Tag Archives: conflict

BOOK ONE OF MY MEMOIRS

Book One of my memoirs Heaven Tempers the Wind. Story of a War Child will be in print by September. The title is taken from Psalm 6: 2.

In Charles Kingsley’s book Hereward the Wake, the protagonist Hereward says, “They say heaven tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, but it tempers it too, sometimes, to the hobbled ass.”

heaven tempers the wind cover

 

Heaven Tempers the Wind. Story of a War Child tells the story of a Eurasian family caught up in the Japanese occupation of Burma during World War Two. Much of the family story is told from the point of view of the fourth child. It depicts their flight from invading forces, and gives vivid accounts of the war.

The narrative follows the family from a comfortable life under British colonial rule, to the invasion of a foreign power which renders them homeless, sick and starving. The story concludes with the end of war.

Heaven Tempers the Wind is a story of suffering which never fails in its universal appeal. The resonances then, are twofold: firstly, the conflict is one that is familiar in the Australian collective memory; secondly, another less obvious appeal lies in the retelling of some of the history of contemporary Burma, in particular the part played by Aung San (father of Aung San Suu Kyi). Readers familiar with contemporary politics would be interested in the history preceding it.

The popularity of personal war stories is widespread. Within the context of a familiar war, Heaven Tempers the Wind tells an unfamiliar story that will also be of interest to readers who still live with memories of the war in Asia. Part of Australia’s national mythology is defined by war, and particularly potent are those stories of war that involve suffering. Gallipoli is evocative, not because it is a place of victory, but for the opposite reason.

3 Comments

Filed under Hazel Barker, Hazel Barker author, Uncategorized

Live Peace by Margaret Reeson

 

Live Peace: Joy Balazo and Young Ambassadors for Peace by Margaret Reeson

(Acorn Press, 2015)

Author’s Blurb

As an experienced worker for human rights in the Asia-Pacific region, Joy Balazo was troubled by the many examples of conflict she was observing. In 2001, she devised a practical model of workshops and networks to sow ‘seeds of peace’ among young people living on opposite sides of conflict. This was named Young Ambassadors for Peace. Joy has used this model in many context As an experienced worker for human rights in the Asia-Pacific region, Joy Balazo was troubled by the many examples of conflict she was observing. In 2001, she devised a practical model of workshops and networks to sow ‘seeds of peace’ among young people living on opposite sides of conflict. This was named Young Ambassadors for Peace. Joy has used this model in many contexts, including Asian cities and Pacific islands, to help hundreds of people work for peace in their own broken communities.

Review by Hazel Barker

Live Peace by Margaret Reeson, is an excellent account of Joy Balazo and her attempts to foster peace by establishing the Young Ambassadors for Peace Programme. Her work in Papua New Guinea is the start of her journey to improve co-operation between churches and to bring about reconciliation between the opposing factions within the country. (Page 72)

The simple tactics used in the workshops surprised me, and the success, unexpected. It was backed, however, by those behind the scenes, and above all, by the grace of God. (Page 106)

The lessons learned by the work are to be commended, but the protagonist’s actions, although praise-worthy, were repetitive and not conducive to enticing the reader to read on. I think this is mostly because the writing style is not consistent. Had the story remained in the Active Voice, like that on pages 74, 77, 90 and 91, the book would have more appeal to a wider audience.

Despite this, I recommend Live Peace for its valuable content, and for introducing readers to the extraordinary life of a brave soul.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized