// you're reading...


On the destruction of Speaker’s Corner

After four years of living in London I have learned that I can be assured of two things in the summer: 1) Gulf Arabs 2) Christian missionaries (actually, add rain to the list). The two are linked; it seems that the (largely American) missionaries know that they can’t go out to the Gulf and preach the good word, so they’ve decided to try the next best thing – Knightsbridge and Oxford Street.

This leads to some interesting scenarios, as you might think. A prominent Saudi sheikh recently ‘live-tweeted’ his own meeting with the missionaries, complete with photos. The sheikh, Mohammed al-Areefee, said that the missionary had explained that he had come to Europe from the States to spread the gospel. Personally, I think handing out Arabic Bibles on the streets of London is a bit of a missionary cop out compared to others going to African villages and then starting global viral mass movements, but then what do I know.

Now, after observing these guys for years, I have come to one conclusion: they’re crap.

Every summer the missionaries’ faces are different, but the tactics seem to be the same – scream “hadaya majaniya” (free gifts) in some badly pronounced Texan drawl at anyone who looks vaguely Arab. Never mind that you’re essentially treating the heathen Arab like an infant, hoping that the promise of a * free * goodie will trick them into picking up a Bible, only later realising that they’ve fallen for your dastardly plan.

A couple of years ago I used to find the missionaries amusing; the bizarre interactions they’d have with the Gulfies could provide at least a couple of minutes of entertainment. But they just haven’t upped their game. They’ve turned into another annoying thing to avoid when navigating London’s streets, alongside the charity harasser people (shake a bucket and I’ll give you my change, send an agency worker on £10 an hour to not let me walk on a pavement in peace – not gonna sign up) and the beggar gangs.

Our hadaya majaniya friends are not the only ones missionaries patrolling the streets of London.

Enter Speakers’s Corner.

You’ve probably heard of it – that bastion of free speech, the historic heart of freedom of expression, where all viewpoints are heard and respected, and healthy debate is ever present.

Except, if you think that, you’ve probably never been there.

I was waiting for friends at Hyde Park (where Speaker’s Corner is located) and, realising it was a Sunday, thought that I may as well go and check out something I’d wanted to see for years. How disappointed I was.

Speaker’s Corner has turned into the land of the madmen. Instead of the place where the 19th century Chartist movement emerged, where Lenin, Orwell and Marx spoke, we now have a bunch of people on soapboxes shouting, “no, I’m right” followed by their audience replying, “no, you’re wrong.”

It’s quite depressing really. The men on the boxes were largely African and American Christians, and the crowds were largely Gulf Arabs on holiday. Evidently, many of our Gulfie friends are attracted to Speaker’s Corner as a sort of tourist attraction where this curious idea of free speech is practiced. The problem is that many probably return home thinking that Speaker’s Corner is the epitome of democracy, and are all the more pro-autocratic monarchy for it.

Speaker’s Corner is a parody of its former self. On the day I was there, various non-Arabic speakers were telling me about the changes in the Arabic grammar of the Qur’an, a woman was speaking in tongues, and a really arrogant American guy was proclaiming that Muslims couldn’t handle the truth. The worst of it was, the real nutter, the black guy dressed in a sort of black robe with a quasi KKK hood and a large swastika with a line through it was getting no attention.

Both sides weren’t exactly showering themselves in glory, the Muslim fella shouting “gay, gay, gay” at the Christian preacher wasn’t doing his cause much good, nor were the ones who decided that everything would just be better if they had a screaming match.

In essence, intelligent debate seems like an long forgotten concept at Speaker’s Corner – it’s more a “my book says this”, “no, my book says this.” The problem, of course, with that is, you’re not exactly going to convince anyone of anything if they don’t believe in your holy book in the first place.

Maybe I’ll go back to Speaker’s Corner in September. Maybe the rational debaters leave it for the summer, knowing the international men of madness will take over. One can live in hope…

Did you like this? Share it:
Filed Under  , , , , ,


221 Responses to “On the destruction of Speaker’s Corner”

  1. nace blog… tks for sharing… obat wasir paling ampuh kutil di kemaluan

    Posted by nayla | August 16, 2014, 1:15 am
  2. Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work. http://acnenomorereviewd.weebly.com/

    Posted by Helen | August 21, 2014, 7:34 am
  3. I am actually getting ready to across this information which i found very interesting to read.

