Posts Tagged ‘Anzac’

The story of Bookshelves and Yassmin Abdel Magied’s demise.

July 12, 2017

Image result for yassmin abdel-magied


Apart from Dad’s struggling with the Victa lawnmower and keeping the kerosene-heater’s wick trimmed, he also bravely accepted the lack of books. He once asked in his usual contemplative tone; ‘Gerard, have you seen any books about in our neighbourhood?’ I must admit that at the age of enjoying my first hormonal drives at sixteen, I hadn’t thought much about books. I was a keen admirer of Jules Verne in Holland, but he slipped away after arrival in Sunny Australia. I had to make and work over-time, save money for the future. My Father followed his previous remark up by his observation that, at Mrs Murphy next door, he hadn’t seen any books at all. ‘Mind you, we have only seen the kitchen so far,’ he added optimistically.

It was mainly through my Mother’s persistent and holtz-hammer method that we had even achieved this penetration into neighbour’s next door’s kitchen. It were those minor achievements that made life bearable after our arrival. My parents keenly trying to make a home in what turned out for me to be a most dismal suburban few years. If ever a far flung Sydney suburb shone in neatness and pride with its occupants soaked up in total fenced-off privacy it was Revesby’s McGirr Street in 1957.

We had involuntary chosen to live in the epicentre of  lives , that can only be described, as being agonisingly slow, lived in extreme political ‘niceness.’ It was out of ignorance more than choice. One had to settle down and own home was a fever that still sweeps through Australia as I write.

It was painfully normal and desirable but I could not understand its bleakness. The struggle after arrival was to quickly buy a home, and if possible this home had to be close to a railway-station.

The lack of book issues that Dad grappled with did not really get resolved. I suppose it must have faded in his memory after their return to Holland in 1974. Like salmons flopping upstream to return to their spawning grounds, Mum found again the familiarity of her Dutch neighbourly cosiness and Dad his bespectacled friends peopled by books while questioning Dostoevsky or the bitter Holland weather. In his old age, he once reflected that it just wasn’t the lack of books but that the available book-shelving that he finally spotted in the New Country were used to store garden herbicides or rat poison, with tools for keeping the grass short , all ready for the next assault on unruly weeds which were kept for the ready on the back-veranda.

And now in 2017, decades later, has Australia  grown wiser more inclusive and accepting of differences? Have the kitchens of ‘give and take’ opened up? No one certainly needs to feel deprived of garlic, and the kebab has taken a strong hold at country fairs, even as far away as Coonabarabran. The meat pie however is under threat and in our town of Bowral it was felt by the Municipal Council to hold a week in which to praise and celebrate the meat pie in order to re-invigorate its proper culinary position at the head of the dinky-dye Australian dining table. Time will tell, but some fear the worst and are nervous.

Our PM certainly tells us we are the most tolerant and most culturally diverse nation in the world. Most of us have foreign blood surging through our veins, but, he does also direct us to not go all funny and foreign after arrival. We do need to genuflect and hold to the True and long held Australian values. We must not allow too much foreignness. Foreign blood ought to be directed and channelled to follow well proven roads and he urges us maintain certain ‘values.’ One of those values that must not be tangled with is the Anzac Value. The value of war and battle fought during the world wars. The battle that defines us most as a people and a country must never be forgotten. This is the battle of Gallipoli in Turkey.

History tells us coldly, this battle was a disaster and Churchill should never have given this order. Today it would most likely be seen as a war-crime. Australians were massacred by the thousands… and it was totally avoidable. Of course, it is argued that those thousands that died on those salty Turkish beaches should never be forgotten, hence, ‘Lest we forget.’ One of our true Australians, Yassmin Abdel Magied agreed, but  thought as a considerate and passionate believer in justice for all, that we should also include in remembering the plight of those in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and  Manus and Nauru. This was seen as a breach of being good and true ‘Australian’. It was heresy. You don’t muck about with Anzac day, it seems.

After weeks of bullying and pestering, with posters being plastered about for her to be ‘taken-out’  and that she should be deported or at least sacked, her address, phone and Facebook taken away, she finally had enough and plans to go and live in England. She claims that Australia is only tolerant if one ‘toes the line.’ It seems that the extreme semi- literate racists Pauline Hansons,  and Jacqui Lambie are the really nice Australians.

Yassmin is a trained engineer, female, a Muslim Australian, well educated and speaks better English than the previously mentioned racist politicians. She is an asset to Australia and a beacon for tolerance and inclusiveness.

What a great pity and loss for Australia.

The question is; Where does this hatred come from?

Two-Up and Two-Down

April 26, 2012

With the weather bleak, stormy and struggling to climb above 10c, Anzac Day was appropriately somber and into remembrance at our Southern Highlands. The clouds overhead were racing towards a letting go of dread and relieving rain.

We had watched some TV and after the bugling stopped we felt a drink was not totally out of order. We can remember dread of war even better when surrounded by a roaring log fire and a lovely lunch at the local pub.

On days like that, my own memories go back to 1940 Rotterdam and my birth just after that city was bombed. Not that I can remember much of my birth! What I do remember were the dodgy German rockets the V1’s and V2’ being inaccurate, often coming down near us and well before their destination which was the UK, especially London. This was during the latter years of the war.

The more cheerful memories are of those Lancaster bombers dropping food over Rotterdam and I can still see my dad maniacally running towards those dropped bags of nutritious biscuits, risking getting killed by the dozens of overhead planes dropping the food without parachutes. Food was urgently needed and some thousands of people, mainly children had perished of hunger in that desolate city during that last dreadful winter. My birth city.

After arrival at the pub which was chockers with people, young and old, we had trouble finding a table but kept an eye on a couple that had obviously finished as she was wrapping her shawl around her elongated neck. She had a lovely Modigliani look about her. I was looking forward into taking her still warm seat.

We ordered a simple Angus Beef hamburger with chips and after paying were given one of those buzzing disks that go off buzzing and moving about the laminated table when the food has been cooked. It wasn’t long after when it moved about and vibrated wildly.

Since the war and child hunger, my intake of food has always been a bit over the top. My wife often tells me to be less enthusiastic with my utensils noisily clicking around the plate. “It will not run away, Gerard” she reminds me. Also, “can you look away from your plate, sometimes?”

This time I made an effort to take it easy and even time my speed on the hamburger to be slower than that of my wife. I succeeded. This was partly due to two couples that were also eating near us. One couple, the woman with a plate of something fried and somewhat grilled looking, perhaps a large quiche with salad and he, an enormous ‘Mauger from Burrawang’ supplied T-bone with chips. They were a couple keen on each other. She had her arm admiringly around his shoulder as he was carving his way around this his T-Bone. She took delight in his appetite and he was reciprocating with every now and then speaking to her and smiling. They were obviously in love. You can tell, can’t you? It’s the way people are radiating towards each other.

The other couple were just as nice looking but no keenness or love. He was enormous, a bit like a T-Bone as well, bull necked but fiddling with his mobile phone nonstop, interrupted only by sticking his fork into his food next to his phone. She was pretty and kept looking at him. She appeared sad. I think she knew the situation together was doomed. He had no interest in conversation and would just mumble something when she tried to engage. We felt like kicking him. You fool; don’t you notice her at all? What was the point of having lunch together?

As we, left the Courtyard had gotten very lively; Two-up and Two down in full swing.