5 Shot (Sepia)

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A collage of pictures taken in Clapham Common during the night.

Two Shots, One Picture #8


Thought I’d try again with the black & white/pale yellow combo, this time on Westminster Abbey. Really liking this new combo, I think I’ll be using it more often.

I Went For A Walk: #BlackLivesMatter ✊

Over the weekend, I decided that enough was enough. After seeing the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by the frankly barbaric acts of aggression by American cops, a voice pipped up inside my head saying “this has to stop”.

Again and again, black men in America are subjected to racism, profiled by the gun-happy police who in times like this look like pigs in uniforms taking advantage of their badges to kill defenceless men and to make it worse, the media makes it looks like the victims are the ones in the wrong and the police are always innocent. To see the harrowing videos of the deaths of both Sterling and Castile, there have been a number of protests across America protesting about the sheer lack of justice black communities have had to deal with for so long. Slavery may be a thing of the past & racism may be seen as more moderate but after the shameless behaviour shown by US officers, any decent person with common sense will know that something is very, very wrong among the culture between black people and the police. Yes, I understand that there are a lot of hard-working, decent, honest police officers who serve and protect their communities but at the same time, to see men, to be more precise husbands, brothers, fathers, cousins, sons, uncles be killed like wild animals and for the accused to be able to get away with it is a fucking outrage, it’s bullshit and it’s not just in the US where people are outraged.

Here in the UK, there too have been protests with the hashtag #blacklivesmatter at the forefront of the protests. Something that has really pissed me off have been the attempts by some people to make these protests about everyone, using the hashtag #alllivesmatter. In truth, all lives do matter but this isn’t about white people or anyone who isn’t black feeling left out, feeling like their feelings and opinions have to matter too. For me, it’s selfish and ignorant to try and turn the attention away from the oppression that black people suffer, racism isn’t a thing of the past, it’s still exists like a virus, spreading without restriction. The situation regarding guns in the US is an absolute joke, gun lobbies and politicians seem hellbent on keeping their gun rights even if it means thousands of people a year die from gun related incidents, it’s nonsense, this is 2016, not the 16th century.

On Sunday the 10th July 2016, there was a mass protest which started from Oxford Street and ended outside the Houses of Parliament. It was a peaceful protest which by and large was respected by both protesters and police officers alike. It was a colourful experience, black people there felt aggrieved but they were not alone. Standing side-by-side with them were white people, old people, young people, Christians, Muslims, atheists, people from different social classes, ethnic minorities, all in all people came together as one because we are all fed up of the atrocities of those who abuse their power. Swarms of people sat in the roads, they chanted, they marched defiantly, they made their voices heard, they were not going to be silenced on a day like this. People came to support the march in their thousands, some people were there by mere coincidence but were inspired to take part from seeing the turnout on the day. The momentum grew the more the march lasted, there was a clear sense of purpose and togetherness about everyone involved on the day. To be fair, the police officers on duty were respectful, I saw no-one get arrested nor did I see them getting unnecessarily aggressive, unlike in some protests in America where tear gas and were used against protesters in Louisiana and Arizona.

The highpoint of the protest without a doubt was outside the Houses of Parliament where the protesters sat down in the middle of road and stopped traffic completely. There were many problems due to traffic caused by the march but I simply do not care about whether people were late for any arrangements they had for the day because for the large part, a lot of drivers in the cars seemed to support the marchers, honking their horns and fist bumping oncoming marchers. To be a tourist in London at the time of the protest would have been a very special and surreal experience, tourists on open-top buses waved to the crowds of people, taking pictures that they will not forget in a hurry. People gained confidence in seeing that they as a person were not alone, thousands of people together all sharing the same beautiful mindset, a wonderful display of democracy and free speech, the placards were brilliant, the messages on them were potent.

Many people found their voice on this day, mustering the courage to address the masses outside Big Ben, talking from their hearts with a passion burning strong that all who were sat in the roads or standing around could appreciate. The day was a day for friendship, people who had never met each other before talking to each other, holding hands together, locking arms together, brother to brother, sister to sister, unity was the wave that everyone there rode. After the protest ended, many people stuck around to make a day of what there was left, there was music, poetry, spoken word, photography, interviews undertaken, socialising, picnics, everyone looking at each other with no prejudice in the hearts, everyone there was as important as the person standing next to them. This was not a day for big egos to come to the fore and luckily, that did not happen. This was an exuberant display of defiance, the will of the people was as solid as a rock, it was to be a day where the thousands would not be silenced. The chants were plentiful, from “hands up, don’t shoot” to “no justice, no peace, no racist police”. There were renditions of Michael Jackson’s They Don’t Care About Us to Bob Marley’s One Love to a jazzy version of Wade In The Water where two guys brought saxophones with them while everyone else sang together in an emotionally charged moment. There was also prayer, poignant, solemn yet uplifting and morale-boosting.

