Monday Thoughts

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I got a bit mad in the comments of a few blog posts in the past week, but I can’t take it back now!

Basically, I’m a little bit frustrated with the power bestselling authors have over their readers, and that certain authors post some absolute nonsense online – with no facts to back their stories up – and everyone believes them. One blog I’ve been following for years posts lengthy history posts a few times a week, and not once have they ever provided a link to show their posts are based in fact.

Please, if you’re posting something that will get your readers commenting: ‘Wow! I never knew that! Thanks for sharing!’…?

Then, please, please link to at least one thing to prove what you’re saying is true.

We live in the age of Trump, Putin, and far-right Facebook memes. Everyone (including me) can and should do better.

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Royal Wedding

12 October 2018 Newlyweds Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank leave following their wedding at St George_s Chapel in Windsor, England. © Getty Images +

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I’m no royal watcher, and have no interest whatsoever in the Harry-and-Meghan show, but I did watch the wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank on Friday night (Australian time), and loved every minute of it.

Firstly: how beautiful did everybody look! All those gorgeous jewel colours, all that sapphire blue and emerald green (and those gigantic actual emeralds in the tiara!).

Secondly: this wedding was seriously romantic. Give me the goofy groom who can’t stop crying, looks like he’s going to faint half the time, and then puts the dorkiest glasses in the world on to watch his bride come down the aisle over the other royal grooms any day!

I doubt the dorky-English-groom trope is ever going to take off in romantic fiction, but it ought to.

My other favourite royal wedding was when (Australian) Mary Donaldson married the Crown Prince of Denmark, because he cried through that one, too!

1 Princess Eugenie and her new husband Jack Brooksbank curtesy to The Queen as they leave St George_s Chapel in Windsor Castle following their wedding. 12 October 20182 Princess Eugenie and her new husband Jack Brooksbank curtesy to The Queen as they leave St George_s Chapel in Windsor Castle following their wedding. 12 October 2018

Bowing to the Queen

And, thirdly, this was such a royal wedding, with all the beauty and class and traditions. Windsor looked absolutely gorgeous.

And boo to the downright rude Australian journalists who devoted their entire time covering the wedding to insulting Eugenie, her sister, her parents, and comparing it to the last one! Thank God the Royal Family has an official YouTube channel, and thank God they had a gorgeous livestream, sans terrible commentators!

Russian Orthodoxy – GONE!

ANDRIY BARANSKYY

The Lavra in Kyiv

In a centuries’ overdue move, and one that is going to lead to more Russian aggression in Ukraine, the Constantinople Patriarchate approved Ukraine’s split from the Russian Orthodox Church overnight. It is being called the biggest split in all of Christianity in a thousand years.

Russian Orthodoxy was forced on Ukrainians over several centuries, finishing with the forced conversion of my family’s Ukrainian Catholic villages in the west of the country when Churchill gifted the country to Stalin after the Second World War (thanks for that, Winston!).

What will happen now? Well, in anticipation of this move, the Russian military has already stepped up attacks in Ukraine’s east, with people being killed in record numbers again. It has to be understood that Russia’s Church – in the past decade or so – has become a weaponised political party that effectively runs the country, behind only Vladimir Putin.

Additionally, experts are predicting staged attacks on Russian churches, so that Putin can blame them on “fascist Ukrainians”, and attack and invade even more.

What I’m worried about is attacks on the thousand-year-old Orthodox monasteries and cathedrals in Ukraine, such as the Lavra complex in Kyiv. I sure hope they’ve stepped up security at those locations.

This move removes a major aspect of Russian colonialism from Ukraine.

I’m not sure why Russia never comes up alongside the likes of France and Britain and Spain in discussions about colonialism and cultural appropriation (because people think Russia is romantic?). The Russians were just as brutal as anybody else (see the Holodomor). And – unlike other nations – their behaviour is ongoing (see the annexation of Crimea, the invasion and occupation of eastern Ukraine, the ongoing invasion and occupation of one-fifth of Georgia, and the illegal occupation of Moldova).

