DAY 216: The gatherings

June 24th, 2017 § 0 comments

Oh, if only the nation elected its prime minister at Glastonbury, eh? Or by any form of popular acclamation. Yesterday was (probably) the last night of Ramadan, and my plan was to go to my local mosque, Finsbury Park, where three days ago a racist driving a white van had rammed into worshippers, killing one man and seriously injuring several. It’s a social centre in our part of Islington and they were having a multi-faith commemoration and iftar. I had to go and join what was a popular Islington event.

The crowd was impressive (several hundred, I reckon about three quarters Muslims) and diverse. On the bus down I met Maggie, who with a team was bringing down boxes of flowers in pots to hand to worshippers- a gift from a local ‘healing centre’. The Stop the War Campaign could have taken lessons from the brevity of the ceremony, where about twelve speakers from different faith and community groups, from the council and the police(!) spoke strongly for about two minutes each on the value of our community and the mosque within it; and of unity and tolerance. An audiologist from UCLH found me a seat – thanks for that.

It was all over in about half an hour, and we went on to prayers and the iftar. On a personal note I was lucky to meet up with Cassy Paris whose testimony on the Calais jungle when it was still new two years ago moved me to get involved. (See no. 142 of this blog for a fuller account.) It was a good evening.

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But the realities of politics aren’t like that, it would be good if they were. As things are, understanding what’s going to happen is a complete nightmare for simple souls like me who don’t understand how you can have bring a bunch of fanatical creationists into the government without breaking the Good Friday Agreement. I’ve been spending more time discussing with some of my twitter friends whether we could celebrate the defeat of the EU by undoing decimalisation and bringing back the half-crown, the bushel and the peck. I raised the possibility that this might bring down neoliberalism as the neoliberals would find the maths too hard (while maintaining gay marriage and other social gains which don’t seem to depend on the number system. It may take two to tango, but that doesn’t say anything about what genders the tangoists are.)
But I think I have strayed off the point. As we all know, when St Joseph of Arimathea arrived in Glastonbury, he struck his staff into the ground, where it flowered and became the Glastonbury Thorn. It’s not
glastorecorded who was then ruler of Britain, though King Arthur seems a good bet, and he got the job by pulling a sword out of a stone. Which could be a way of dealing with contested elections. And he had, of course, no ambition to lay any claim to Scotland or Ireland. But the symbolism of the Round Table seems to echo that of the EU. Many a knight probably complained about the way in which building standards were being imposed on his castles.
In lieu of a print poem, I’ve been reduced to what’s maybe commoner these days: a Youtube poem, featuring Jude Cowan Montague‘s Gaza poem ‘The Messengers’ in Resonance FM’s iconic Borough studio. Not strictly related to anything I’ve been discussing, it relates to a general despair about the events around us.
I’ve never had the gall to post a song by the Incredible String Band, whose outlook seemed to coincide so closely with mine about fifty years ago. So here, if you don’t know what they sound like (or even if you do) is ‘Kooeeoaddi There‘ – Glastonbury many years before its time.


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