholus twins’ father and mother are heartwrenchingly moving; Pamela Nomvete delivers Shakespeare’s lines perfectly, bringing out all the subtle nuances of the language to fill the theatre with the hush of pathos. The only negative note was the performance of Ian Burfield as Solinus, Duke of Ephesus. Burfield opened the play by shouting out his lines in a manner reminiscent of a Guy Richie film character, without much of the talent. He similarly shatters the spell woven by the reunion of the long-separated family by ineloquently spitting out his lines and jolting the audience out of their state of peace. Luckily, he is not awarded the final lines and the closing scene is rescued by the Dromios and the Antipholus twins who display the sweet and banterous side of brotherly ties, sending the audience off with a smile on their faces.
The New Londoners
The Diamond Jubilee:
Time for a celebration and for a discussion On 6th February 1952 following the death of her father King George VI, Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary became Queen Elizabeth II. 2012 marks her Diamond Jubilee, the 60th year of her accession to the throne and over the course of the year Great Britain will partake in a series of celebrations to honour this. The celebrations range from ceremonial events and performances to charitable and environmental projects being set up. The Queen has ruled for 60 years over the latter part of a revolutionary century and still the traditional roles and values of the British monarchy are upheld. The institution acts as a constitutional mon-
archy, so rather than being a governing body, a job taken upon by parliament, its role is more one of ceremony and as a representative of Great Britain. Are we clinging on to an old fashioned establishment that we don’t need or is The Queen still a central and integral part of our national identity and pride? Opinions are naturally divided over the modern day relevance of the Royal family. Iman Achara, an artist and an independent think tank professional from Nigeria tells The New Londoners how she feels immensely grateful to the Queen: “I feel honoured to be a witness to such an historical event and achievement. Achievement, because it is no mean feat,
to survive on the throne and still be loved by over a quarter of the world’s population after sixty years on the throne”. The Queen is not just queen of England, but of the Commonwealth, comprising a diversity of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and indigenous people. We have tremendous love and affection for Queen Elizabeth II, her indefatigable work, charity and benevolence to all. As a result of her extensive travels to distant parts of the world, people have been exposed to different cultures and way of life. In turn migrants who have made it to these shores have been able to integrate into the British society and contribute to its fabric of life. Migrants have contributed
to the British economy, culture, religion and cuisine which have enriched British society. It is auspicious that in the year we are celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, we shall also be hosting the Olympics and Paralympics in London. Londoners should feel proud to be hosting these two momentous events and should go out en masse to support and show the world, what a truly diverse and exciting city this is.” What is your opinion? Have your say on The New Londoners website, or follow the debate via twitter @newlondoners and our facebook.
Long live the Queen
Diamond Jubilee - a special occasion to show our gratitude to the monarchy or just enjoy the holiday? By Gary Buswell The British Monarchy. It’s something that only really enters public consciousness these days whenever there’s a royal wedding, a death or a jubilee. So with the Queen preparing to celebrate 60 years on the throne in June, it’s probably time for the discussions to start again. Back when Queen Victoria reached her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, things were slightly different. Ideas of Britishness were constructed around allegiance to the royals (despite the family having mixed European heritage) and the occasion was used to lavishly promote Britain’s global empire. A century later the empire has gone, the population has changed and there is less deference towards such institutions. Politicians remain fixated with concepts of Britishness but nobody seems certain exactly what this is. So how does Britain’s significant and diverse migrant population - often pes-
tered for their thoughts on Britishness feel about the monarchy? Given that those applying for citizenship have to pledge an oath of allegiance to the Queen, does that make them feel more obliged to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee? Of course, many from all backgrounds support the monarchy and will join in the June celebrations as they did last year’s royal wedding. Writing in the Muslim Post, founder of the East London Communities Organisation, Muhammad Abdul Bari refers to the forthcoming Jubilee as “an historic occasion for not only Britain but across the Commonwealth”. The Queen enjoys significant popularity across the globe and many see her as an ambassador for supposedly British values such as fairness, tolerance and respect. There are also those who have lived under dictatorships who may appreciate the role constitutional monarchy can
play in limiting government excesses. But support is far from unanimous. To many on the political left, the monarchy is viewed as an archaic feudal relic whose systems of hierarchy and hereditary power are out of place in a modern multicultural democracy. Among those not in favour of monarchy is writer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, who refers to herself as a “staunch republican”. Another is the poet Benjamin Zephaniah (British-born son of Caribbean immigrants) who once turned down an OBE on the grounds that it represented a continuing link between monarchy and empire an empire which he said reminded him of slavery and brutality. For Zephaniah, the British Monarchy is symbolic of elitism and “the ruling class and the oppression they visit upon us”. It cannot be separated from its colonial history in which white rulers imposed them-
selves in foreign lands and saw themselves as superior to natives. Zephaniah did add that he had nothing against the Queen herself or the current royal family, just the institution of monarchy. These days, however, the most common response to discussions about royalty is a disinterested shrug of the shoulders. It probably explains why most people only remember they’re there when they’re on our TV screens for marriages, funerals or anniversaries. In a recent poll only 38% of Brits saw the royal family as important to Britishness yet only 18% supported a republic. Perhaps a poll of British migrants would reveal similar results and when June comes, rather than waving flags or protesting against the whole charade, the majority of people from all cultures will feel nothing more than gratitude at the extra couple of days holiday.
