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Meeting with Daniel Berrigan SJ New York 1998
Performing and addressing American audiences on the UN’s human rights failures in Tibet and West Papua during 2003
Herald-Sun 1998 - Spokesperson for Australians for a Free East Timor (Melbourne)
One of the books that put pressure on Canberra - Vintage 1998
Herald-Sun Newspaper 1996 - “As a portfolio, East Timor is the cemetery of Australian principle.”
TOP (left to right): Assorted media; The Bendigo Advertiser 22 June 2002; The Age 15 June 1998 BOTTOM: Congratulating Jose Ramos Horta on Nobel Peace Prize 1996; At London’s BBC Radio 5 with Amandio Gomes 1998; Reflecting with Xanana Gusmao at Melbourne Trades Hall 1999
I’m just a fellow traveller wanting to see the world a better place than it is. In this regard, I am a former human rights activist and policy advocate - the distinction being that the former relies on proactive troublemaking and the latter on proactive diplomacy. Effective interpersonal communication skills are required in both. I have lobbied in political capitals around the world and my work during those years was endorsed by global figures involved in human rights and freedom struggles. My work concentrated on East Timor, Tibet and West Papua. I truly believe that we are here to create, not to destroy, that it is the very worst thing to hurt another human being or any other form of life. Just as bad to destroy our environment and our culture. All creatures great and small are dependent upon a vibrant web of life. Upon retiring from my human rights work, I spent the next decade with severe burnout and depression. In fact, my life has been characterized by depression and PTSD since I was eight years old - another story, another time. I know I am not alone in this, that the world is often a hard place to be in. I’m now back in the saddle so to speak, concentrating on my own creativity for a while. The writings on this website will change from time to time. Many thanks for visiting. — JA PUBLISHED WORKS BRIEF BIO Jim Aubrey has been published in several mediums - poetry, short fiction, and human rights feature articles and opinion pieces - in newspapers, journals and magazines and books. His work on the struggle for freedom in East Timor has been quoted in several parliaments. Free East Timor (Editor), Vintage 1998 Between Darkness and Dawn, Poetry, Pigeon Books 2000 I am NOT the Greatest, Poetry/Performance CD, Pigeon Books 2002. Website Navigation Use the left-hand side tabs to navigate to the pages on this website. Refreshing Website Murphy’s Law, chaos theory and mental clutter - hence the need to refresh this website from time to time and have the current version. Interview 24 August 2018 with Sofia Jim Aubrey, you have just finished a manuscript for a literary fiction novel with the intriguing title, Little Anonymous & the Great Old Forest. What's it about? Everything. That's a big statement - care to elaborate. Okay. It's about who we are as a people and who we should be. About where we are now, where we are going and what we should do to get there. The journey and that fork in the road and the direction we take. Those with vested interests wanting the same path, even blocking the way — those with altruistic interests at heart taking the untravelled path. The journey is full of peril and the stakes are high. I take it you mean the environment and many battles over the years between conservationists and governments and industry or more pertinently greenies and rednecks? Yes. The famous one way back being the movement against the construction of the Franklin Dam in the late 1970s and '80s. The one right now being that damn coal mine. But there are a thousand other protest movements not so famous that have also shaped the national ethos on environment and I think one of the most important has been the battle — the thousand battles — to save old growth forests from destruction. It is fiction, isn't it? Yes, it is. And the fiction landscape, if you'll forgive the pun, is a just and fit place to validate these battles and their unsung heroes. And it's no soapbox at the Domain. Meaning? I don't use a megaphone. My characters have full and complex lives and have, like in real life, opinions and bias and crusades. The author's role is to transcend the obvious and to avoid cardboard cut-outs. In Little Anonymous & the Great Old Forest, both protagonists and antagonists are the bona fide three-course meal characters, not lightweight chocolate eclairs. And one of your heroes is twelve years old? Yes. Keira O'Faolain is a child prodigy and in normal circumstances the art world would be at her feet, but life has dealt her a cruel blow and she believes there is no recovery from her loss and the guilt and grief that compound this loss. She's also gifted in another way — prone to premonitions, isn't she? Keira sees this as a curse. Can't say why — no spoilers, right. You've employed a number of mediums in plot development — there's even several newspaper articles — why's that? I wanted a story that was more than one long narrative. So, I added the newspaper articles, a few poems and Keira's diary entries at the end of each chapter — all of them being critical parts of the plot. I was