    Posted by Jasa Pembuatan Web | August 23, 2014, 5:45 am
  4. I enjoyed reading your articles.

    Posted by URL | August 29, 2014, 8:00 am
  5. The Best Debt Collection Company in Singapore. We will recover your debts quickly. Our debt collectors will get your money back. Call us to begin the debt recovery process today

    Posted by Debt Collectors | August 29, 2014, 2:44 pm
  6. All I want to say is, yes! Yes! Yes! You're so right. I want to get behind this so much. You speak with so much authority, so much spirit, I feel as though you've definitely hit the nail on the head. Good job with this.

    Posted by LINK | September 3, 2014, 8:17 am
  7. Awesome material! Thanks a lot, dude, for giving this so good material to us. I've just recently completed one of my projects due to the information from this post. Thanks man, once again!

    Posted by LINK HERE | September 8, 2014, 8:49 am
  8. The matter is described here is very good and well mannered. I enjoyed reading the article. Thanks for posting. Your blog is also very nice.

    Posted by Gordon A. Fetzer | September 9, 2014, 3:23 am
  9. Mobile Phone Repairs Perth

    Mobile Fone Care specialise in all sorts of mobile phone repairs Perth. With us, you don’t need to wait the usual 2-6 weeks to have your mobile repaired…If you can’t do without your phone for a second, come and see us! MobileFoneCare offer smart phone and iPhone repairs in Perth that are second to none for reliability, speed, and low cost.

    Posted by Mobile Phone | September 25, 2014, 3:42 am
  10. This isn't just an annoyance in Great Britain, it happens in every city and town in the United States, too. And all over the internet, especially news forums. I don't care what religious beliefs someone has as long as no one is harmed. But do these zealots ever actually recruit anyone? I mean anyone that's sane?

    Posted by PoofShesGone | October 4, 2014, 10:41 am
    • I know wrong "stalker", but I have a thought on this as well.

      I absolutely agree with what you are saying.
      I read the line " intelligent debate seems like an long forgotten concept" and news forums and internet "debate" sites were the first things that came to my mind as well.
      BTW. I live in Mormon country so I know exactly what Abubakr is talking about, they'll bring the soapbox to your house.

      I thought it was a good article.

      Posted by juan_garcia | October 4, 2014, 11:08 am
      • Good morning, Juan, nice to 'see' you! I'm fortunate in that I have a 6' security fence around my property and an electronic coded gate, so the mermins and JW's can't get in. I was walking down the street in a nearby 'large metropolitan area' with my grandson and there was a guy screaming at the top of his lungs, "Jesus is coming!!!!" My grandson looked at me and said, "Grammy, is that man sick? And who's Jemus?" I just looked at him and said, "Yeah, that guy's sick". =)

        Posted by PoofShesGone | October 4, 2014, 11:17 am
        • Good morning to you as well, there won't be much debate with you and me on this subject it sounds like we totally agree.

          Cute story about your grandson. I'm old enough to have grandkids, but my son is too busy playing the field to have a serious relationship.
          His Mom aches for a grandchild, I think she's going to kidnap one.

          Posted by juan_garcia | October 4, 2014, 11:35 am
          • Tell your wife to hang out in stores like Walmart and Target — there's always little kids wandering around by themselves she can kidnap. LOL.

            As for my grandson, I thought it was kinda funny he'd never heard of Jesus, he even put in an "m" where the first "s" goes. He's a sweet little guy.

            Posted by PoofShesGone | October 4, 2014, 11:46 am
          • A lack of early childhood training might result in a lack of manners and social skills.

            Even if you don't agree with religion to keep someone deliberately ignorant is not a good sign of parenting skills.

            Posted by Roger | October 4, 2014, 12:51 pm
          • "…old enough to have grandkids…"<—however old that is!?! One of my sisters became a grandmother right after she turned 35.

            Posted by PoofShesGone | October 5, 2014, 1:39 am
          • Well I'm not that young, but my son is 35 he should be having a serious relationship by now, I would think.

            I can't stand Walmart so we'll have to get our grandkid somewhere else.

            Posted by juan_garcia | October 5, 2014, 1:47 am
          • You're right, nobody needs a WallyWaif. Get your wife a puppy.

            Posted by PoofShesGone | October 5, 2014, 1:55 am
          • Better to wait for the right one, then have him pushed into one that he regrets.