The New Londoners
Oval house art club
More a family than a club. By Helena Argyle
Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress (by Sarwat Chadda) Review by Carrie Drummond
Ash Mistry, a geeky 13-year-old from West Dulwich, would much rather have stayed at home for his summer holidays - laughing and belching with his mates, crowded round the video game console. Instead, his Uncle Vikram has brought him and his annoying younger sister, Lucky, to India – to take up a dream job with the mysterious Lord Savage. Ash immediately suspects there is something wrong with the eccentric millionaire. Soon he finds himself in a desperate battle to stop Savage’s master plan – the opening of the Iron Gates that have kept Ravana, the demon king, at bay for millennia.
Even though he is merely a tourist in his ancestral homeland, India has a big impact on Ash. England did castles, but not like India did castles. India’s castles could have come straight out of The Lord of the Rings. They were vast and intricate. Halls filled with statues and fountains and gardens of wandering peacocks. The fortresses weren’t built for horses, but elephants. India didn’t do small, intimate and quiet. Just beneath the tourist veneer, Ash accidentally discovers another India – one inhabited by mythological beasts, who do not have his best interests at heart. ‘Mayar pulled off his white jacket, revealing a torso covered in dense green scales. Heavy lumps encrusted his snout-like jaw lined with crocodile teeth. He too lowered himself down to all-fours, and a long, thick tail tore itself out from his trouser seat.’ Fortunately, Ash finds some help along the way. There’s Rishi, the skinny old holy man; alluring Parvati, the half-human, half-reptile girl; and most importantly, the Kali-aastra, a golden arrowhead that everyone is trying to get their hands on. It’s the key to opening the Iron Gates. Win or lose - there’s one thing for sure - by the end of the story, Ash Mistry is no longer an overfed, computer-obsessed kid from London. He’s tougher, sharper and much wiser. India has truly awakened him.
The ‘We Are London Arts Club’ runs every Saturday afternoon for three hours at the Ovalhouse Theatre in Kennington, South London. The club welcomes young people, 14-22 years old, from around the world to come down and be part of their ‘family’. The New Londoners popped down one Saturday to check it out. Ovalhouse Theatre stands proudly behind the Oval cricket ground and is a bustling hub of creatitivity and positivity. On a frosty Saturday afternoon we found Stella Barnes and her team putting together the final plan for the drama workshop that will take place within the next hour. A sense of warmth and friendliness pervades as the team huddles together over tea and biscuits to discuss today’s agenda and welcomes the young performers as they arrive. The enthusiasm of the club members is clear. Celestino from Equatorial New Guinea has attended the workshops pretty much since he arrived in London. With his sights set on becoming a film director, he has taken the opportunity to get involved with many of the short film projects that the company runs, in addition to attending the Saturday workshops. Having secured a place on an apprenticeship scheme through the Ovalhouse Theatre, he is now studying filmmaking at college and is well on his way to achieving his dream. Speaking to the young performers reveals a common theme in their experience of the club - that of ‘friendship’ and ‘family’. Soli, of Egyptian and Sudanese background, shyly admits that he has been attending the club for a few years. Stella overhears and engages in some friendly banter ”No, Soli, I have known you for ten years. I’ve known you since you were a little boy.” Soli rolls his eyes and smiles. Everyone laughs. Warm greetings are exchanged and it is evident that some students and teachers have known each other for many years, however even those who are here for the first time are warmly welcomed and treated kindly. The performers stand in the typical dramatic circle taking turns at stepping into the circle and ‘acting’ how they feel. No words, no explanations, just the freedom to express emotion through their bodies. The rest of the group joins in, interpreting and developing the theme. Immediately the potential for performance as means of social change become apparent. Many of the young people attending have troubled histories. Workshops, such as the ones run by Stella, allow them to put their pasts behind them and move forward. John, another staff member, is