particularly moved by the flashback and surreal scenes. How did you ever imagine these? The story has been a work of patience over twelve years. Somewhere along the way I found the characters living in me. My reflections in the development of certain scenes were their reflections. Hard to explain, and I hope it doesn't sound pretentious, but it was like their voices were guiding me. Little Anonymous & the Great Old Forest is a rewrite of an earlier undertaking — what's the story there? I printed a private edition some years back called, The Village of Miracle. There was no library code or what not. There were watercolours in each chapter? Yes — a part of the plot. Took a year and a half just to source the watercolours from every corner of the globe. Sounds audacious. I wanted to see what I could do with full colour artwork and graphic design and remain ecofriendly. Can I get a copy of this private edition? No. After I sent copies to the artists and a few around the traps there weren’t any left. What does a book like that cost? A lot. Come on, how much? Two hundred and fifty bucks. What! Each? Yeah, each copy. Heavens, Jim, do you have the mad scientist gene? Yeah, well, with one thing and another I'm afraid I dropped the ball with some critically important dynamics. Subsequently there are some GPS flaws throughout the narrative. GPS? Grammar, punctuation and syntax. What happened then? Lots of soul-searching and back to the drawing board. Three years and three editorial reviews from Laurel Cohn — the new narrative arrived. No watercolours this time — instead, Keira has to explain them in her diary entries. And a new title. Yes. I wanted a title that reflected the child prodigy's role, which has expanded somewhat. And something that also reflected the backdrop to why the story is here in the first place — how critically important forests and biodiversity are in this time of climate change. Little Anonymous & the Great Old Forest does just that. What else changed? Heaps. A new beginning, a new end, a six-metre skip full of deletions and a narrative that's leaner and meaner. And a more even spread of protagonist scope. Can't let dad have all the fun. Big Sister and Little Sister share in all the dramatic developments with their father. In fact, it could be said that both daughters raise hell in their own unique ways and dad's the one catching up ... until the past ... oops, no spoilers. That's quite a story in itself. And are you happy with the result? Couldn't be happier. It's at a whole new level and Laurel's role was instrumental in getting me there. You have a significant background as a human rights activist and your work in those years was quite substantial — East Timor, Tibet, West Papua — endorsements from His Holiness the Dali Lama, Bishop Desmond Tutu, rubbing shoulders with Noam Chomsky in the book Free East Timor. Then an invitation to address the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, not to mention being condemned in our very own Parliament House. And praised in the same parliament, I might add — not that I need any praise for siding with people whose freedom has been wrenched from them. I remember — I think it was 1996, Canberra — that plane above the ANZAC Day march with the East Timor banner “broken promises, friendship abandoned”. I believe the then foreign affairs minister Kim Beazley had the pilot arrested and involved federal police. Lead in to the ABC news that evening. Yes, the extraordinary things that ordinary people have to do when those who are supposed to represent us are in bed with a psychopathic serial killer, as Jose Ramos Horta once referred to Suharto. And on the ground, the diggers? All on board. No one supported the government’s repugnant and morally bankrupt policies. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that in an era where good people around the globe are talking about a World Commons, those treacherous policies with the Timor Gap oil focus, can only be viewed as felonious acts that contributed to the dire straits of the victims of genocide in East Timor. A 25-year contribution in the death of a nation. You weren’t afraid to sling the mud, were you? Thanks to a 44-gallon drum full of villains, there was a lot of mud to sling. Starting with Gough Whitlam. I believe you had a couple of run-ins? In a radio interview with Phillip Adams you described the former prime minister as Pontius Pilate, having washed his hands of the Balibo Five and entire population of East Timor. Yes, hard to believe how anyone could be so manifestly purblind on the life and death of our citizens and the East Timorese. But Canberra had a cast of thousands supporting him. You stood for the Australian Democrats against Gareth Evans in the 1996 federal election. The media was helpful on the issue. So what are you — activist or novelist? I retired from hands-on activism quite some time ago. Burnt out to the max. Always wanted to get back to my roots — creativity — and there's no reason why the two cannot be married in a soulful way. I just have to quote one of your characters here — "there is no escaping who you are meant to be". Quite right. Jim Aubrey. I expect we'll be hearing more about Little Anonymous & the Great Old Forest very soon. Thank you, Sofia.
