With the advent of the Black Lives Matter movement, together with the emergence of Critical Race Theory, the spotlight has once again been shone on the heinous institution that was slavery and its aftermath, racial discrimination. Could anything be worse than a system in which a human being becomes the property of another, to do with as the slave owner sees fit?
For good reason, the ownership of one human being by another is now universally prohibited, at least legally, for the inhumane abomination it has always been. Yet, in rejecting slavery it is easy to overlook one aspect that may be identified, for lack of a better word, as its sole positive feature. Namely, it was not in the slave owner’s interest to kill their slaves outright, for only living slaves made it possible for the owner to profit from their labor.
Adam Henry Hughes, whose original title runs thus “Hiding the Body Bags: The Nation-State, Killing and Death”
During a lecture [in 2010], the famous news correspondent Robert Fisk told a story of the reaction of a Reuter’s news agency (London) to receiving graphic pictures of civilian death and destruction caused in Iraq by British forces. Reuter’s called the pictures “obscene” and therefore not fit to be shown back home.(1)
We learn about the abstract war, the war of nationalist or ideological sacrifice and endurance, the achievement of some military objective or another; the war that is remembered in one national cemetery or memorial museum. But we must not see the broken and mutilated bodies—the final state of the human being once steel, bomb, bullet or blade meets flesh.(2)
My story here begins in Colombo in mid-2020 where I stubbed by big toe badly as I walked into the National Archives. The injury turned septic; and I was treated … I would say rescued …. by a Richmondite, Dr Sarath Gamani De Silva. He ensured that I was fit to fly to Australia in mid-September 2020. This entailed extra airfare and quarantine for two weeks at another cost of 3000$. The toe became a godsend because it meant that my enforced stay was at a hotel run by the Health Department and not that run by the Police.
Untouched for almost seven decades, the tunnel used in the Great Escape has finally been unearthed. The 111-yard passage nicknamed ‘Harry’ by Allied prisoners was sealed by the Germans after the audacious break-out from the POW camp Stalag Luft III in western Poland. Despite huge interest in the subject, encouraged by the film starring Steve McQueen, the tunnel undisturbed over the decades because it was behind the Iron Curtain and the Soviet had no interest in its significance.
Steve Waterton, inThe AUSTRALIAN, Special Magazine Edition, 31 March 2021
Stella Bowen, one of the few Australian women to be appointed an official war artist, began her preliminary pencil sketches for the painting on this magazine’s cover on April 27, 1944. Her subjects were the crew of a Lancaster bomber of 460 Squadron, six Australians and their English flight engineer. That night their raid took them over Friedrichshafen, an important German industrial centre; the next morning they were reported missing, presumed dead.
Meagan Flynn, in Washington Post, 17 April 2018, where the title runs thus: “How thousands of songs composed in concentration camps are finding new life”
Ilse Weber 1903-1944
Ilse Weber, a Jewish poet, was imprisoned at the concentration camp at Terezin in German-occupied Czechoslovakia when she wrote a song called “When I Was Lying Down in Terezin’s Children’s Clinic.” The song was about caring for sick children at the camp where Weber worked as a nurse. She had little-to-no medicine available. But she had her poetry and her music — some of which her husband managed to salvage by hiding the written verses in a garden shed after her death at Auschwitz in 1944.
R.T. conveying a Vale from “City Dweller” …. [it is now revealed that “R.T.” is Roger Thiedeman of Melbourne
In July this year , Aimée Jonklaas Williams, a woman of Ceylonese birth, died in Spain, just short of her 81st birthday. Her ashes were interred in an English village on July 20. Early in August, in another Sri Lankan newspaper, a close friend using the pseudonym “City Dweller” wrote a moving tribute in celebration of the life of this remarkable woman.
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.