Friday, 26 April 2013

A Panel Discussion on Palestine

I went to this really insightful panel discussion on Palestine at the LSE today. It was chaired by Jon Snow, the man himself and addressed some important issues on subjects including media fatigue on the subject of Palestine and the Palestinian plight and issues surrounding the historicity of the land.   

I particularly found it interesting listening to Peter Kosminsky (director of the incredible series The Promise) talk about his seven year journey into researching the story and the consequent backlash he faced by the zionist lobby... If you missed the series, you can watch the full episodes on 4od and youtube. See trailer below. I've also included some general info on the event below. 

The Event

On this panel discussion, chaired by Jon Snow of Channel 4 News, the speakers will discuss aspects of the current situation in Palestine, including: Palestinian domestic politics, Israel’s position, the international dimension of the impasse and the insights into the conflict provided by film-making.


Karma Nabulsi is Lecturer in International Relations at the department of politics and International Relations, University of Oxford and Fellow in Politics at St Edmund Hall

Rosemary Hollis is Professor of Middle East Policy Studies and Director of the Olive Tree Scholarship Programme at City University London. Her research focuses on international political and security issues in the Middle East, particularly European, EU, UK and US relations with the region.

Ilan Pappe is Professor of History, Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies and Co-Director for the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies at the University of Exeter.

Peter Kosminsky is a British writer, director and producer. He is the director of The Promise, a four episodes television series telling the story of a young woman who goes to Israel and Palestine determined to find out about her soldier grandfather's involvement in the final years of Palestine under the British mandate.

Jon Snow is a British journalist and presenter. He has been the face of Channel 4 News since 1989.

guitar reflections


swaying flowers, in the spring breeze

we met.... this one time....

Urban Wandering II

Happiness (is) only real when shared- Christopher McCandless

It's been another beautiful week of wandering, in fact I've probably done more wandering than ever before and more slumbering too, urban slumbering. Hmm I think the most glorious part of my week was lying on the grass outside the Tate under a silver birch tree, after a long day at work and watching the sunset in the sky and listening to a busker sing some dusty forgotten songs while watching the sky slowly fade into the most ethereal and soft shade of blue I ever saw, the stars appeared then and the moon, it shone so bright! 

....this week, I've wandered at sunset, at twilight and at nightfall. I've wandered all around, through many nameless places and many places with names too. I've wandered around Embankment,  Blackfriars, through Victoria Embankment Gardens, South Bank, dallied by St Pauls, London Bridge, Borough Market, Temple, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Holborn, Oxford Circus, I've drifted by the river, under bridges, over bridges, under the moon, under the setting sun... London is such a beautiful, beautiful city, the perfect place to just let time slip away... I took my camera along on one of my wanders... smile, wherever...

A Chap named Tongogara

War, Peace and Faith

War, Peace and Faith: The Ambiguous Role of Religion in 21st Century Conflict

I went along to this incredibly interesting event at the Royal Commonweath Society a few days ago with Emm. I found the discussions to be quite mind-blowing and def worth sharing. Click here to watch the full video:

Faith is often invoked in war and conflict yet the goal of all religions is peace. What is their impact on prospects for war and peace, for security or instability? Can religion assist in the search for peace without getting instrumentalised – with potentially non-peaceful effects? The discussion explored both sides of the argument.


Aaqil Ahmed, Head of Religion and Ethics, BBC
Andrew Brown, Editor of Comment Is Free – Belief, The Guardian
Rama Mani, Co-Convenor, Agents of Transformation
Fabio Petito, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Sussex
Dan Smith (Chair), Secretary General, International Alert

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Urban Wandering I

Of all the things on my 'How to Survive 9-5' list, urban wandering has so far been the one I've had the least problems sticking with (that and my poetry) Despite working long hours, I've probably walked more this week than I have in a really long time! My longest wander of the week was from Tottenham Court Road back to South London (Oval)... 

...this week I've wandered through Denmark Street, Chinatown, Leicester Square, Holborn, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, St James Park, Westminister, Embankment, the British Museum, Lambeth North and Waterloo...ahh nothing beats rambling on a windy golden evening in this beautiful city of London. I took my camera with along with me today on my post-work travels...

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Postcards from Palestine

...a friend got me these postcards from palestine, love them...

Leg O' Mutton Nature Reserve

I really like visiting nature reserves with trippy names.... leg o' mutton is beautiful, def worth a trip! Closest station; Barnes Bridge.

'a former reservoir saved from development by local action. It has become a hidden treasure, where ducks and other water birds can breed away from the famous London Wetland Centre. In winter, there are teal, tufted duck, widgeon and shovellers'

spring bloom

a lone robin reflect...

Against the Sky

...birds, squirrel, plane, sky...

a hundred hues of gold

Transition Town Tooting: Fresh and Refresh

I quite randomly stumbled into TTT's Fresh and Refresh day in Tooting, it was great to see some old friends... think this might be my favourite photo from the day...

...quite like this one too: the bee keeper and magic maker Lucy...

Thursday, 11 April 2013

How to Survive the 9-5

I recently put this list together for myself, but thought it might be an idea to share it with you guys too... ever since I started my new 9- 5 'office-type' job, I've sought new ways to stay connected, inspired and in-tune with the 'real world.' 