JIM AUBREY - ABOUT
TOP (left to right): Assorted media; The Bendigo Advertiser 22 June 2002; The Age 15 June 1998 BOTTOM: Congratulating Jose Ramos Horta on Nobel Peace Prize 1996; At London’s BBC Radio 5 with Amandio Gomes 1998; Reflecting with Xanana Gusmao, Melbourne Trades Hall 1999
JIM AUBREY - ABOUT
Herald-Sun Newspaper 1996 - “As a portfolio, East Timor is the cemetery of Australian principle.”
Performing and addressing American audiences on the UN’s human rights failures in Tibet and West Papua during 2003
Herald-Sun 1998 - Spokesperson for Australians for a Free East Timor (Melbourne)
One of the books that put pressure on Canberra - Vintage 1998
I’m just a fellow traveller wanting to see the world a better place than it is. In this regard, I am a former human rights activist and policy advocate - the distinction being that the former relies on proactive troublemaking and the latter on proactive diplomacy. Effective interpersonal communication skills are required in both. I have lobbied in political capitals around the world and my work during those years was endorsed by global figures involved in human rights and freedom struggles. My work concentrated on East Timor, Tibet and West Papua. I truly believe that we are here to create, not to destroy, that it is the very worst thing to hurt another human being or any other form of life. Just as bad to destroy our environment and our culture. All creatures great and small are dependent upon a vibrant web of life. Upon retiring from my human rights work, I spent the next decade with severe burnout and depression. In fact, my life has been characterized by depression and PTSD since I was eight years old - another story, another time. I know I am not alone in this, that the world is often a hard place to be in. I’m now back in the saddle so to speak, concentrating on my own creativity for a while. The writings on this website will change from time to time. Many thanks for visiting. — JA PUBLISHED WORKS BRIEF BIO Jim Aubrey has been published in several mediums - poetry, short fiction, and human rights feature articles and opinion pieces - in newspapers, journals and magazines and books. His work on the struggle for freedom in East Timor has been quoted in several parliaments. Free East Timor (Editor), Vintage 1998 Between Darkness and Dawn, Poetry, Pigeon Books 2000 I am NOT the Greatest, Poetry/Performance CD, Pigeon Books 2002. Website Navigation - use the left-hand side tabs to navigate. Refreshing Website -  refresh website from time to time to have the current version. Interview 24 August 2018 with Sofia Jim Aubrey, you have just finished a manuscript for a literary fiction novel with the intriguing title, Little Anonymous & the Great Old Forest. What's it about? Everything. That's a big statement - care to elaborate. Okay. It's about who we are as a people and who we should be. About where we are now, where we are going and what we should do to get there. The journey and that fork in the road and the direction we take. Those with vested interests wanting the same path, even blocking the way — those with altruistic interests at heart taking the untravelled path. The journey is full of peril and the stakes are high. I take it you mean the environment and many battles over the years between conservationists and governments and industry or more pertinently greenies and rednecks? Yes. The famous one way back being the movement against the construction of the Franklin Dam in the late 1970s and '80s. The one right now being that damn coal mine. But there are a thousand other protest movements not so famous that have also shaped the national ethos on environment and I think one of the most important has been the battle — the thousand battles — to save old growth forests from destruction. It is fiction, isn't it? Yes, it is. And the fiction landscape, if you'll forgive the pun, is a just and fit place to validate these battles and their unsung heroes. And it's no soapbox at the Domain. Meaning? I don't use a megaphone. My characters have full and complex lives and have, like in real life, opinions and bias and crusades. The author's role is to transcend the obvious and to avoid cardboard cut-outs. In Little Anonymous & the Great Old Forest, both protagonists and antagonists are the bona fide three-course meal characters, not lightweight chocolate eclairs. And one of your heroes is twelve years old? Yes. Keira O'Faolain is a child prodigy and in normal circumstances the art world would be at her feet, but life has dealt her a cruel blow and she believes there is no recovery from her loss and the guilt and grief that compound this loss. She's also gifted in another way — prone to premonitions, isn't she? Keira sees this as a curse. Can't say why — no spoilers, right. You've employed a number of mediums in plot development — there's even several newspaper articles — why's that? I wanted a story that was more than one long narrative. So, I added the newspaper articles, a few poems and Keira's diary entries at the end of each chapter — all of them being critical parts of the plot. I was particularly moved by the flashback and surreal scenes. How did you ever imagine