Buddha in a Bowl

As the latest terror attack in London brings our capital to a standstill, many of us are yet, again wondering what our world is coming to. I live in the UK and moved from North London over ten years ago, away from my community and in search of a new one on the south western coast of Wales where I ran a community centre, then, worked in race equality, finally moving further west into farm terrain and glorious coastal drives. Two days on the trot we were in London driving past the exact spot as the terror attack. My worst nightmare is the thought of being caught up in such an incident, having thoughts of family caught up in London on previous occasions once, where my sister-in-law at the time waved goodbye to a friend after being on the tube together. Her friend asked if she was getting the bus and went one way, whilst she went the other. Moments later the bus exploded in what became known as 7/7. We had avoided the Westminster attack by twenty-four hours, very nearly having our own altercation by a man on a motorcycle and filled with horror stories of gangs of biker’s smashing windows, in acts of violence and muggings we sat, terrified at the lights in London’s heartland being shouted, spat at and gesticulated at by a crazed man on a motorbike. Thankfully, even though he was driving right next to the car and trying to scare us through at least three sets of traffic lights, we spotted a police van and swerved towards it, as the biker sped off.

Note, sighs of relief and wondering if this was because of his ethnicity or whether, it could have been anybody filled with road rage that day. Is this what we have to expect as the norm being spat at by someone without any morals or respect? When I saw the news the next day, I could not help but wonder if he had anything to do with the attack that rocked the Capital again. In the age of political correctness and equality narrative, it may well be wrong to even mention his ethnicity and indeed, I have been afraid to do so, as he may have been a one-off driver having a very bad day.

Our tour of London had started visiting family in Wimbledon a leafy, village suburb with superb coffee and honey lavender cake, marauding around the sights and pointing them out to our seven- year old son, whose eyes grew wider at the football stadia and Lords rather than Buckingham Palace and Westminster. We were amazed at the Capital’s buzz and the number of tourists pouring out of Harrod’s in a multi-cultural soiree. London was abound with people of all ethnicities, those with hijabs carrying Harvey Nichols bags, driving through the Edgware Road with Arab businesses, shops and groceries spilling out onto the streets, owners shouting into mobile phones whilst, serving queues of customers. The next day making our way past the vibrant Shi Swaminarayan Mandir, Neasden Hindu temple, I was in awe of the Indian families who waved enthusiastically as we stopped to let them cross the road and the shops full of vibrant silk sari’s. This is what London does best, hosting a cacophony, a quite exquisite melting pot in a heterogenous society laced with foreign elements that make Britain what it should be – different cultural elements brought together. Rather than coming out homogenous like our milk, we are in fact a mosaic or kaleidoscope, where different cultures mix but retain their own personal distinctness and identity where, Britain is our home.

Yet, I am disturbed like so many others not only about terrorism but the people who support them and here in the UK, we cannot escape the daily grind of Anti-Semitism wrapped up in anti-Israel sentiment from the likes of the far left and its leader Jeremy Corbyn who seemed to ‘accidentally’, lay a wreath on a former Palestinian terrorist’s grave, responsible for the Munich massacre. Further edicts of his leanings keep emerging and watching late night television further promotes this attitude in the British media that leans toward supporting Palestinians, deeming Israel as the terrorists. This, becomes wrapped in a blanket of political agendas where if one is against the Tories the memes’ are focussed on Theresa May, sitting back whilst, Palestinian babies die. One editor at the British Times stated that this, and the horrors I grew up with, where paramilitary movements backing the reunification of Ireland and the British out, were obvious legitimate causes. One news channel exclaimed that the Anti-Semitism row would not change the views of Labour voters that, Jews have been at the heart of for decades, yet, if Islamophobia were the dish of the day, the far left would soon have Corbyn out, amidst much protest from Muslim defenders.

The rise of the left and the grey socialist, Corbynista’s who oppose global capitalism but who still buy the lottery ticket is what I call a ‘trendy thing to be’ it usually, embraces Muslims and rejects the Jews. It is a failure to read history and see what the Jewish Zionist Herzl-Weizman development and protection of a Jewish nation is all about. With two hundred land disputes around the world one wonders why the focus is always on Israel, the only democracy – and why Corbyn is so anti. There were queues of people attending Corbyn’s speech recently, and the reporter interviewed many of the Corbyn wave,
“well, the Queen goes to all sorts of ceremonies why shouldn’t Corbyn?’ One remarked.
“He was laying a wreath on a terrorist’s grave,” the reporter corrected.
“Oh really,” was the answer, “well, I didn’t know that.’
Another, remarked “well, we want to hear him speak as he won the Nobel Peace prize.”
“No, he did not,” the reporter corrected again.
“Did you hear that Gladys? It is not true. Oh well, we are going anyway.”

