Immigrants of Spitalfields Festival to be held in June

The window of Sandys Row Synagogue, Spitalfields
The window of Sandys Row Synagogue, Spitalfields

Different nationalities, cultures and faiths of East London will be celebrated during the Immigrants of Spitalfields Festival from 19 – 21 June.

The event is part of Refugee Week, and promises a series of cultural activities, including poetry performances, films, plays, talks and more. The overriding themes are genealogy, textiles, music, architecture and religion.

The festival has been put together by the secular Bengali community group Swadhinata Trust, Sandys Row Synagogue and Huguenots of Spitalfields, a charity which promotes knowledge about the French Protestants who arrived here having fled religious persecution in the 17th century.

Events include cultural walks, traditional Jewish Klezmer music in London’s oldest Ashkenazi synagogue, Bengali poetry spoken in its original form and an illustrated talk about Huguenot silkweaving.

Festival spokesperson Charlie De Wet said: “At a time of great multicultural debate, we aim to highlight the contribution brought by immigrant communities to Spitalfields.”

1 Comment

  1. Muhammad Haque on Monday 16 May 2016 at 5:49 pm

    I quote from your report:

    “Bengali poetry spoken in its original form”

    What will the “original form” be?

    Will it be Seelotee?

    Or something else?

    The people in the “Brick Lane London E1 Area” include a very significant number of
    Seelotee-speakers. As they have done over the past one hundred years.

    The month of Ramadan, which is also starting in June 2016, is a month that is observed in
    Tower Hamlets and in many of London’s boroughs, by significant numbers of people.

    Your item could have included references to all aspects of the “immigrant”

    I am inviting your readers to read up on the struggle that has been ongoing to DEFEND the East End including the Brick Lane, Whitechapel, Bethnal Green Areas, from the rampant agenda
    of take-over by Big Biz and bis-cashed elements who transcend “immigrants” and defy the
    majority of the Social, Community, Ethical and Moral factors that are play among people who are ordinary in most regards and who arrive mainly seeking refuge from property, repression and or

    It would be fitting to find an event that actually shows “immigrants” as LEADING the narratives
    rather than being treated as some sort of subordinate moral, intellectual and ethical
    appendage TO THE ‘original’.

    In the English – and I stress English for reasons that become obvious below –
    ‘debate’, fronted by politically self-anglicised personalties and ‘contenders’ – the concept of “Immigrants” has been allocated the highest spot, emotionally.

    That is topically over the imminent REFERENDUM that is scheduled to take place
    days after your reported event but essentially that has been the trigger which
    all ignorant self-seekers have abused for the majority of the last 60 years.

    It is therefore important to point out that you should include the symbols as well as the realism of real people who may have been immigrants or are descendants of some but who are
    equal inherently as human beings.

    Some of the best songs for equality were written a hundred years ago by
    the National Poet of Bangladesh, the Rebel Poet Qazi Nazrul Islam.

    He is the only known writer of that power writing whilst battling for Independence from the British Empire who also was able to allow equal space to the many Nations and nationalities beyond the Subcontinent (Bangladesh-India-Pakistan…) and across the world.

    It is hoped that the organisers of the event demonstrate in practice that they
    are alive to today’s actions and campaigns for universal human rights
    contributed to by all types of “immigrants”.

    The “Kobi Nazrul Centre” in Hanbury Street reportedly has been “re-opened”
    but I have yet to see or hear anything about action programmes via that reopened centre for the the Universal Literary Culture that
    the Rebel Poet Nazrul Islam represents.

    To have such programmes would justify “the opening lines” in your report.

    The first lines as I translate from those into English of Qazi Nazrul Islam’s Beedroohee
    (The Rebel) read as follows:

    Say hero
    My head is high!

    My head isn’t bowed
    it is the peak of the Himalayas
    over there that is bowed…”

    As universal and Truthful statement of the human aspiration when Nazrul Islam wrote the lines as they are today.

    For every human being everywhere!

    In Brick Lane
    In London
    In the UK
    In Europe
    In EU
    Beyond EU
    and across the rest of the World.

    1749 Hrs GMT London Monday
    16 may 2016


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