At the end of Day 9, each member of the team made a pledge. This is mine.
Heyyaaaaa! So today I went to this place called LIVE EAST. It's a youth magazine 'for the youth by the youth. It was really cool because I thought they would be one of those organisations that say they are for the youth by the youth yaddi yaddi yaa but these guys actually were. All their articles were from people aged from about 16 to mid twenties and the people who went through the articles and fixed them seemed to be in their 20's to early thirties.
They set up an account for me so that i could contribute to their website too(it could be a painting or a piece of writing - anything). And THEN I went with a few others from the team to do an article for the magazine on street style. It was soooo cool, we just went up to random people who were wearing these wacko outfits and asked them to let us take pictures of them and took their names for the piece. It was a LOT of fun. I was actually running after people on the roads to get hold of them for a snap.
Later, after lunch we went to the BBC office/studio and talked to a guy who is in charge of the Middle East website and, seriously, maybe journalists should take over the politics the world over. He knew what he was talking about, he knew the reality of situations like Israel and Palestine, he admitted to problems in the media and just in general was a breath of fresh air (especially after Heather Wheeler the MP)!
He was followed by a woman who was recently in Pakistan to understand the prevailing terrorism in the country. She's seen so much- she was there reporting 9/11, she went to Baghdad after the twin tower incident, she's been to iraq, she's just come back from Pakistan and been to so many other places to cover wars and terrorist activities. Just imagining the kind of things she must have witnessed and the harsh realities she's seen, it gives me the shivers.
We got back to the accommodation earlier than usual and had fish and chips for dinner :D It was so good!
Loved eating true English food. Yorkshire tomorrow. Heard it's supposed to be beautiful. I'll just have to see tomorrow :)
To be honest I was sort of bummed out by the idea of starting the expedition with something like geography. It took me back to my GCSEs where I had to learn the locations of hundreds of cities and yet another few hundred statistics. But I have to say it was an experience I would have never imagined!
To see these carefully hand drawn maps, drawn painstakingly and meticulously – it was mind blowing. Especially the 2nd century atlas painted with paints made from precious stones; it was all a sight to be seen. But what was exciting for me was the art work on display. It really was an eye opener in respect to the methods and techniques one can employ to express an idea or feeling. After lunch we got into groups and created our own pieces inspired from the work we had seen along with our own ideas. It was something I’d never done before (I usually work independently) but it was fantastic trying to produce something that was visually captivating, had a concept and accommodated the many different ideas we had.
As for the question of the day (What is my idea of Britain?), I’m really pleased that my after day 1, my belief has been reinforced. With the subcontinent being ruled under the British Raj till 1947, people from my grandparents’ generation still have some ill feelings. Although these sentiments are milder than they were during the rule, they do, however, exist somewhere inside them. But I’ve always thought that the younger lot should move on. We never experienced it and the people of Britain today aren’t the ones who imposed it or believed in it. The world is a different place today and we need to take advantage of the resources we have and really move forward. Architecturally (I plan on pursuing architecture thus the emphasis!) the subcontinent really benefitted from the British Rule and we have some beautiful buildings in Pakistan in addition to the traditional ones. Directly or indirectly these buildings have influenced the way architecture has evolved in Pakistan.
We were informed this morning that we’d be visiting an MP in the parliament house and it was something beyond our imagination. We immediately all got pumped up by the idea of confronting a British politician up-close and getting all the answers that we’ve ever wanted. However, it was both shocking and amusing how she did not meet our idea of an active minister (her excuse, of course, being that she was “just a 9 weeks old baby MP”). She did not know her facts straight and was beating around the bush most of the time. To the extent that she was unable to recall the name of the “big country right next to India” despite the fact that seven Pakistanis were sitting right in front of her. However, what we gained from this experience was the knowledge that politicians can never really be trusted to bring good change.
Following this meeting, we headed towards town hall where we had a hot debate with different British students, ranging from school-going children to disabled students. This debate was very enlightening as these young people were far more impressive than the MP as they were much more honest and passionate about truly bringing a change. Some of them were part of actual groups working towards change with one working as a young mayor too. This opened a new window for us as we learned the power that we young people can possibly have to bring change in our lives and that depending on politicians to do this can be useless and frustrating. Trusting them would make us delusional fools only.
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