Different Cultures

One of the great things about London is that you can turn a corner and be in different worlds. The two events I covered ten days or so ago were rather an illustration of this.

© 2011, Peter Marshall

I wasn’t a fan of Smiley Culture, hardly even aware of the existence of this British reggae star who died in highly suspicious circumstances when police came to his Surrey home and arrested him, but his case is just one of many deaths in police custody, far too many over the years.  I’ve met and photographed many of the bereaved families, all wanting to know exactly what happened and calling for justice,  all apparently being met with obfuscation, lies and cover-up from the police, the so-called Independent Police Complaints Commision, and sometimes coroners and then courts. I’ve written more about various individual cases over the years (and a little more about this one in Who Killed Smiley Culture? on My London Diary.) And, as I wrote in that piece:

Of course not every one of those 930 deaths (since 1990) was suspicious, although a great many were, but we have yet to see even a single officer convicted of any offence concerning them (or earlier cases) – with the sole exception of the death of David Oluwale in 1969. It is more than hard to beleive that justice is being done. And as the protesters chanted on the march, ‘No Justice, No Peace.’ 

I left the couple of thousand protesters as their rally outside New Scotland Yard where they had marched from the Wandsworth Rd to photograph a very different event, the annual parade through of the London City of London District Loyal Orange Lodge, along with bands and visiting lodges from around England, Glasgow and Northern Ireland.

© 2011, Peter Marshall

It was a very different scene as they walked along some of the same streets, on their way to lay wreaths at the Cenotaph and elsewhere, remembering the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 and celebrating the Protestant religion and traditions of Northern Ireland.

© 2011, Peter Marshall

I was born and grew up in the Protestant tradition (and with aunts and cousins whose pastor was a colleague of Ian Paisley) but I felt rather more at home and closer to the people marching to the reggae beat than to the drum and flute, and I think it’s reflected in the pictures in a rather more detached view of the Orange march. More about the second event at Orange Parade in London.

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