The next few weeks are going to be chaotic for Eastern Europe.

More Trademark Issues

Fijians,_Raviravi,_Fiji,_Summer_2006

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I’m tired of people trademarking things. Sure, sometimes it’s a necessity, but this endless stream of stories about selfish people and selfish corporations stealing words and names out from under others makes me so angry.

In the news at the moment: a US business is trademarking the word “bula” – a word that belongs to Fijian culture. It’s probably bigger news in the Pacific than in America because Fiji is near us in Australia (and NZ etc.), and a Fijian holiday is practically a childhood rite of passage for Australian children (my first two overseas trips were to Fiji).

Bula is more than a word. It’s a greeting that is so synonymous with Fijian culture that it runs much deeper than semantics.

That some guy in Florida, in a *different hemisphere* now claims ownership of the word is… GRR!

Home…

Spring in the Garden Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 2nd October 2018

Spring in Canberra!

Well, I’ve made it home after an epic 42-hour journey from rural Derbyshire to Canberra. That’s a two-hour drive to Manchester (however, we got to drive past Lyme Park – Mr Darcy’s home in Pride and Prejudice 1995), a six-hour wait at Manchester Airport, a seven-hour flight to Doha, a nine-hour layover in Qatar (which wasn’t so bad, but the lounge needs to serve something better than heavy chardonnay!), a fourteen-hour flight to Sydney…

…And it stopped there for other travellers, but we had to disembark, go back through security, and re-board the *Same Plane* a few hours later to fly on to Canberra. It’s ridiculous to go through all of that when the flight between Sydney and Canberra is never more than half an hour! On the other hand, it’s pretty surreal being almost the only person travelling on a giant Boeing 777.

The sunshine and warm weather (mid-twenties when I stepped off the plane) were a nice surprise, as was the smell of spring in the air (though not the hay fever that immediately hit!), and the fact half our local wild birds had dropped by the house within half an hour of me arriving!

Now I can catch up on all those blog posts I want to write…

I did something crazy…

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And I deleted my old Twitter account. My new one is HERE, if you want to follow me. It looks a bit suspect at the moment, because I have no profile picture or anything!

I opened my old account not long before Russia invaded Ukraine, and what was going to be an account about books turned into something different. Then on came Donald Trump, and things got worse!

Recently I’ve been thinking that I had a lot of tweets I didn’t want to be around forever, but I also had too many to go through individually.

This seemed like the best option!

Nineteen Years

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Today is the nineteenth anniversary of the start of the Russian apartment bombings, when Vladimir Putin orchestrated a series of attacks that killed hundreds of citizens across Russia in order to boost his popularity and win the presidency.

Before the first apartment bombing, a shopping mall in Moscow was attacked on the 31st of August.

The first apartment attack occurred in Buynaksk, where sixty-four people were killed and 133 were injured. The two bombings in Moscow that followed killed over 200, and an attack in Volgodonsk killed 17.

In total 293 were killed and over a thousand were injured.

Putin blamed the attacks on a group from Dagestan, and used it as an excuse for a second war in Chechnya, boosting his approval ratings and helping him to power.

Three key people trying to reveal the truth about what happened were assassinated in the years that followed: Sergei Yushenkov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, and Alexander Litvinenko – who defected to Britain and was infamously poisoned by Russian agents in a London restaurant in 2006.

Additionally, Mikhail Trepashkin spent years in a Russian prison for his role in the investigation.

Bombing at Guryanova Street in Moscow, where 94 were killed.

These tactics were also used by the Soviets, such as when they blew up their own people at a border post as an excuse to start the Winter War with Finland in 1939. The result of this was that Finland fought with the Nazis in the Second World War.

In the past few years, with Kremlin manipulation of internet search results, factual reports of the apartment bombing incidents are harder to come by. Just like with news about anything else (e.g. Ukraine), these days top English-language (and Spanish and French etc.) Google results usually link to sites like RT (Russia Today), Tass, and Sputnik – all of them Kremlin-backed propaganda agencies.