I know this list is a bit ambitious and to be honest, I haven't really gotten into the habit of implementing half of these yet, but it's definitely something I want to work towards... I hope some of these will be useful to you guys and inspire you to try to make the most of your working week....

1# Urban Wandering

I've wandered the streets of many cities in many countries around the world, but nothing beats walking in London. The streets of London are full of inspiration, colour and magic. There's magic everywhere, hidden and apparent- in bits of strange conversation, in stories untold, in the quirky oddities that we tend to over look. London magic- seek it out! Get lost in the crowds, follow the river, find shortcuts, take to the suburbs, trace routes along the city streets and the secret back alleys- wherever you are, take some time out to just wander, for wandering; it is a beautiful thing...

I'm quite lucky to be based in Shaftsbury Avenue, which is close by to some pretty rad areas including Charing Cross, Oxford Circus, Covent Garden and Parliament Square... As a writer I derive a lot of my inspiration/ stories from observing and wandering around London; hearing offbeat dialogue, meeting interesting characters and seeing strange things...

Also unlike most other places, the streets are always open and available for us to use- wander before work, or after work, at night or in the early mornings....

2# Sunsets 

I've always found that there's something quite organic and cathartic about watching the sunset. Just to be there, to watch as your day slowly slips away from you, a day that will never come again... Every sun set is different, and on a clear day it is always an amazing sight to behold- the setting sun; a great free spectacle- of soft colours fading and merging; to be part of that moment is to see through the natural day the same way our ancestors did.... 

...take the time to watch the sunset, from a high place, a green space, from a train window, from your office block. If you can't stay for the whole show, catch a bit of it, just give yourself over to the sky for a few moments.... 

3# Mates 

Stay connected to your friends and family; even if you're working long hours and you get home tired and burnt out take the time out to give your friends a call, or to send them a text message, or arrange to meet up. Maybe go for tea at Ikea, or take a night drive, share conversations on where you are, forget everything else and be present with them; laugh, listen, just be. I've found that just 'being' with friends/ family can be a great way (sometimes!) to relieve stress and revitalise the soul...

4# Cultivate Spirituality

Take the time out to pray, meditate, or to just be quiet with yourself. Personally I would like to start reading the Quran more regularly and other spiritual books and scriptures and to reflect on what I read. I would also like to pray in the early hours of the morning some times and to fast... maybe once a week. 

5# Read/ Write 

In order to stay engaged and interested, read! Read anything; the economist, the newstateman, countryfile, horse and hound (maybe avoid the evening standard/ the metro/ and soap mags) Read fantastical fiction and inspiring biographies, anything that will keep you thinking....

Write too. I'd really like to continue with my writing and have set myself the task of writing at least one poem a day and one short story a week. If you don't like reading or writing, try cooking instead, or drawing or painting. Try anything, just don't veg out in front of the TV for hours... 

6# Photography

Take your camera in with you to work a couple of days a week- maybe document some of your urban wanderings; try to capture the beauty of London life through a lens, look out for oddities and anything offbeat/ weird/ ethereal/ or quintessentially London. Think up new projects that will give you something to work towards...

7# Be Organised!

If you're not organised (which I most definitely am not, right now!) you probably won't do most of the things on this list. Take five minutes out in the morning/ or the night before to plan your day! 

8# Stick to the Clock (if you can!) 

Don't overwork yourself by staying in the office for hours and hours after 5, (or until you finish what you're doing...) Most of the time it can wait till the next day! Also limit post-work internet time to an hour max! It's bad for your eyes to be glued to the screen all day and it's bad for your brain to be forever stuck to this cyber world of unreality (talking to myself here). 

9#  Enjoy Work! 

Take the time out to learn, to be good at what you do and to make a real difference to your company/ organisation! I know sometimes it can be really really hard to enjoy working, but remember only you can control how to feel/ think about something, so even if you're not doing something that you completely love or want to do, just make the best of it and let it make the best out of you!

10# Help out Wherever you Can

I've had a lot of jobs over the years and have always stuck to this one rule: work to live and to give, but don't live to work! I think its important to have a long-term goal, an ambition- something to move towards. On your journey; smile, be receptive, buy that homeless man a cup to tea, stand to watch the busker sing his heart out for a couple of minutes longer, give in charity and stay connected and positive! (still talking to myself here). Your day doesn't have to end at 5, that's when it can really begin!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

D.I.Y Cultures (photography)

So I think it's safe to say that D.I.Y Cultures was a massive success. I had a great day- learnt a lot, met loads of cool people and discovered some amazing new talent. A massive well-done to Sofia and Hamja for organising this very ambitious event, (think over seven hundred people came in during the day!) My highlights included the discussions on unemployment and creativity and the talks given by collective Black Fems on punk, art/photography and literature... 

As well as volunteering to man the stalls/ and to help set up, I did manage to do what I was invited to do, take photos! I'm quite happy with how my shots have come out! (though as always, there's much room for improvement for next time) 

I've created an album on photobucket with all the pictures I took of the event, totally feel free to use/ distribute them (esp if you're an exhibitor/ speaker) but please credit to 'sysprints' or 'saira niazi'!

I'm finally beginning to feel a bit like a real photographer, now that I've got an SLR and am being commissioned (albeit without pay) to photograph more and more events. (If anyone is looking for a photographer to document any event, do let me know, I don't charge...) Thanks guys.