I started my event list blogs at the end of 2015. The posts snowballed in 2016 in response to popular demand. I moved from an annual post to monthly posts. As London gained its first Muslim major in Sadiq Khan in 2016, I noted how it was possible to make my event lists an example of cultural diversity and inclusion.
My original intention was simply to bring together a wide range of sources for my own diary. I could see the benefits of sharing my efforts with others. I was amazed at how many events take place within the translation industry. I was also conscious that many were not keen to promote the activities of rival organisations.
Active, Energised Sector
I saw the benefits of promoting an active and energised translation sector to potential clients and the outside world. It is not possible to attend every event. We can consult the programmes and gain an awareness of what is happening in our industry. Good ideas are shared by other colleagues and countries.
When I started out as a freelancer many within the translation industry regarded marketing and social media somewhat dubiously. It has been interesting to see others actively promote themselves and their organisations in similar ways.
Cultural Diversity and Inclusion
As cultural competence is so important to good translation, I started including more and more cultural events. Along the way, it has become a labour of love motivated by my firm beliefs in cultural diversity and inclusion.
Brexit came as a huge shock. It became more important to stress a desire to remain European and globally connected.
Access to Multicultural Events
My modest contribution has simply been to include events from varied cultural backgrounds beside each other. My London base gives me access to a wide range of free multicultural events. I have shared my experiences on Twitter or in blogs.
When we respect another culture’s festivals, we realise that have a lot in common and much to admire. The Bonfire Night firework display at Alexandra Palace mixed celebrations from different cultures. I noted how many festivals have their roots in customs adopted from earlier civilisations. Sometimes the true origin of a custom is disputed, confused or claimed by another country.
Merry Christmas again
Britain is traditionally a Christian country. It was interesting to note that this year, we could say ‘Merry Christmas’ more easily - rather than the PC ‘Season’s Greetings’ or ‘Happy Holidays’.
British religious tolerance was very hard to win over centuries. It is a pity that there is no short-cut for other nations. We should all guard against any deterioration in British religious tolerance.
London celebrates a wide variety of festivals for its multicultural communities. I remember Chinese New Year, Easter, Eid, Diwali, Holi Festival of Colours, the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi and Hanukah. We had the Irish St Patrick’s Day Parade, Days of Poland, Hungarian Culture Day, a Malaysian day and the Japanese Matsuri festival. There was the Pride parade too. I have also deliberately highlighted events that consider accessibility for the visually impaired, deaf and disabled. I fear that I may have left many excellent events out.
My 2017 wish is for London’s various communities to mix more readily. 2016 has been a worrying year for terrorism and extremism. The terrorists are a minority. I believe that allied with increased security to protect honest, law-abiding citizens, London has a good recipe for bringing its diverse communities closer together.
I share my hope for peaceful, inclusive communities in London with Paris, Nice, Brussels, Berlin and the world in 2017. Let's welcome 2017 with renewed hope.
I wrote the above before the terrible events in Turkey. My condolences to all the bereaved and injured. My hopes for 2017 remain and are redoubled.