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.
I’m sure everyone has seen the footage of Notre Dame in Paris on fire.
I have spent a lot of time in Paris – much of that time on my own. I used to walk to Notre Dame on many days, and simply sit in the cathedral for a while, occasionally attending a service, even though I’m not religious.
I thought it was terrible when far-right “activists” would go in there and shoot themselves at the altar to protest abortion or whatever. I thought that was as bad as it would get.
There was scaffolding on the part of the building that caught fire. Restoration work is so, so dangerous for historic buildings. Something very similar happened in Belfast when I was there last year.
So, this afternoon the flags in Canberra – at Parliament House and The Lodge, and probably everywhere else – were put at half-mast. Why? For Australian journalist Mike Willesee?
Once again, Canberra has been named as having the top baristas and best coffee in Australia. One Canberran beat out the reigning champion – also from Canberra – to win this year. It’s headline news now, but I always follow this competition quite closely because one of the “national champions” is someone we’re associated with.
Australia needs to do away with old stereotypes about different cities. Only a few years ago when I was in Melbourne I had a distant relative who lives there ask if we even had restaurants in Canberra! The staggering ignorance… I’m proud to say Canberra is making “best of” lists all over the place at the moment (best city in the world to live – twice; second-best city in the world to visit, after Seville), and coffee is just one of the latest awards!
Here’s your Monday reminder that Russia is still actively invading and committing acts of war against Ukraine, and that tweets from Trump’s toilet aren’t the most important thing happening in the world right now…
I left Canberra for Sydney this morning, only to discover that a massive bushfire is about to hit my part of town (much like in 2003), along with a severe heatwave and huge winds. After I arrived in Sydney I heard from my father that houses in my own suburb have had trees fall on and crush them. Other – massive – trees have fallen and blocked major roads. The fire is still out of control, and getting closer.
It’s raining in Sydney. I wish they’d send some of their rain to us.
I am flying to China in a few hours, so I guess I just hope for the best…
But – hey – climate change doesn’t exist, right?
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.