We went to the Australian War Memorial (which is here in Canberra) shortly after the national Anzac Day service concluded around lunchtime today. It was like being backstage; after hours of live television broadcast across the country, we got there when all the technical crews were dismantling the cameras etc.
This is the first time I have seen concrete bollards EVERYWHERE – the terror threat is so high now. They had two sets of dozens of big barricades on either end of Anzac Parade, where in the past there was just a flimsy plastic ribbon. It’s so sad to see that happening even in Canberra now…
My father is a Vietnam veteran, and a major commemoration for the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Binh Ba is happening here in just a few weeks (the battle was mentioned on TV today).
We – as we always do – visited the Vietnam war section, and then went to Manuka for lunch and drinks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well, the heavily-armed police who have been out since the Barcelona attacks are gone, but now we suddenly have all these defensive bollards disguised as decorative trees at the entrances to popular tourist spots.
Until the weekend, everywhere I’ve been in Spain has had national police officers with assault rifles standing in the middle of pedestrian areas. Today, the local police are back – sans scary weapons – but new, disguised barriers are in place instead.