I’m nosy. I people watch. I can do this for hours. I love talking to people. Apart from musicians. I get nervous. Funny that, cause I wanna be shooting music and musicians til the end of time. Yeah, working on it, getting better at it.
I’ll walk up to strangers and start chatting away, even when I was in high school, I use to be the troublesome kid getting caught for talking, or passing notes along. Yep, that awkward moment when you think ‘f*&%’ as the teacher turns around. Then working in a very sales based.. you get the jist of it.
I went out with a girl friend of mine a few months ago, we ended up in the city. Nights out are always entertaining, we always start at our fave spot, Dry Bar in Manchester. It’s cosy, quirky, staff are great and it’s just a very ‘inviting’ place and pretty quiet. Then we end up (without fail) at Tiki Lounge…. oh yeah! Time to dance to Justin Timberlake, love it! At some point, we grab some food, but I end up, without fail, getting food for the homeless person.
Somehow, I get chatting to the homeless guys. Couple of months back we ended up sitting on the side with this guy called ‘Marco’. He’d been on the streets since January 2012. Explained his wife and 3 kids were gone, he got kicked out of his flat and now was living on the streets. That night, an older man came over to us. Marco told us this man had walked past earlier and threw the bones from his chicken meal at him. We sat there for an hour chatting to these strangers, I was sat chatting to Marco whilst my friend sat chatting to the older man, she was telling him, Marco was sat making Origami animals for me. He made us two swans and a frog. It was pretty awesome. For an hour, we sat by the sidewalk with him, he was asking passersby for change, one guy stopped in the space of an hour. The rest simply walked on by.
This song came to mind
In Tokyo December 2011 I saw this man on the street. The urge to want to stop and speak to him was there, but the language barrier was also there.
Just the other day I was in Manchester. I got this photo on my phone.
I didn’t stop to talk on the day, we were in a rush to go. Later, the lady in the photo found it on Twitter and connected with me on Facebook. It was a great opportunity to get further info on what was going on on the day. In her own words
‘Me and my friends were deeply shocked and disgusted by what took place in Woolwich on Wednesday the 22/05/2013 . A young man by the name of Lee Rigby was killed in cold blood in the middle of the day in the street right next to a school . My reaction went straight to anger when I had learned that the killers tried to justify what they had done by using my faith .
Me and my friends talked about it and began to brainstorm about what we could do . It disgusted me that the mainstream media was giving lots of air time and a platform for lunatic hate preachers to incite more hatred, and what particularly angered me more was the fact that there are countless Imams and Muslims who could have been approached to represent the real Islam on mainstream media, rather than those few idiots who twist Islam for their own sick and corrupted agenda .
So this is why i thought it is my duty as a Muslim, to go on local radio and speak out and say look these extremists do not represent the real Muslims or Islam . The radio interview was very positive and they invited me back onto the station the next day. By this point, me and my friends were really concerned and horrified because of this murder the far right had hijacked it for their own cause to spread a campaign of hatred against the Muslims in the UK, Mosques were being attacked as well as Muslims in the street. The EDL were holding demos all up and down the country. So this is why me and my friends thought it was so important to speak out and provide a different view point from all these negative people who were given the limelight to say whatever they wanted about our faith.
We wanted to tell people look what happened in Woolwich was disgusting, and in no way does Islam condone that behaviour. Hate breeds hate violence breeds violence but Islam is about peace and tolerance and that is all we want as Muslims to live side by side with non Muslims and people of other faiths in harmony and co existence. Me and my friend was asked on the radio …….
The men who killed the soldier said they did it because of British foreign policy ?
“Nothing can justify what happened in Woolwich, it was a mindless act of barbarity which is wrongly being classed as an act of terror in the name of Islam. I think it is about time that the British foreign policy is revised, occupying and invading lands for natural resources is wrong”
I wanted to say much more but it was a relatively short interview. The reason for doing the radio interview was to reach out to the British public and give them an alternative and truthful spin on things rather than listening to people who seemed only to inflame the situation further we also announced the protest and welcomed the public to join us the next day. We wanted it to be a peaceful protest which was achieved we also wanted to pay our respects to Lee Rigby and say to the public that our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.
Of course we also wanted to relay the message that extremists do not represent Islam or the Muslims. We urged the Muslims to come out into the community and condemn what happened and to not feel guilty. The Protest was at Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester on the 27th May from 2pm-4pm.
It went really well, very positive reactions from the public. It was so touching and moving when a few English ladies came up to us and held our hands and said you are so brave and we really appreciate what you are doing.
Police were very supportive and lots of pictures were taken two hours stood in the rain and yes I don’t look my best but who cares we achieved something positive out of a negative situation.
I just want to say thank you so much to all who attended the protest, well done for putting your necks on the line for your faith and for the rest of the Muslim community and reaching out to those who were affected by this awful event. One more thing before i go, Many people have come out to condemn this awful atrocity but why has the mainstream media failed to report it and bring it to the forefront?’
3 stories. Real people leading real lives from 3 different walks of life.
Take a moment when your out on the streets walking, look around you. Speak to a stranger, it might be the only time they have someone say ‘hello’ to them. Or you. Don’t just walk on by from a homeless guy, offer them a drink. Everyone has a bit of compassion. ‘Peace & Coexistence’. Make the change you seek to see.
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