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History

 

Have you ever been part of an actual news event?  Most of us have.  Did you think that the way it was reported accurately represented what happened?  Unless you were the reporter I doubt that you did.  Yet we daily read, or watch on TV, this approximation of events and accept it as if it was true.   Indeed, if you ask ten independent witnesses or participants you are famously likely to get ten versions or perspectives.

Before engaging in the recollections, reminiscences and gossip we call 'History' it's a good idea to forewarn readers or interlocutors with a disclaimer. 

The text should contain phrases like 'and so we agreed'; 'as I remember'; 'that's what I was told'; 'according to a witness'; and 'so the official version claims'. 

The disclaimer should make it clear that none of these confirm incontrovertibly what actually happened.  That someone believes something to be true does not make it true.  Worse, it is possible that they may say it without believing or meaning it, they may be concocting imaginatively or lying, and this may be indistinguishable to us from true belief or honest intent.

Irrespective of any historical account, what actually happened irrevocably changed the future; our more recent past; and our present.  There are world changing events occurring all the time because that's what 'time' is.  Most of these pass unremarked, unnoticed by 'history'.  As I have repeatedly asserted you would not be reading this now if what actually happened had not gone exactly as it did.  And you would not be here at all if the exact past had not been as it was to the moment of your conception.  This depended as much on 'historical' events, like Hitler and the Jewish holocaust; or the impact of Isaac Newton or Genghis Kahn as it depends on your ancestor slipping on the bathroom floor or their disappointment in a meal. 

For a more detailed argument follow this link...

But 'History', the story told and agreed by the 'winner' retrospective to an event, is independently relevant in so far as it alters the behaviour of those that act afterwards.  History as a story, true or not, about an event influences perceptions and future decisions. 

 

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Travel

China

 

 

I first visited China in November 1986.  I was representing the New South Wales Government on a multinational mission to our Sister State Guangdong.  My photo taken for the trip is still in the State archive [click here].  The theme was regional and small business development.  The group heard presentations from Chinese bureaucrats and visited a number of factories in rural and industrial areas in Southern China.  It was clear then that China was developing at a very fast rate economically. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

A Secret Agent

A crime fiction...

Chapter 1

 

 

 - news flash -

Body in River

Monday

 

The body of a man was found floating in the Iguazú river this morning by a tourist boat.  Mary (name withheld) said it was terrible. "We were just approaching the falls when the body appeared bobbing in the foam directly in front of us.  We almost ran over it.  The driver swerved and circled back and the crew pulled him in. The poor man must have fallen - or perhaps he jumped?"

The body was discovered near the Brazilian side but was taken back to Argentina. Police are investigating and have not yet released details of the man's identity...

 

Iguazú Herald

 

Everywhere we look there is falling water. Down the track to the right is a lookout to the other side of the gorge, in Brazil, where the cliff faces are covered by maybe a kilometre of falling curtains in white windswept water. Here and there the curtains hang in gaps or are pushed aside by clumps of trees and bushes, like stagehands peeking out into a theatre before the performance.  

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Opinions and Philosophy

The reputation of nuclear power

 

 

One night of at the end of March in 1979 we went to a party in Queens.  Brenda, my first wife, is an artist and was painting and studying in New York.  Our friends included many of the younger artists working in New York at the time.  That day it had just been announced that there was a possible meltdown at a nuclear reactor at a place called a Three Mile Island , near Harrisburg Pennsylvania. 

I was amazed that some people at the party were excitedly imagining that the scenario in the just released film ‘The China Syndrome’  was about to be realised; and thousands of people would be killed. 

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