keen to share his point of view. ”I have worked with Stella for twelve years now, and the work we do is so important to enriching these children’s lives. Some of them have attended and afterwards told me that that was the first time they laughed. The ability to express themselves through drama is so important to these children.” The family atmosphere continues to the end of the afternoon when the group share a meal together. Witnessing the warm caring nature of the group, it is clear why so many of these kids come back to the We Are London Arts Club each week. With roots back to the 1930’s Ovalhouse has been at the forefront of cutting edge theatre, focusing on what its artistic policy describes as the ‘antiheroes and underdogs’. With a string of political and socially conscious plays under its belt, it also strives to seek artistic participation from a wide range of willing performers.
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The Rebirth of Hip Hop Newcomer Silas Zephania is not your regular Hip Hop Artist. Instead he talks about real life issues on his critically acclaimed album, War Begins. By Edie Romero Looking for local talent? Tired of seeing and hearing people portraying Hip Hop as dead? Are you tired of rappers infatuated with guns, bling, and misogynistic 16-bar verses? If you turn away from mainstream stations, ignore the top-ten charts and do a little digging for yourself, you might find an artist going by the name of Silas Zephania. Silas the apostle, Zephania the prophet - rather than preach his aim is to inspire, by combining politics and philosophy in his music. Silas is a prominent MC who has been working hard on the UK underground Hip Hop circuit. In his 20s, having already independently released an EP and an album, and worked with other successful artists and producers, he seems assured of a successful future. Listening to Silas reveals that he is a proud Londoner, born in Zimbabwe, and retaining strong ties to his African roots. Inspired by revolutionaries from Malcolm X to Che Guevara as well as being a true Hip Hop fan, he draws inspiration from early- to mid-90s classic Hip Hop, the influence of which can be heard clearly in his music. His drive is to raise the standards of UK Hip Hop, focusing on thoughtprovoking songs that evoke ideas and generate discussion, rather than the more commercial aspects of the indus-
try. Delivering social awareness and conscientious lyrics via incredible beats (produced by German producer Politiks), he is focused and respectful of the lyrical art form of true Hip Hop, while passionately striving to move you. Without losing the essential fun of music making, his art reflects on what society can be and what humanity can achieve. His lyrical abilities, supported by powerful production, address and challenge issues such as prostitution, racism and poverty. ‘Happy Thoughts’ (from the ‘A Microphones Intellect’ EP) is a powerful song built around the experiences of fatherhood and the hardships of being raised fatherless. Silas draws much inspiration from the great American writer Frederick Douglass, relating his words to today’s society. From Douglass comes the title of his latest album ’War Begins Where Reason Ends’. Here, he has honed his craft to deliver an uplifting and encouraging message of social understanding through songs such as: “Nationality” – celebrating his African heritage and its history. The track begins “I’m not ashamed of who I am, I’m proud to be African”. The song
Address and challenge issues such as prostitution, racism, and poverty
also aims to teach all people about the beauty of the Motherland and its enormous contribution to the word throughout history. It is guaranteed to instill pride among all Africans and people who have African blood in them. Katia – deals with the difficult subject of the sex trafficking of a young women forcibly taken to work as a prostitute. Our Music Our Art – explains how the Hip Hop culture has embodied multiculturalism since its beginnings and reveals how its true nature has been misrepresented by the mainstream
media. Silas defends the positive side of Hip Hop culture, in a time when rap music is often blamed for the ills in society. Women of Liberia – presents the experience of the Women of Peace, a core of women who protested for peace during the 13-year civil war in Liberia. ‘War Begins …’ has been picking up some rave reviews. It will not disappoint long-term Hip Hop fans and will introduce new listeners to a side of the genre they may have previously missed out on.