            Posted by Roger | October 5, 2014, 4:30 am
  11. Alinsky — I see Looking4Insanity and TopSnot are having a bit of a lover's quarrel, with one suggesting the other wants him to stop commenting. Trouble in paradise….no more paradise from the dashboard light, I guess.

    Posted by PoofShesGone | October 4, 2014, 10:52 am
    • It reminds me of the fight Steven and Sara had after they returned from their vacation island in the book Dallas Billionaires.

      Posted by Alinsky Hero USA | October 4, 2014, 12:10 pm
      • Sara and Steven bicker all the time because she's an ill-mannered harrigan who flies around on a broom with a rotted-out broomstick because her po-po reeks of fish and her saggy boobies drag on the ground and she nags all the time because she hates men and needs more estrogen and midol and people whisper behind her back. Duh.
        I'm going to work. I'd tell you to enjoy your day with 'he who shall not be named', but it's the holy seventh day so I'm sure he'll be busy observing the sabbath and won't comment because that violates the tenets of all things holy. *wink, wink*

        Posted by PoofShesGone | October 4, 2014, 12:38 pm
  12. Really good job ,awesome work , really liked it thanks for sharing this kind of post !!!! Very well written thank you for the amazingly contexted of this article … http://www.nolimitly.com/2014/10/natural-cure-for

    Posted by Jim Garder | October 23, 2014, 9:33 am
  13. Mobile Phone Repairs Perth, Mobile Screen Repairs Perth, Mobile Repairs Perth, iPhone Repairs Perth

    Posted by jameslunn | October 24, 2014, 7:02 am
  14. Strong winds, rain storms, desert dust and errant sprinkler systems can quickly stain and dull the exteriors of your business and commercial windows. This may cause potential customers wonder about the cleanliness of your business – especially if you’re a doctor or dentist! Our effective window cleaning services will keep your business looking professional and inviting for your customers. http://alpha1windowcleaning.com/

    Posted by AHMAD005 | October 26, 2014, 4:48 am
  15. I am satisfied with what you bring

    Posted by Kizi 3 | October 29, 2014, 10:50 pm
  16. Alpha 1 Window Cleaning provide a professional residential and commercial window cleaning service to the Perth Metropolitan area. Our experienced window cleaners lead the industry in excellent customer service and reliability. No job is too big or small. We really are the one size fits all window cleaning company.
    Window Cleaners Perth

    Posted by AHMAD | October 30, 2014, 3:29 am
  17. It's really nice information with proper explanation, you've shared here! You are very good at writing as well as in describing the content. http://bloodpressuresolutionreviewkenburge.blogsp

    Posted by Lilian109 | November 15, 2014, 10:07 am
  18. Thanks for sharing this valuable information. Actually, I am pretty much impressed with your writing too. You have described this content in a very good way. http://text-the-romance-back-michael-fiore.blogsp

    Posted by Michael45 | November 24, 2014, 9:56 am
  19. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful. http://www.thefashionlife.gr/search/label/%CE%91%

    Posted by Tatiana35 | November 24, 2014, 5:48 pm
  20. I don’t have the time at the moment to fully read your site but I have bookmarked it and also add your RSS feeds. I will be back in a day or two. thanks for a great site. http://www.thefashionlife.gr/2014/12/tzin-pantelo

    Posted by Eleni391 | November 28, 2014, 2:43 pm
  21. Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work. http://hypothyroidismrevolutiontombrimeyer.blogsp

    Posted by Lora3012 | December 7, 2014, 2:26 pm
  22. Chilling weather throughout the year. Lot Heritage buildings in ooty we can see

    Posted by lingerie | December 8, 2014, 12:29 am
  23. one of the positive things I have ever done is to visit the website / blog it. I am very impressed with your article writings. Good luck friend Read more at Obat kemaluan keluar nanah / Obat kemaluan keluar nanah

    Posted by Roma | December 9, 2014, 2:39 am
  24. Nice post. your site is really informative, i appreciate your efforts

    Urdu Columns

    Posted by newsportalpk | December 18, 2014, 9:19 am
  25. I really like and even highly appreciate your writing. please read our article Pengobatan kemaluan keluar nanah

    Posted by wiisnua | January 5, 2015, 12:40 am
  26. every one is doing spam comments that's really bad

