We started at Charing Cross with the intention of exploring the second hand book stores along the road, but most of them weren't open until midday. So we walked down Oxford Street, stopped in a couple of bike and outdoor shops and I splurged and bought a new tshirt, jumper and bike shoes. It was so exciting to have new clothes! It's the closest to shopping I've gotten for ages.
We made our way to the Speakers Corner in Hyde Park where people were standing on step ladders to draw crowds and share their political or religious messages. Unsurprisingly, many were Christians sharing their beliefs. They showed their great oratory skill, concentration, patience and 'progressive' lines of reasoning as they kept their composure despite the many (mostly Muslim) hecklers at the front of the crowds. But to be fair, the arguments were going both ways.
In fact, as we moved from crowd to crowd, and group to group the same scene repeated itself. And the same philosophical arguments (although that could be generous) were going round in circles in each group, at least that's what we could make out when they weren't yelling at each other. We would hear someone quote a scripture only to hear the reply 'But you’re reading your bible…' Debates about whether Jesus and God are one; affirmations that Jesus was Muslim, and an Indian preacher who declared he was a Jew and that Jesus was the King of the Jews.
It was a strange place to be. Sam and I got involved in some discussions with different people, including one about western democracy, but soon realised that most people didn't want to listen to each other; they only wanted to argue while expounding and enunciating their personal convictions.
The man in the third photo was one of the exceptions, and he had a fascinating story, I hope his narrative gets the attention it deserves.
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia