October 20, 2010


I though this was in a place called "The Free World Centre" which sounded a bit Bush/Right wing but it turned out to be The Free Word Centre- a quick run in the rain from Farringdon tube.

As I went through the door I thought I had walked into a cult as there were babes in T shirts greeting everyone. When I asked them what it was about they started reading off of the boards around them so I quickly realised they were professional hospitality babes. Nice idea. I think I am going to employ some to greet people at Malung HQ. For my £5, as this event was part of the South Asian Literature Festival I also got a really sizeable book of extracts from books by Asian authors which I am working through.

When things got underway Keenan Malik was joined by Robert Sharp and the event was chaired by Rohan Jayasekera.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, it was all pretty theoretical, and not much about Fatwa or Jihad. A lot of things were said about culture, the culture of government and media over recent years and a desire to challenge the arguments of the main stream. Things I agreed with wholeheartedly but how? Where for example is the forum to debate people with racist views? The only realistic place mentioned was the classroom. I am at a loss for any better answers myself.

I wasn't expecting answers or tablets of stone, and it was good to be around people again for whom the written word holds power, as I haven't felt like that for ages myself. On this journey I haven't been very literary, and what I have read has mainly been factual stuff about Jihadis elsewhere. It is important especially in these times to make links with others who are resisting the push and I must admit talking to Ishmahil and talking at the Riverside has enthused me though I didn't say a lot here. I very much enjoyed the talk and thought the place looked really interesting. I will keep an eye out to see what else is going on there.


1 comment:

Robert said...

Glad you enjoyed the event, and thanks for the link.