    Posted by Daily star signs | February 4, 2015, 8:06 am
  27. This is really nice and awesome post. My point of view your website design is really awesome… I appreciate your hard working . Keep it up…
    Get the best quality stable mats uk from http://www.rubberflooringsupplier.co.uk

    Posted by Adam | February 6, 2015, 1:25 am
  28. This is really nice and awesome… I really like this type of nice awesome post. I visit different type of nice and awesome post but my point of view your website is really fantastic…
    Get the best grass protection mesh from groundreinforcementmeshuk.co.uk

    Posted by Adam | February 6, 2015, 1:38 am
  29. Your post is really nice and its really awesome i visit your site many time but and read different post but now i want to say guys i appreciate your author…
    Get the best quality gymnastics mat from gymnasticmatsuk.co.uk

    Posted by harry213 | February 6, 2015, 1:43 am
  30. nice post


    Posted by luckykomal99 | February 6, 2015, 8:43 am
  31. I visited daily on your site because your posts is very nice and great. Your working style is so good. Thanks and keep on sharing.

    londonbricks-uk.co.uk produce online London stock bricks

    Posted by Jhonny | February 17, 2015, 5:39 am
  32. I am totally flabbergasted at how staggering the stuff is on this site. I have spared this website page and I really expect on going by the webpage in the up and coming days. Keep up the fantastic work! safety flooring with durable quality safetyflooringco.co.uk

    Posted by james | February 18, 2015, 3:44 am
  33. Nice post. Thanks for sharing this post. I like your post because its form other. Thanks again for share this post.custom boxes for sale from http://www.customboxesco.com

    Posted by jenny | February 18, 2015, 8:45 am
  34. It is very interesting for me to read that article. Thank author for it. I like such topics and everything connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more soon. once again thanks for sharing. ever best vinyl stickers printing here at stickersprinting.us

    Posted by James | February 20, 2015, 5:50 am
  35. I read your excellent post. After reading this post, i really appreciate your effort and my request is to please share us more post in future. Keep it up.djs for hire in liverpool at low rate

    Posted by james | February 20, 2015, 8:37 am
  36. Nice post, its a really cool blog that you have here, keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing the post.

    Posted by stickers printing | March 9, 2015, 8:29 am
  37. I have found very useful information over there, thanks for sharing this. please try to add more informative posts in order to keep us in touch. Url

    Posted by Jonathan25167 | March 10, 2015, 6:39 pm
  38. Your article is very interesting and informative. I very like it a lot. You have done fantastic job. Thanks for sharing interesting post.

    Posted by Check out Site | March 26, 2015, 1:28 am
  39. This is a very well written article. I'll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return. Hatfield removals services

    Posted by Johnsxen | March 31, 2015, 5:08 am
  40. very beautiful website. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted by Top Quality Gym Mats | April 3, 2015, 3:32 am
  41. You are the best website maker. I gain much information after visit your website. Your blog is very entertaining.
    indoor and outdoor gym mats

    Posted by Adam Charlie | April 9, 2015, 7:33 am
  42. good post

    Posted by WongJowo | April 13, 2015, 1:00 am

Post a comment

Connect With Us Ya Hmeer!

resume resume

Recent Posts

Oh the Horror of the Syrian Regime…
September 25, 2012
By Nabil
So, Who’s the Threat to America Again?
August 20, 2012
By Guest
Where Do We Keep Islamophobia?
August 15, 2012
By Shubnum
Lobbying Versus Advocacy
August 1, 2012
By Mehrunisa
On the destruction of Speaker’s Corner
July 17, 2012
By Abubakr
Stateless & Speechless, A Palestinian Regains Speech
July 12, 2012
By Hanitizer
White, Black American groups ‘swap’ summer interns
July 10, 2012
By Guest
The Costs of Stripping
June 25, 2012
By Mehrunisa
Be The Fundamental Pizza of a Man
June 25, 2012
By Guest
In US, They Want Fun, Fun Fun
June 23, 2012
By Sana
I Ain’t Afraid of No Regime
June 15, 2012
By Husam
ADC: Arab American Professionals’ Gateway to DC
June 12, 2012
By Hanitizer
Influence And Freedom
May 23, 2012
By Guest
Will Sacha Baron Cohen Bring His Muslim Bashing To An End?
May 22, 2012
By Hanitizer
On Chafed Oddballs, Siberian Socialites and Missed Opportunities
May 5, 2012
By Guest