The last few months have been pretty productive and yielded some interesting interviews from both similar and contrasting parts of the world. So here is a bit of a summary of some of these episodes, which will hopefully encourage more people to go out and check a few more.
War has been a bit of theme lately, and two of my recent interviews involved two of the fiercest conflicts in the world today - in Ukraine and Syria. There was also another from Lebanon which touched a lot on the longer civil war in that country in the 1980s.
Let's start with Anna's story from Ukraine. I have previously interviewed a Ukrainian for the podcast, but that was well before the Russian invasion of Ukraine which turned the lives of millions upside down. A number of Ukrainians arrived in Tasmania last year as war refugees, and when the opportunity came about to interview Anna, I thought it was a chance to platform a very current and historically significant story.
Since living in Tasmania, Anna has turned what was previously more of an interest in a style of Ukrainian folk art into a small business. She sells her
artwork at Salamanca market and uses the fund to support both her family and the war effort in Ukraine.
Sandra and her family lived in Damascus for years with the shadow of
war hanging over them, until an incident occurred that was
just too close for comfort and they decided to make the slow and painstaking drive to Lebanon, where they were not particularly welcome. Eventually they arrived in Tasmania when Sandra was in her late teens, and she had to repeat her last two years at school. Now she is close to graduating as a teacher.
Ali describes the life and the places he remembers as a child in Beirut during the civil war so evocatively, that you can really almost see the city in your mind's eye. His descriptions of his family and how their lives changed over the years, really gives you a sense of how major historical events have impacted the lives of ordinary people, often tragically. Ali, however, left Lebanon after the civil war, and came to Tasmania after meeting a Tasmanian woman in London.
Dante's story is of an altogether different character, but the circumstances of coming to Tasmania were no less compelling. He was burnt out after running his own business in Ravenna, Italy for many years, his marriage was falling apart and so he was looking for an escape and a new start. Through a twist of fate or two, Tasmania was the place where he found it.
GAY NAY (Myanmar)
Gay Nay left Myanmar at a very young age as her parents fled for their lives, as they were members of the Karen people, a persecuted minority in the south of Myanmar.
She would spend much of her childhood in a refugee camp in Thailand before arriving in Tasmania at the age of 12.
Although, like many Karen people who have settled initially in Tasmania, she has gone to the mainland seeking better work opportunities, she returned as Tasmania is for her, her real home now.
So 5 quite different stories there to choose from. This will be the first of regular "highlight" blog posts I hope, so subscribe to keep updated, or follow the 177 Nations of Tasmania podcast on Spotify.
Oh yeah, and tell your friends as well !