London’s Lotus Flower

Image: Nicholas Hutchinson. www.flickr.com/photos/hutchee/
Image: Nicholas Hutchinson. www.flickr.com/photos/hutchee/

London is the city of freedom, where we have the right to debate, think, live and work. What does this ‘freedom’ mean to us? By defining freedom, you are defining your identity. Frank Lampard, a British footballer, told the Daily Mail what being British means to him, he said it is when “no one else tells us what to do”.

Shalina Litt, a radio presenter and social activist, also questions discrimination and her rights in a free society. As a Niqab wearer she asks, “What  harm is a woman in a Niqab doing?” These opposing definitions illustrate how diverse  opinions, as well as cultures, are able to co-exist somewhere like London. Here diversity cannot be measured, it is seamless.

I have lived in London my whole life; it is my home. So when my identity is questioned, I am baffled. I am a Muslim woman, but the answer is simple. I am a Londoner. Being a Londoner means being amidst the city’s hustle and bustle and seeing a myriad of different ideas, languages and cultures. I find that living in London means that everyone has a role to play. We are not only individual thinkers in our society, but also important social contributors. What we say and how we approach life can have lasting effects, which is why social change through activism must be embraced.

I always remember my grandmother saying, “Women must be strong”. Inspired by her, I have been working proactively with a team of women volunteers for charity organisations. Our team is organising a Syria fundraiser to raise public awareness about the suffering there. We will be raising funds for an emergency service convoy that will be supplying medical aid to the affected. In London, an individual strives for communal success.

When I travel to different volunteering sites via the Tube, I feel a gushing sense of pride because London is such a fantastic melting pot. It enables volunteering and community involvement to improve the lives of those at home and abroad, regardless of race, gender or class. In such a city, an individual can blossom and bloom like a lotus flower.

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