Introducing Human Cargo, the book

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  1. Dear Matthew: Joc(elyn) MACK – a just-retired Drama teacher of Norwich, Norfolk has just sent to me here in Australia a link to the recent BBC3 studio production of Peter BELLAMY’s “The Transports” with you as Narrator. Brilliant and insightful links explaining the historical and human aspects – as well as stories of the life of Peter himself and his background and his enormous contribution to folk music. I was an Education Officer in Sydney in touch with writers reflecting our national immigrant character – and one of them – poet, novelist, teacher-educator Peter SKRZYNECKI – sent me a cassette tape copy of “The Transports”. It was 1983, 1984. He had recognised my name and noted the link. Henry and Susannah were the grand-parents of my father’s paternal grand-father (not very far back at all). My father was killed – a passenger in a car driven by a favourite older brother – in 1951 – I was just two. Some motivation for wanting to know who I was – and where I was from on the paternal side of things. Quite consciously from the age of 11 I have been gathering stories and travelling the world to do so – in fact living variously and teaching – in Span and Germany and for over 16 years in Japan, too. I am currently working on a major essay for the Australian Dictionary of Biography on my personal search. And at this very moment I am finishing off a speech for the 230th anniversary of Henry and Susannah’s wedding in Sydney Cove – February 10th, 1788 – to be held in Windsor NSW – nearby to the historic St Matthew’s Church in the graveyard of which they both lie. My speech – on East Anglia Connections – is a back-up speech – prepared in case there is a mishap with the more significant keynote address speaker! But it will find a resting place in any event on the Reunion blogsite sometime later next month.

    I will be purchasing your book. In fact I was especially moved within your commentary for The Transports that you drew the parallels with to-day and the movement of refugees, asylum-seekers – those who prey on them – those who finally – despite the worst of political demonising and implementation of ugly push-back policies – welcome them. Here in Australia we are experiencing dreadful stuff once only ever associated with the 1930s – or with apartheid-era Suid-Afrika – asylum-seekers still locked up on off-shore island state bullied by Australia in ways reminiscent/reflective of the recent US administrations – and on those island gulag/gaols abused as sub-human – bashed and sexually assaulted and even murdered or left without proper medical treatment – to die! It’s beyond hideous! Keep in mind the names of the past and now present PMs here – Tony Abbott (born in the UK) and the current pusillanimous (thanks Monty Python) cur Malcolm Turnbull (some of us call him Malcolm TREMBLE) and two uglies as Ministers for Immigration – now morphed into a huge Home Affairs Ministry – police state kinds of surveillance and undemocratic powers) – a Scott Morrison (happy-clapper Christian too) and now Peter Dutton (a policeman in the final years of a fascist Queensland Premier of years past Johannes Bjelke-Petersen – the most corrupt leader of the most corrupt state in Australia in its 1970s, 1980s). Anyway – bravo for your book! For your understanding that social justice is something we have to hold as a banner in front of us – that no social progress is guaranteed and that we are all of us siblings – no matter the ethnic, cultural, national, religious background!

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