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Monuments…

Anyone who has lived in Newcastle will know the monument. In many ways it’s the epicentre of life in the city; it is the place all directions are given in relation to, it’s the place where people meet, and it’s the place where people gather. There, at the top of a 135ft column, is a statue of Earl Grey. (Yes, the chap they named the tea after.) Earl Grey was the Prime Minister who authored the great reform act and who led the government that passed the 1833 bill for the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. On Saturday afternoon,...
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The Dream of Freedom

“We are too young to realise that certain things are impossible,” said William Wilberforce, “So we will do them anyway”. There are perhaps no better words to introduce the life of a man who undertook the improbable, to achieve what seemed impossible, and lived to see his dream realised. We are too young to realise that certain things are impossible, so we will do them anyway. William Wilberforce had a dream, like so many great dreamers, of freedom. It seems that oppression, prejudice and captivity are the breeding ground of hope and dreams; what makes Wilberforce special was that he himself did not...
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That’s Not My Name

“Sticks and stones may break my bones,” goes the rhyme, “but words will never hurt me.” If only that were true. The truth is that words come loaded with power and meaning and at any stage in life name calling is a damaging thing. There is one guy who has called me some really negative things; it’s usually in moments of frustration or anger or sadness but that doesn’t make it all right. If this person was anyone else, I imagine that I’d have given in to anger and yelled at them in return, or else just frozen them out of...
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The Boxer

I remember when I was in senior school I had a predicament involving someone who had frustrated me. I quickly hit upon the solution; I strolled down the class room, elbow dropped him in the back, and walked off. So what, I thought, he has asthma? Why stop yourself? The struggle will be good for him. As I returned to my desk I felt a surge of adrenaline, I could hear him winded and in pain behind me and I thought I had won. That feeling lasted for only the tiniest amount of time, however, when I remembered a few other...
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No Other Name

The Passion façade of la Sagrada Familia is an awe inspiring sight. Eight and a half thousand letters, hand carved into imposing bronze doors, tell the story of the crucifixion of Christ from the Gospel of St. John. Every time the name of Jesus is carved it is raised higher than the other letters and picked out in gold. I stood for quite some time before these doors, captured by their power and beauty, and as I did so something awesome happened; the shadow from the top half of the door fell above the name of Jesus and, for just...
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