Another year of Russian aggression, and another year our Christmas cards to relatives cannot reach the warzone where Russia is still invading Ukraine (not that it makes the news anymore!).
I can’t even begin to explain how angry I am with everyone declaring 2016 the “Worst Year Ever” just because of Brexit and Trump. There’re TWO MILLION Ukrainian refugees (while countries like Germany – European countries – take in so many Middle Eastern refugees, they will not help Ukrainians).
Several of my Ukrainian family members have died since Putin invaded, but nobody could care less about Russian aggression until it was Britain and America who suffered.
Personally, I think of 2016 as the year of selfishness. It’s only the “Worst” year if you usually just watch reality TV.
We had a public holiday today. I think it used to be the Melbourne Cup holiday, but the ACT Government moved it and renamed it. Whatever it is, it’s just an excuse to not go to work!
I went with my parents to the Australian War Memorial here in Canberra, which – despite being called a “memorial” – is actually a huge war museum to rival those anywhere else in the world.
The first picture is of some of the Victoria Cross soldiers’ uniforms. The one on the left belongs to giant SAS Special Forces soldier Ben Roberts-Smith. I had to get a blurry photo just because it’s so huge!
It was SO crowded today, with a gazillion tour bus-loads of visitors. It’s interesting watching people who have never been there before. There were actually people today who were walking around crying, that’s how moved they were.
My father is a war veteran, so we occasionally drop by and just look at a couple of things (usually things involving the Vietnam War) and then go for a glass of wine! It’s free, so it’s easy to do. However, this is the first time I’ve been where they had a teeny bit of security at the entrance.
The main reason we went is because Mephisto, a World War One tank, is on loan to the museum at the moment, and we hadn’t seen it before.
What’s really upsetting is that at the entrance there’s a boat from the Gallipoli landings, and every time we go there, everyone is running their hands all over it, despite being told not to. It’s astonishing how disrespectful people can be to such important historical pieces.
My Vietnam veteran father attended the fiftieth anniversary commemoration for the Battle of Long Tan in Canberra today. He knew people there, but the battle took place two years before he arrived in Vietnam.
He was the organiser for the Battle of Binh Ba commemoration a few years ago (which he did fight in), which took place at the same spot (the Vietnam memorial on Anzac Parade, running down from the Australian War Memorial).
When my father and another veteran went out to lunch, a woman saw their medals and paid for the whole thing. They didn’t know until after she had gone!
Here are his unedited pictures from today.
It was a gorgeous day, and the military flyovers came straight over our house, but I couldn’t make it to the actual event this time.
What I am sure most of you are unaware of is that the moment Ukraine named a Crimean Tatar singer as their Eurovision entry, Russia applied to have Ukraine banned from the song contest.
Ukraine didn’t even enter after Russia invaded, and that year, Russia nearly won. Ukrainians were being massacred, and Europeans were voting for the people responsible for it!
So this win is a Major, MAJOR win against Vladimir Putin’s propaganda campaign and ongoing invasion.
Also funny that if the runner-up had won, next year Eurovision would have been hosted in my hometown, Canberra! (Unless there’s some rule the competition cannot leave Europe.)
Why did anyone vote for Australia? We have no business being in the contest!
However, it makes me sick to my stomach that Russia came close to winning – for the second year in a row. People who voted for Russia: do you remember these words: Georgia, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, Moldova, Syria, gay rights, human rights? Obviously not.
A display of some of the Ukrainian soldiers killed in the Russian invasion. It is in front of St Michael’s in Kyiv. It is out of date, and newer victims have been added in temporary memorials as the war continues.
In one month alone, 684 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, and that doesn’t include all the civilian deaths.
And yet in the coming days, the world will get worked up about the Russian entry in Eurovision, vote for them, and not care about human lives, or rights.
We flew into Ukraine’s capital city this morning and visited the main square for the first time since the revolution (the square where there were the burning tyres, and had the drums, and then all the demonstrators were being shot by the pro-Russian authorities).
We are now in a Crimean cafe on the square, one we have visitied plenty of times in the past. They are flying Ukrainian and Crimean flags together; the Crimean Tatars don’t want to be ruled by Russia!
Today is the anniversary of the mass murder in Kyiv, Ukraine. During the Euromaidan, the revolution to overthrow the corrupt pro-Russian government, on the 20th of February 2014, pro-Russian and actual Russian snipers were sent into the city centre to shoot and kill dozens upon dozens of civilians.
The world has all but forgotten about the war in Ukraine now, but it has not ended. I still have family members who are refugees, we will be visiting them in Ukraine in a few weeks.