Something that empowered me was the way people dressed. While some dressed all in black looking like Black Panthers doing the Black Power Salute, others dressed flamboyantly, wearing as many colours as possible. There were plenty of flags on show during the march too with plenty of pride as show, for example the African styled jewellery that some (including myself) were wearing on the day. Asians, Africans, West Indians, Europeans, Americans all represented among the large crowds present, it’s clear that #blacklivesmatter is a cause not exclusively backed by black people and the fact that the protest happened peacefully meant there was no chance that the media could negatively report on the events of the day. At the end of the day, when the momentum faded and the marchers started their journeys home, I’m sure there would have been a whole heap of pride among them. Birmingham and Manchester have staged protests, protesters here in the UK are behind the protesters in the US. All in all, the protest London witnessed marked a day where humanity was the ultimate winner.

Rants.✊

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WTF

I feel like it’s time, the events of this week are bringing back a side to me that was in hibernation but now, that side of me awake. It’s two year slumber is over, here goes nothing……

“WTF”. This is an expression I normally use every now & again but recently I’ve been using it much more often. Why? Because I feel like the world in the short-term is spiralling out of control. Cops are killing innocent black men as if they are wild animals without a care of the devastating impact that has on their grief-stricken families, what a great service their are to the people they’re suppose to protect. Divisions among people are growing, causing a festering feeling of resentment towards the establishment, what a brilliant way of forming a team-spirit among communities who live among each other. Things have advanced to the point that there are snipers shooting police officers as a result of the events of this week, that must have been quite the spectacle for people experiencing those scenes first-hand. Then there’s Donald Trump with his simply fantastic hair and his magnificent bandwagon full of hate, ignorance and an alarming amount of head-shaking and facepalms and yet somehow, he could be the new President of the US, that looks like a masterpiece of an outcome, an end result I’m sure a lot of Mexicans from the other side of the wall will be lining up the shots of tequila, chugging bottles of Corona and toasting a job well done. The defenders of the 2nd Amendment must be so proud of themselves, choosing to fight fire with fire really was a great choice. You better watch out for those silly people who want to restrict gun rights, I mean guns are cool, why would anyone what to restrict their use, that’s crazy.

Britain at the moment is a bit of a mess right now, somewhat portraying a moody teenager’s bedroom, choatic with a pungent smell that makes you think “what the hell could be making that stench!”. Scotland doesn’t like England, Ireland doesn’t like England and England doesn’t like England, England’s football team is shit, we somehow managed to leave Europe twice within a week but that’s okay because our we have got our country back from the diabolical hands of the EU. Times are a bit tense, a bit like meeting your other half’s parents for the first time, the sterling has taken a pound in the face, Nigel Farage managed to escape from the pub, spread his unique blend of mischief before running back to the pub like nothing’s happened, the older generation have muddled the futures of the younger generation, leaving it to them to sort the shit out but hey-ho, we got Britain back and it’s going to be Great again, all the Europeans who took ‘er jerbs are going to majestically float out of the UK like they’re Mary Poppins with magic umbrellas and all of our tea is suddenly going to be extra British, better get the Chinese to help with ensuring its authenticity.Our politicians are moving like it’s Britain’s Got Talent out here, David Cameron got the red buzzer treatment, as did Boris Johnson and that calamity he calls his Barnet and Michael Gove has come out from this debacle looking like a treacherous scoundrel, stabbing Johnson in the back for his own gains.

With Turkey, Iraq & Bangladesh all suffering from terrorist attacks recently but not nearly receiving as much air time compared events elsewhere, it’s no wonder there’s tension in the air, rising animosity levels and plenty of fear & anxiety that things may further spiral out of control. The hypocrisy from those in the higher echelons is rife, preaching about unity when their actions leads to division and when things go wrong, instead of owning up to their faults, they offer mealy-mouthed excuses, pathetic in its aim of comforting innocent victims.

“WTF” is what comes out of my mouth because I can’t even comprehend the madness that is going on. There are too many hidden agendas, I don’t know whether certain people are telling the truth or not, problems that have been somewhat invisible have now come to the light of day, impossible to ignore. It’s sad to see things come to this. For now, I’ll just have to see how things pane out, it’s been an eye-opener of a week.

Now that this side to me has come back, the question is how long will stick around for?