Oh, Sri Lanka…

Sri Lankan military officials stand guard in front of the St. Anthony's Shrine, Kochchikade church after an explosion in Colombo

I’m sorry that this is supposed to be a book blog, but it has recently become a blog about so many other things.

However, I just CAN’T ignore the terror attacks in Sri Lanka today – Easter Sunday.

I’ve lost count of how many Sri Lankan stamps I have in my passports, but there are MANY. I used to stay there before and after every trip I made to India to visit my parents (they used to live there).

Sri Lankans are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Even when the civil war was still on, and there were sandbags and machine guns everywhere, and the airport staff raided your suitcases before they even let you into the building, they were always so nice about it.

I always tell this story, but one time I checked into a resort in Negombo (where over a hundred people were killed in the terror attacks), the elderly gardener saw me carrying a tiny bag up to my room, and came running to help.

I thought he’d want a tip, but by the time I’d got into my room, and turned around to tip him, he was long gone. He literally just wanted to help me. In the hotel world, this is not a normal experience…

Sri Lankans are just like this. Amazing people.

I am so upset about these attacks, and I’m so upset they won’t matter much according to the world’s news.

Nineteen Years

Source

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.

The Week: 13th – 19th August

What a week. I am very busy at the moment.

In the world? We’ve had about 120 bushfires in the region in the past few days. To people who deny climate change: it’s WINTER here. Canberra’s kangaroo plague is getting worse (also due to climate change!). Then there was another terror attack in London, and that horrendous bridge collapse in Genoa…

Then there was the shock death of Soviet gymnastics star Yelena Shushunova. She was the 1988 Olympic Champion and a five-time World Champion. I still have video tapes of her. She died so young that one of the gymnasts she trained with still competes.

Happy Birthday to the National Library!

Enlighten Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 11th March 2017 National Library of Australia Canberra Women's History Reflection Night

Out Now: Goldilocks and the Infinite Bears by John McNamee

Pie Comic by John McNamee Goldilocks and the Infinite Bears

On this day: the Australian Women’s Army Service was formed

Awas_in_wa_1943Northam, West Australia. 1943-04-20. The Minister for the Australian Army, the Honourable F.M. Forde, inspecting personnel of the Australian Women's Army Service at the We

Vietnam Veterans Day

Binh Ba 1 - Copy

One Year Ago

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One Year Ago

IMG_20170906_153119_287

Today is the one year anniversary of the terror attack in Barcelona.

I was in Spain when it happened, on a train with my aunt and mother, in the country to celebrate my aunt’s seventieth birthday (which was the day of the attack, so I will always remember the date).

When we got off the train there were men carrying assault rifles everywhere.

During that trip we stayed one street from where it happened.

The photograph is of the makeshift memorial at the top of La Rambla, where the attack began, a few days afterwards.

Four Years

Canberra MH17 Service 26th July 2014298-mh17-candles

Today marks four years since the Russian military shot down passenger plane MH17 over the warzone in Ukraine.

Above is the service we held for ambassadors and politicians at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Canberra in 2014 (twenty-seven Australians were killed in the disaster). In the first picture ambassadors and other embassy representatives from countries including the Netherlands, Malaysia, and the United States can be seen on the left.

The second is a cross surrounded by 298 candles – one for each victim of the attack.

Oh, Barcelona.

I have walked down Las Ramblas many times over the years, and will be back in Barcelona in a few days.

There’d been talk of a terror attack in Spain for ages, and Las Ramblas was a location we’d said was vulnerable.

I was on a train late this afternoon, and when we got back to Malaga I was wondering why there were so many more police around.

I am very sick of these terrorists.

Poor London – again

I know better than anyone that there’re terrible things in the world that get no media attention, while other things are focused on by the media the world over. But these London attacks…

For the first year I lived in London I walked the exact route Saturday night’s terrorists took every week. I lived and worked in that general area, and crossed London Bridge (note, ignorant media and celebrities: not Tower Bridge!) all the time.

The world has lost its mind.

Sonya Heaney Christiopher Heaney London Big Ben Westminster Bridge February 2017

 

The past twenty-four hours…

The Manchester terror attack. Nicky Hayden and Roger Moore died. Russia’s deadly military attacks in Ukraine have escalated to a state worse than they’ve been for half a year, thanks to new White House support for Putin.

Also, New York just plagiarised a Ukrainian sculpture, and turned it into a massive Rockefeller Center art display:

I was going to run some silly blog post today, but it doesn’t feel appropriate…