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Showing posts from April, 2020

Captain Cook and 250th Anniversary of the 'discovery' of Australia - sailing on the 'Endeavour' replica

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The 29th April 1770 is the 250th Anniversary of the justifiably controversial so-called 'discovery' of Australia by Captain Cook, (a continent already inhabited by indigenous people) I thought this account of my sailing on the replica of his vessel the Endeavour many years ago might be of interest. It is taken from the opening chapter of my book on the island provinces of Papua New Guinea entitled Beyond the Coral Sea : Travels in the Old Empires of the South-West Pacific (HarperCollins, London 2003). The book was short-listed for the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. 


         The original idea of sailing a copra schooner called Barracuda around the islands of Eastern Papua New Guinea in the spirit of Robert Louis Stevenson had faded, as do so many boyhood dreams. I had always wanted to experience what it was like to sailthe old vessels of the past on those remarkable voyages of discovery. My friends at the Royal Papua Yacht Club laughed at the idea and told me that all the old k…

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising 19th April - 16th May 1943 - 77th Anniversary

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In a history increasingly bleached by time, Warsaw suffered gross physical destruction by the Nazis, murderous repressions without parallel in revenge for the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising from 19th April - 16th May 1943 and the Warsaw Uprising of August 1944. 

The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest and most infamous of the Nazi ghettos where a total of almost 480,000 Jews[1] died from either disease, malnutrition, execution or simply murdered at Treblinka. In the ghetto it was said that everyone had ‘death in his eyes’ or ‘a skull instead of a face’.[2] The creation of it necessitated the displacement of over two hundred thousand Poles and Jews from their homes and businesses. A popular saying among Germans at the time was ‘The Poles we hate instinctively; the Jews we hate in accordance with orders.’[3] The displaced lost everything. 
The Germans divided the ghetto into three main sections. In the ‘Little Ghetto’ wealthy Jews and the intelligentia lived well. 

The pianist Władisław Szpilman (known…