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Farah’s plan for Olympics Mo Farah on track to win at the Olympics and why London is still special. By Nerina Moris
Mo Farah has been spending time in training camps in Kenya and France with other athletes, like his longstanding friend and mentor Paula Radcliffe and has taken part in charity visits to Somalia. It’s been two years since The New Londoners interviewed British gold medallist and Olympics favourite Mo Farah for our autumn 2010 issue. At the time, he talked about his plans to take part in the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 London Olympics. He also told us how he struggled with his English when he first came to Britain from war-torn Somalia at the age of 8 and how running helped him to “mix with people and get stronger”.
Since we last spoke to him, Farah, a contender for gold in the London Olympics later this year, continued to achieve remarkable success. To the two gold medals he won in July 2010 at the European Championships (10,000m & 5,000m), he added a silver and a gold award at the 10,000m and 5,000m World Championships in Daegu, South Korea last year. In 2011 he was also a champion at the New York half-marathon and won a gold medal at the European Indoor 3000m. In addition, he established a British record with 26:46.57 at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon. His considerable achievements
made him a favourite for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year poll presented on December 2011 in London, where he was one of the finalists. On Saturday 28th January, Mo Farah, who is primarily a long distance runner, demonstrated his versatility by achieving a victory in the 1500m at the indoor Aviva International Match in Glasgow, Scotland. His accomplishments are not restricted to running. After his victory in Glasgow, Farah went to the ITV studios to take part in the show The Cube where he won a quarter of a million pounds for the charitable foundation he recently launched in his own
name to boost aid relief in his native Somalia. His professional life has taken him away from London. Since February 2011 he has been training with legendary coach Alberto Salazar at Nike’s futuristic distance running complex in Portland, Oregon, where he moved with his wife Tania and his daughter Rhiana. London however is a special place for Farah. He said to the Evening Standard: “Although I live in the US I’ll always be a Londoner. It’s where I started as a runner. The city has treated me well. It’s a very accepting city and that will help during the Olympics.”
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Dover House Lions How a small football club is improving the lives of children in South West London. By Georgie Knaggs Eddie Leroux and Anita Russell founded the Dover House Lions FC club in 2006. They train every Saturday morning. “We saw that children from the estate had nothing to do on weekends so that’s how it started. We began really small and we have grown into something really rather large.” Eddie is Mauritian, while Anita is of Irish descent, married to a Jamaican and with a Maltese grandchild. “Everybody is welcome,” beams Eddie. “We have got the whole world here.” Anita introduces a boy from Macedonia. He greets us in Macedonian. “The children in Roehampton are from so many different ethnic backgrounds we can pretty much be confident that if we have a child who is nonEnglish speaking we will have someone to communicate with them – either another child or a coach – so they will immediately feel welcome.” About two hundred young footballers train at the club every Saturday. In the summer it might be three hundred. They can train from age four through to sixteen. There are ten teams and the youngest of those is the Under-7s. Ten-year-old Zakariya Oulhadj and his two brothers, seven-year-old Yaqub, and Yunus who is six, are keen members of Dover House Lions FC. They live with their Algerian father, Czech mother and blackand-white rabbit in a two-bedroom apart-
ment on the 11th floor of one of the ‘point’ blocks on the Alton Estate, Roehampton. Zakariya describes his nationality as “split into three parts.” At Dover House Lions that is not unusual. The players’ hand drawn flags, on show in the pavilion, are proof of that. The two-hour training sessions on a Saturday cost £3 – those who can afford to pay do. Anita and Eddie try not to turn anyone away. “We have lots of pockets of estates around here and there is a lot of gun and gang culture so it is quite a difficult environment to live in but they know when they come in here, when they pass through the gate, they have to leave all that outside. They don’t need to be hard. They just have to be who they are.” Anita believes football skills are life skills. “It is about remembering to transfer what you’re taught in training into your game. They need to learn to communicate on the pitch without their managers throwing instructions at them all the time. It is about communication. It is about working as a team.” Summing up the club Anita says: “It is a lot of different things really. It is like a big cooking pot – making a good stew with all the different ingredients. We are unique and I want to remain unique. We are purely here for the children.”
