Lest We Forget. "The Oromo in Exile: From the Horn of Africa to the Suburbs of Australia" by Greg Gow, "From White Australia to Woomera: The Story of Australian Immigration" by James Jupp and "Mixed Matches: Interracial Marriage in Australia" by Jane Duncan Owen. [review]
The arresting cover of James Jupp's important "From White Australia to Woomera" features the distraught faces of the children of detained asylum seekers. As the blurb puts it: 'There never has been a greater need for a sober, historically informed yet critical account of immigration policy in Australia.' This is indeed a book for the times. "Mixed Matches" is Owen's study of what she terms 'interracial' marriages in Australia. Owen is herself a partner in a 'mixed race' marriage. Of Anglo-Scots background, she married a Malaysian of Sinhalese and Indian parents in 1956, when such marriages were uncommon and frowned upon. This perhaps accounts for the readiness of more than 100 couples or partners (and some of their children) to give the warm and frank interviews that form the heart of this intriguing book. Greg Gow's distinguished work of participant observation, "The Oromo in Exile", is a book that conveys 'the pain of exile' experienced by the Oromo people who fled Ethiopia and now live in Melbourne's inner-western suburbs of Sunshine, Footscray and Kensington. The story of persecution, escape, flight, refugee-camp existence and eventual reassembly in Melbourne is told in a series of asides as Gow explores how the Oromo enact in story, song, music and ritual their sense of nationalism, and sustain their notion of home with the assistance of modern technology such as the VCR and cassette player.