February 09, 2015

January 2015

Most of my January reading was from the Southland Times, Otago Daily Times and The Press. They're mostly the same, but there's something lovely about reading about events from 100 years ago as you go through the same landscape.

January sees the New Zealand troops settle into Egypt. There's a sort of tentative, jerky reporting about Egypt. The international news sources have a similar tone to other international news, so they're quite impersonal and terse. A fair bit of the reporting of the actual circumstances of the NZ troops is either official telegrams (terse) or personal letters from soldiers, which are intimate, informal, nervously cheerful and arrive 3 weeks after they were written. There's a definite sense of anticipation about a possible engagement with the Turkish army. The reporting of most things Turkish paints the Ottoman empire as basically already defunct. It is very easy to see how they thought an attempt to take the Dardanelles was a good idea.

The Western front doesn't seem to be moving at all, despite the carnage. I can't find most of the places in my 1907 Atlas. The reporting is down to such a small scale (a mile's movement here, two miles there) that it doesn't appear on my maps. I presume if I were living in 1915, I would have spent a morning at the city library by now and used a major atlas to look everything up. Which would help a little, but overall it is frustrating to not be able to see where anything is. I can see why some people had maps with pins in that they tracked events with. There is little reporting about the possible length of the war these days, though there is some reporting of offensives being planned for spring/summer.

Portugal has entered the war. The war in Africa is bigger than I had realised. It mostly being ignored, and what reporting there is is inevitably racist.

A small insight into the French response to the massive number of dead soldiers can be gauged by this report about flowers laid on graves for Toussaint. This happened in November, but was only reported here in January.

Mr Fisher (the Australian prime minister) is touring the country. His itinerary. The country is having much the same sort of summer we've had in 2015, except it is wetter in the deep south.

Posted by carla at February 9, 2015 08:40 PM