The New Londoners
Brought together by Olympics Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell, founder and executive director of the think tank African People Advocacy, on the benefits to the community produced by the Olympics There is something about the 2012 Olympic Games. Like all Olympics, they are of course an exciting international event and a wonderful occasion to watch thousands of outstanding athletes excelling in a wide variety of competitions. But the 2012 Olympic Games also offer something else to migrant-led organisations in the UK. They give them a unique opportunity to partner and establish long-term relationships with mainstream UK institutions, raise awareness of their work and boost community cohesion. It has proved challenging for us to make mainstream UK institutions
adopt our ideas, and establish partnerships with them. But this suddenly changed a few weeks ago. The African Peoples Advocacy (APA) based in the Medway town of Gillingham, was delighted to hear that the Senegal Olympic Team would be training at Medway Park in Gillingham this summer, before moving to the Olympic Park to compete. APA contacted Medway Council and Medway Citizens Advice Bureau, and proposed organising an event to welcome the Senegal Olympic Team to Medway. It was an excellent opportunity to (a) establish and strengthen cultural, trade, business
and other links between Medway and Senegal and (b) boost community cohesion in Medway. APA and Medway Citizens Advice Bureau are now collaborating towards the creation of a permanent advice centre for African communities in Medway and Medway Council is willing to partner with us to boost community cohesion in Medway and strengthen business links with African countries. APA is also organizing a reception for the Olympic team of Chad, Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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What’s On London Events Events for
Summer By Helena Argyle
Young People Seeking Safety Awareness Week 2012 30th March to 5th April Free Word Centre, Farringdon 4th April www.youngpeopleseekingsafety.org.uk National Theatre Cooteslow Theatre 12th April to 24th April http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/69374/productions/blacktshirt-collection.html Lalinea The London Latin Music Festival 16th to 27th April www.comono.co.uk/la-linea Refugee Week 18th June to 24th June http://www.refugeeweek.org.uk BT River of Music River Thames 21st July to 22nd July http://www.serious.org.uk/BT-River-of-Music Tate Britain Migrations Art Exhibition Until 12th August http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/exhibitions/migrations/
The Central Weekend to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee takes place from Saturday 2 June to Tuesday 5 June 2012 The Big Jubilee Lunch 3rd June Building on the already popular Big Lunch initiative, people will be encouraged to share lunch with neighbours and friends as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. This may take the form of a traditional street party or a picnic lunch in small or larger groups. The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant 3rd June This event will take place on the Thames and consist of up to 1,000 boats assembled from across the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world BBC Concert at Buckingham Palace 4th June The musical programme for the concert is still being planned and is expected to feature British and Commonwealth musicians. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Beacons: A network of 2012 Beacons will be lit by communities and individuals throughout the United Kingdom, as well as the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Commonwealth. Service of Thanksgiving and Carriage Procession 5th June There will be a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral and a formal carriage Procession by The Queen. Visit http://www.thamesdiamondjubilee.org for more info
REDRESS - 20 Years Ending Torture: A Literary Evening On the evening of 24 April 2012, REDRESS, the award-winning charity that helps torture survivors seek justice, will host a literary evening with renowned writers who canvass the issues of torture and human rights in their work. Each author will read from their work and this will be followed by a panel discussion. Several of survivors of torture will also give readings. The Chair of the event is Lindsay Hilsum, Channel 4 News International Editor, Roma Tearne (a Sri Lankan artist and novelist), Patricio Pron (an Argentinian writer) and Haifa Zangana (a writer and
journalist of Iraqi-Kurdish origin) will be among the authors participating. The event will begin at 6:30 pm and will end at 8:30 pm (followed by a drinks reception). The event will take place at The Tabernacle: 35 Powis Square, Notting Hill, London, W11 2AY. You can find the full programme and the authors’ bios http:// www.redress.org/downloads/ LiteraryEveningInvitation-290212.pdf For assistance, contact Catie Harvey at email@example.com or 020 7793 1777