Whilst, we are dodging anti-western rhetoric and action in the UK and Europe and Israeli’s are in hiding in Sederot, as Corbyn is in London, the Israeli’s face daily terrorist activity, in their right to exist. Indeed, working in the race equality movement, it was a popular trend to exist on the far left, to befriend Muslims and possess anti-Israel tendencies, that became muddied with Anti-Semitism but the message was, “we don’t have a problem with Jews, but we do with Israel.” I became a standard recorded message as I defended the Israeli’s, with the leader of the Jewish community, plus the Imam against a tidal movement that hated Israel. I asked if the Kurdish community whom, I became the poster girl for, making them a Chanukah celebration by cooking for two hours with flu at their centre but who loved the Jews and Israel would be allowed to set up their own state free from discrimination? Thus, able to speak their own language where this, is banned in countries like Iraq, Iran and Turkey but would be fully supported in creating a Kurdish state. How would it be that those countries on the formation of that state would be attacked by the very countries who had oppressed them and the people who had previously beleaguered them, refusing to live in peace. The silence was deafening.

One ‘friend’ became extremely upset with me when I delivered a speech at the Holocaust Memorial service and begged the question of, “how can you be allowed to commemorate the Holocaust when Israel is oppressing the Palestinians?” When you hear Israel is a Nazi state by a woman in the village you live in and where a Holocaust author on stage at a college is asked the same question, whilst, relaying the story of her escape. Why do people not see the difference? Why is it not etched on their skin that the Jews suffered and where it can never be full to capacity like most of the cultures in the world because half of us were murdered including my mother’s family. I became friends with many from the Muslim community and am still very good friends with the Imam at the mosque whose generosity went above and beyond. He helped me move by a tap of his phone where, six cars drew up on my doorstep to schlep boxes and furniture to our new house. I set up a prayer mat and provided food and I felt a part of something bigger than my own community where, I was invited to several cultural events and treated like a Princess whilst, sitting on a cushion being brought dates and coffee.

I attended the Mosque several times, I have also visited Hindu places of worship, churches, Hari Krishna and Buddhist temples where food and kindness is always overflowing. Inviting my neighbours in for tea and serving my own brand of generosity in the form of sweet treats, they then declared that thank goodness we are not ‘one of them’. Upon, further questioning it turns out they meant a Jew as they are ‘mean’, regaling several stories to uphold this theory. To my dismay I remained silent, a leftover reaction to growing up amidst the Anti-Semitic rivulets of North London.

I am now home, safe and sound where the landscape rearranges to gentle rolling hills, green fields, glutenous sheep and friendly people, (the other neighbours moved out). Corbyn is still on television coming out of hiding and pulling another stunt on his bicycle. In other words, showing how, green, down-to-earth and human he is like, the time he demanded attention for sitting on the floor of the train with dozens of empty seats behind him. His failure to act sends an even stronger message to the Jewish community in this country and where the third in line Jewish Labour politician is afraid to speak out – lest he be called a Zio like other Jewish members, accused of right-wing activity and reduced to tears. Loved Bibi’s tweet by the way.

It was wonderful, to see family and the Jewish community thriving in London. In a world where terrorism and Anti-Semitism is rife, we are a salad bowl with very distinct, delectable leaves. Or maybe a Buddha bowl like my Insta one with its healthy compartments making up the whole. We should be embracing each other’s culture, or at least find common ground. My son is playing with his Muslim friend today and his mum messages me ‘no pork’, I message back ‘us too’.

The terrorists of London as well as Corbyn, are not fighting for freedom, democracy and rule of law for a legitimate cause, they are trying to destroy the fabric of humanity and a decent multi-cultural society, without being responsible for any contribution. That is all.

About the Author
Denise Kingsley is from North London and moved to Wales over ten years ago, meeting a Welsh man and having a son. She has a keen interest and training in Politics and is currently Governor of a school and previously taught in schools as part of the Bacclaureate, bringing in equality and diversity to schools, colleges and Universities as a race relations officer. She is forty-seven years old and has a History and Political Degree with focus on American politics, Israel, Russia and the Holocaust. A Post-graduate diploma in Business and a Master's Degree in International Relations with specialism on Genocide and the UN. She has, to date written a number of articles, mainly focused on alternative therapy, and stress management for business, health and other periodicals. She has also written historical, business and community pieces. She is currently, Chief Executive Officer of the Olive Trust carrying out community workshops and events and have published an anti-bullying book for young children. Whilst, also writing a blog, a book and equality training. She is also Development and Policy Director for a company. In her spare time she likes to go for walks on the windy Welsh coast with her family and Springer Spaniel and like upcycling, crafting and food blogging.