these? The story has been a work of patience over twelve years. Somewhere along the way I found the characters living in me. My reflections in the development of certain scenes were their reflections. Hard to explain, and I hope it doesn't sound pretentious, but it was like their voices were guiding me. Little Anonymous & the Great Old Forest is a rewrite of an earlier undertaking — what's the story there? I printed a private edition some years back called, The Village of Miracle. There was no library code or what not. There were watercolours in each chapter? Yes — a part of the plot. Took a year and a half just to source the watercolours from every corner of the globe. Sounds audacious. I wanted to see what I could do with full colour artwork and graphic design and remain ecofriendly. Can I get a copy of this private edition? No. After I sent copies to the artists and a few around the traps there weren’t any left. What does a book like that cost? A lot. Come on, how much? Two hundred and fifty bucks. What! Each? Yeah, each copy. Heavens, Jim, do you have the mad scientist gene? Yeah, well, with one thing and another I'm afraid I dropped the ball with some critically important dynamics. Subsequently there are some GPS flaws throughout the narrative. GPS? Grammar, punctuation and syntax. What happened then? Lots of soul-searching and back to the drawing board. Three years and three editorial reviews from Laurel Cohn — the new narrative arrived. No watercolours this time — instead, Keira has to explain them in her diary entries. And a new title. Yes. I wanted a title that reflected the child prodigy's role, which has expanded somewhat. And something that also reflected the backdrop to why the story is here in the first place — how critically important forests and biodiversity are in this time of climate change. Little Anonymous & the Great Old Forest does just that. What else changed? Heaps. A new beginning, a new end, a six-metre skip full of deletions and a narrative that's leaner and meaner. And a more even spread of protagonist scope. Can't let dad have all the fun. Big Sister and Little Sister share in all the dramatic developments with their father. In fact, it could be said that both daughters raise hell in their own unique ways and dad's the one catching up ... until the past ... oops, no spoilers. That's quite a story in itself. And are you happy with the result? Couldn't be happier. It's at a whole new level and Laurel's role was instrumental in getting me there. You have a significant background as a human rights activist and your work in those years was quite substantial — East Timor, Tibet, West Papua — endorsements from His Holiness the Dali Lama, Bishop Desmond Tutu, rubbing shoulders with Noam Chomsky in the book Free East Timor. Then an invitation to address the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, not to mention being condemned in our very own Parliament House. And praised in the same parliament, I might add — not that I need any praise for siding with people whose freedom has been wrenched from them. I remember — I think it was 1996, Canberra — that plane above the ANZAC Day march with the East Timor banner “broken promises, friendship abandoned”. I believe the then foreign affairs minister Kim Beazley had the pilot arrested and involved federal police. Lead in to the ABC news that evening. Yes, the extraordinary things that ordinary people have to do when those who are supposed to represent us are in bed with a psychopathic serial killer, as Jose Ramos Horta once referred to Suharto. And on the ground, the diggers? All on board. No one supported the government’s repugnant and morally bankrupt policies. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that in an era where good people around the globe are talking about a World Commons, those treacherous policies with the Timor Gap oil focus, can only be viewed as felonious acts that contributed to the dire straits of the victims of genocide in East Timor. A 25-year contribution in the death of a nation. You weren’t afraid to sling the mud, were you? Thanks to a 44-gallon drum full of villains, there was a lot of mud to sling. Starting with Gough Whitlam. I believe you had a couple of run-ins? In a radio interview with Phillip Adams you described the former prime minister as Pontius Pilate, having washed his hands of the Balibo Five and entire population of East Timor. Yes, hard to believe how anyone could be so manifestly purblind on the life and death of our citizens and the East Timorese. But Canberra had a cast of thousands supporting him. You stood for the Australian Democrats against Gareth Evans in the 1996 federal election. The media was helpful on the issue. So what are you — activist or novelist? I retired from hands-on activism quite some time ago. Burnt out to the max. Always wanted to get back to my roots — creativity — and there's no reason why the two cannot be married in a soulful way. I just have to quote one of your characters here — "there is no escaping who you are meant to be". Quite right. Jim Aubrey. I expect we'll be hearing more about Little Anonymous & the Great Old Forest very soon. Thank you, Sofia.