by Meridith Mckinnon
Naming this blog post after the song title Message in a Bottle by The Police back in 1979, is no coincidence. And for those too young, surely you know Sting, lead singer of The Police so go google the song! Anyhow, it was kind of like an alliance of the stars…something like that…1979 was the year I started writing, my book begins around this year, and then there’s the lyrics!
So, in the words of this song the castaway sends a message out to sea in a bottle and after a year, in despair, he thinks no-one will ever hear him or read his message but then he wakes the next day to find ‘a hundred billion bottles’ on the shore!
Writing is my message in a bottle and my way of finding a voice.
Our messages need to be loud and clear and when we think no-one is listening, try harder. When we think no-one listens, speak louder.
In 1979 Cambodian refugees fled across borders to escape war as Kampuchean rebels fought to overthrow Pol Pot. I was living ...
in central Thailand at the time and it was clear the impact this war had on employment and the economy. Also in 1979 in Seoul, after protests, martial law was passed in the city and then after further talks from this the President of South Korea was assassinated (His wife was been assassinated in 1974). From the 1970’s North Korea has remained one of the most isolated and inaccessible countries in the world. Focus remains on heavy defence spending and the population remain poor and short of food. By parallel, in the late 1970’s Burma (commonly referred to as Myanmar) was well established in the division of ‘hill tribes’ and Burmans. This division continues today and is one of the most violent and internally brutal clashes in the world. Conflict and suppression combined fills refugee camps on the Thai border from all these places and some have now lived there for decades. Third generations have been born and still no resolution against persecution, statelessness, poverty, hunger or torture.
Hard to believe that humans continue to commit unthinkable crimes against humanity. So for me 1979 holds many landmark events that to this day remain unresolved and continue to displace, murder and persecute people.
My message in a bottle is not only to my friends, family and everyone who sits in the comfort of their chair but to the 65 million refugees worldwide who fear they have no hope. I send them hope in my message. Hope to stop the hate and find peace. What would your message be?