Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 164

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The Martinshof Story - A Philosophy of Happiness - Life Awareness - Maps & other Text series

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Sunday & Monday, June 6 & 7 2010 (diary, sport)

Fransesca Shiavone winning the French Open, June 2010 Although the Australian Semantha Stoser was the strong favourite, it was instead Fransesca Shiavone who won the French Open final last Saturday. And well deservedly so. Fransesca had a good tactical game plan which she executed to perfection. She is the first Italian to ever win a Grand Slam tennis tournament.
But Stoser too can look back on some great performances in this tournament which may stand her in good stead in the upcoming Wimbleton tournament.

Australia did have one great sporting success this weekend. The Matildas (Australian women national soccer team) won the Asia Cup, beating the favoured DPR Korea in the final after a 1-1 draw in a penalty shoot out (5-4). They have also qualified for the World Cup in Germany (?) next year.

We have had some (what we here consider) very cold nights (down to 10°C) and I had so much trouble starting my Vito van last Friday morning that I decided to take it to the garage. It will be repaired by this Tuesday or Wednesday and meanwhile I am borrowing a car from a bridge friend who is "down south" for a few weeks.

The last "peace boat" heading for Gaza was safely intercepted by the Israelis and diverted to an Israeli harbour. It has only been one boat carrying aggressive Turkish Islamic activists which caused all the trouble last week.
I read a report this weekend that the Turkish Government has been spreading anti-Israel and anti-US rhetoric and mis-information amongst its people over a period of time. They have no hope whatsoever of joining the European Union and are clearly drifting further and further away into the hard line Islamic sphere of influence.

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Tuesday & Wednesday, June 8 & 9 2010 (diary)

Charles Darwin One of the books I am reading at present is Empire, a most entertaining historical account by Niall Ferguson of "How Britain made the Modern World".   Beside providing a good picture of the rise of the British Empire (from the middle of the 17th Century) and its eventual decline, the book is full with curious, interesting and revealing details. Here is one :

George Eyre became (in the early 1800s) the first white man to walk across the Australian desert from Adelaide to Moorundi. For this feat he was rewarded with the post of Magistrate and Protector of the Aborigines in the area, and Lake Eyre and the Eyre Peninsula were named after him.
In due course he was transferred across the globe and appointed Governor-in-Chief for Jamaica. Not long after his arrival he brutally crushed the Morant Bay uprising of the natives (in 1831) who wanted an end to their sub-poverty living conditions and a say in the Government. Hundreds of natives were killed, women raped, children shot dead in front of their parents. The innocent landowner and highly respected former Magistrate George William Gordon was (like several others) convicted on falsified evidence and executed.

The British Government (under Queen Victoria) at home was most displeased, dismissed Eyre from his post and recalled him back to England.
Here a group of liberals, including Charles Darwin, made several attempts to put Eyre on trial on several charges including accessory to murder, but were unsuccessful as Eyre had several influential friends (including Charles Dickens) who saved him from such fate.

At the time there were two opposing political philosophies prevalent in the Empire : the British Government at home who was very much in favour of enlightenment and gradual transfer of Government power to the natives themselves (especially in India and the West Indies), and the officials on the ground (in the colonies) who were (largely out of self interest) strongly against it.

It is of course not surprising that Charles Darwin was on the side of the Government. After all there is probably no other human being in our history who has done more for our enlightenment than he. Eyre on the other hand was clearly on the opposing side and strongly against enlightenment and progress.
I find it therefore curious that the names of both these two men are engraved on the map of Australia and (most appropriately) at exact opposite ends of the continent, Darwin in the far North, Eyre on the extreme South of it : Good (enlightenment) opposite Bad (backwardness and cruelty), 3000 km apart.

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Thursday, June 10 2010 (diary, Lake Eyre)

Pelicans at Lake Eyre, South Australia Mentioning Lake Eyre in my Blog yesterday it was also on the TV News last night. Lake Eyre is a huge inland lake in South Australia about 700 km NNW of Adelaide. It has a catchment area equal in size to France or Germany.
Most years it remains empty, but this year, after the enormous floods in January and February, it is steadily filling up.
Lake Eyre is the favourite breeding ground for pelicans in Australia, as well as for several other birds, such as some seagulls, but only when there is water in the lake.

It is quite amazing how these birds simply sense, wherever they may be, when the lake is filling up.
Back in 2002, when I did my trip all round Australia, I stayed at the lovely Western Australian coastal town of Kalbari (200 km North of Geraldton). There are lots of pelicans there throughout the year. The locals told me that on any year that there was water flowing into Lake Eyre (2500 km away) the pelicans would somehow sense this and immediately take off and fly to it non stop.   Well, that is certainly happening this year, the pelicans are arriving there in the thousands literally from all over Australia.

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