First Blog: I should tell you this is my first blog since becoming an author and I’m scared! I am an ordinary person writing about extraordinary events - about refugees, displaced people, human trafficking and smuggling. #3
by Meridith Mckinnon
MY FIRST BLOG! My friend Kate told me I needed to tell the story of how I wrote my book and came to know what I know. I’m happy to share all this but I’m not confident that anyone wants to really know! I tell myself I am not an expert but I have years of knowledge. I tell myself I am not alone in advocating for human rights and stateless people ...
and I totally get that people are overwhelmed by such topics. We live in a time of news headlines that intrude on our daily lives. Syria has dominated our news channels and the media has appeared to forget the Rohingya, Burmese, Congolese and thousands of others. Apart from being displaced what could all these cultures possibly have in common? They have courage and resilience and bucket loads of it.
I totally get that from the comfort of our living rooms the stateless and displaced seem so distant and how can we possibly help from so far away? I get that we have Australians struggling with their own problems of poverty, family violence and isolation. I understand we need to help our immediate neighbours and family and advocate for support and services. But somewhere deep inside me I cannot let the bigger picture go.
I am an ordinary person having met extraordinary people and lived in amazing places. I am but a country girl from rural Australia who has had the fortune to experience cultures vastly different from my own and for extended periods. And so I wrote a book. Big deal! Lots of people write a book so why would I be any different? Maybe for the fact that my story is based on true events and places? The people I have met and the places I have been? From childhood to adulthood I have had these places and people in my head and many I didn’t understand incredibly until I began to write about it! Maybe for the fact that the book is set in Warrnambool and Thailand and it's exploring the contrast in cultures and relationships. Or maybe for the fact it is written with passion and advocacy for freedom and peace.
Life can be brutal and cruel and yet we can also celebrate so many wonderful things! Why is it so unfair that in one culture it is so cruel and in another so splendid? This intrigues me and confuses me. As a teenager there was so much I didn’t understand and it took me years to piece together events and create some kind of comprehension why things happened like they did, in other cultures. This doesn’t mean I have found all the answers or understand everything but it has given me the vehicle to write and give my experiences a voice.
Even if I reach just one person to further understand the complexities of what makes a person seek asylum or get on a boat, then I am happy.