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Star I have a dream that I’m certain I will achieve Because my hearts already open that’s the real success I’m not going to give up like others have Because my backbone is unbreakable and my threshold is unstoppable To succeed I need the three p’s: patience, persistence and perseverance And the heart of a lion; to take any criticism so I never fall down I’m living the dream & I’m not going to stop Because every time I get closer to my goal People realise I wasn’t making up lies I’m going to keep up my achievements and reach the top I have a deep feeling in my heart It tells me that I’m going in the right path You can hate and disagree with all you want But I’m not going to let it affect me Because I‘ve built my heart strong before I started this journey I heard about haters and their mind games So I’ll built up my heart with a mixture of persistence and knowledge Persistence is my drive to keep me going and Knowledge is my power to make me flourish I got the keys of both determination and success So its not going to be an easy ride to turn me off My mind locked, My heart strong and My drive set I got my tools with me so I don’t need anyone to fix me I’m done with everyone finking they’re gravity Trying to pull me down & cause me misery Keep trying because this ride has gone further than your wildest imagination One day I’m certain I’ll succeed in greatness Because every cruel remark I get I turn it into a compliment Star; I’m always going to shine during the good days and the dark
No Man’s Land
The poems published on this space are by refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants living in London
Knowledge Is Power Of God Knowledge is power of God. A bright one she was! Pour colour lashes full For all the future, Adore i. And the something showing, Down along the road of walk! Alone refuge to God, Seeking shelter on sea When safety shore was away Should resist temptation of evil What is the beauty of creating a life? On the hands of him She said goodbye! Shakes hands to deeply friends She will return! And tell then. We are waiting, Tomorrow is then today! Yaya Ebrahim Yosof
How Can You Live? You who sit there comfortably how can you live? In Kosovo you have left graves You who live in luxury how can you live? In Kosovo mysterious war-crimes take place You who live a modern life there how can you live? When they say about us: There’s no life but death You who joke there how can you live? In Kosovo there are no schools You who think about a new life there how can you live? When for us there is no sunlight. Drawings by Ian Drummond
Sadie Kryeziu Bejtullahu
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Financial Advice Q. I have a stall in Waterloo market and I am not making enough profit. I have so many debts. Some of my friends said that I should declare myself bankrupt. What is bankruptcy? Bankruptcy is a method of dealing with debts that you cannot pay. After a period of time, normally one year, most of your outstanding debts will be written off and you will be able to make a fresh start. Q. Can a creditor make me bankrupt? Yes, a creditor can make you bankrupt if you owe £750 or more and you have not been able to agree a repayment. It is possible to challenge the creditor petition. Q. How can I go bankrupt? You can do it yourself printing a ‘Debtor’s bankruptcy petition’ and a ‘Statement of affairs’ form, from the Insolvency Service’s website www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency.
Q. How much do I have to pay? You have to pay a cash deposit of £525 plus a court fee of £175 when you make the application. If you are on low income or certain benefits you may not have to pay the court fee. Q. What happens to my assets? During the time you are bankrupt any assets that you have might be used to pay off your debts. An ‘official receiver’ will be appointed to deal with your case and a ‘trustee’ will deal with your assets. Depending on the level of your income, you may have to make payments throughout the time of bankruptcy. We highly recommend that you seek assistance from a debt adviser at your local Advice Centre or contact National Debt Line : http://www.nationaldebtline.co.uk/ or Consumer Credit Counseling Services: http://www.cccs. co.uk/ Elena Felices Adviser for Rights Reach Project Blackfriars Advice Centre
Health Advice Pain
Q: What is chronic pain? A: Pain that has lasted for three months or more is called chronic. Doctors don’t always know what causes, or how to treat pain but it can affect any part of the body and is often very distressing.
coping skills like the Expert Patients Programme. Talking therapies might also help as living with pain can be frustrating or depressing.
Q: What can I do if I am in pain now? A: Pain killers can offer short-term relief. Your doctor can advise the best kind and dose of medicine.
Living with pain http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/pain/pages/ painhome.aspx Long-term conditions http://www.nhs.uk/Planners/Yourhealth/Pages/Careplan.aspx Expert Patients Programme http://www.expertpatients.co.uk/ course-participants/long-term-conditions
Q: Does lifestyle make a difference? A: Exercise can help block pain signals to the brain. Try walking, swimming or yoga and if possible, go with a friend for extra support. Hobbies can also be helpful distractions. Painting or knitting are good choices if you have difficulty moving. Q: Where can I go to for help? A: You can be referred to a specialist clinic or take a course to improve your
For more information please visit:
Or contact Mary Wood on 0845 241 0962, or e-mail mary@foundationsuk. org.uk Health Project Migrants Resource Centre
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