Having moved permanently to Australia two years ago I am becoming more and more remote from the outside world. News coverage here is parochial. If it didn’t happen in Australia, New South Wales or Sydney, then it’s not really worth more than a 30 second clip, while a dog lost in a Sydney suburb gets 5 minutes.
To be fair the Paris attacks did get comprehensive coverage – but from the perspective of Australian tourists caught in the terror (the most coverage for an Australian tourist shot in the bum), and the newpaper headlines now read “What does this mean for Australia?”.
Australia has insulated itself from the outside world with a heavily protected high wage economy where liesure is King. Rush hour starts at 2 pm on a Friday. And in my socio-economic bracket of retirees, caravans and boats and weekends away are a must. We have made a good friend Trevor, who has helped us enormously to settle into our new home.
Typically Aussie, originally from a farming background, he is able to turn his hand to anything, and source all sorts of tools from his extensive Man Shed. And he is keen to take us on a long camping trip into the bush and The Outback to remote and delightful places like Barrington Tops, and forget the outside world which holds no interest for him.
And why not?
Without wishing to trivialize a very serious problem for many brave soldiers I think I am suffering from a form of Traumatic Stress Disorder. Whatever news I get from the Middle East (buried back at Page 28 of “serious” newspapers) only concerns the barbaric acts of ISIS, the atavistic struggle between the Israelis and the Palestinians, or the chaos that exists in Iraq and Syria.
This area was the Cradle of our Civilization. Egypt and The Fertile Crescent, The Ur of Chaldea, Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and The Euphrates that gave us mathematics and astronomy, and enriched our lives with the 3 great montheistic religions of Judaeism, Christianity and Islam. And I lived and worked in that region for 40 years and met, made friends and enjoyed the company of many Iranian and Arab people. Intelligent, educated, cultured and interesting people that they are, always concerned for the health and happiness of you and your family. Now all I hear is death and disaster and no hope of an end to barbaric blood letting.
So why not now, “Fade far away, dissolve and quite forget the weariness, the fever and the fret.”
Why not travel with Trevor to The Outback and 40,000 years of Dreaming?
Because I owe it to Darius Gharamanpour, Frank Zarinal, Davood Nasiri, Said Al-Jurbi, Mohammed Al-Ghamdi, Mohammed Al-Shuwaikhat, Khalid Al-Onazi, and many many others too numerous to mention who gave me a good and interesting career, enriched my life and saved my soul – first when I fled from violent and drug-addicted New York on the edge of a nervous breakdown – and again when I was made redundant by the American fad of “downsizing” just when I needed to pay for my daughters’ college education.
If you want insights into the Middle East, and its harsh and apparently barbaric societies, from the perspective of weird and wonderful oilfield trash, expatriate characters who washed up there in the oil patch from 1960 to 2001, preview my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” at:
and download it if you have a Kindle.
Or if you prefer a real book you can order the paperback edition with free delivery worldwide from:
Using the ISBN number is 978-1908147097
or direct from my publisher