Bio: Born in Stockton, Yorkshire, 1948.
Education: Maidstone grammar school, the royal agricultural college, Cirencester, and the University of new England, Armidale, NSW Australia.
Moved to Sydney in 1971.
More than thirty years working in developing countries, a scientist and economist.
Divorced with three grown up children.
Writing stories and poetry since 12 years old. In Vanuatu, 1997, began a series of books and poems. Several academic papers have been published. Four books are waiting in line (written in North-east Thailand between 2001 and 2014.
Online work is on my blog roderickwaller, and also a Canadian web-site: wattpad.
Enjoy sailing, horseriding, reading and writing. And being a father to my great grown up kids.
Currently live in St Kilda, Melbourne.
Favorite words: Life is not linear, and a ship in harbor isn’t much use.
Station To Station
My dad’s roots are in Yorkshire, same as my mother; childhood sweethearts. You would be hard pressed to find a more stereotypical Englishman; reserved. strong, a big man. His father was a coal miner, short, stocky, strong. Dad had six brothers. Mum, seven sisters. The earliest I remember was Dad bent on moving south. I guessed (later in life), and I still don’t know if it was true, that he desired to improve (and his family, he was a good man), his station in life, to move from his working class origins to the ‘posh’ south.
Mum was dead against moving from the start. Her roots were stronger I think, it could have been maternal instinct. Anyway as it happened we moved from Stockton (our birthplace), to Accrington, Lancashire, not south but on the same latitude on the west coast of Northern England, from the coal mines of Stockton to the cotton mills of Accrington. So Mum was happy, we had not moved one degree of latitude.
Our family was growing, I was seven, my brother, six, and a sister, six months old. Life was good, and then one day, out of the blue our bliss was shattered. Our house was filled with soft-stepping, long silences and tension waiting to snap. Us kids sat in the lounge room half-watching TV, it was 1956, we had one of the first 12inch black and white TV’s. But we heard also raised voices in the kitchen. What happened was Dad had given notice at the power station and without saying anything, applied and got a job in Kent, the isle of grain, BP Oil refinery, thirty miles south of London.
So he got his way. We took the overnight train to London, it was warm in our carriage, the November wind blew harsh outside… Mum was pretty quiet; Dad did his best to get us all cheerful.
After we had settled in to our new home in the village of Hoo, life returned to being a vibrant, happy household. Dad had moved up the social ladder, though his thick Yorkshire accent remained. Us kids slowly took on a Kentish accent, Mum had her way also, every year we’d pack the car and journey north to spend our holidays with Mum’s sisters, and every Xmas or Easter our northern cousins would pile in a car and drive down south to our ‘posh’ house.
State of Play of the campiagne to ban landmines around the world.
The Ottawa Convention, also referred to as the “Mine Ban Treaty,” prohibits the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of anti-personnel landmines (APLs). It requires states-parties to destroy their stockpiled APLs within four years and eliminate all APL holdings, including mines currently planted in the soil, within 10 years. Countries may request a renewable extension, which can be up to 10 years long, to fulfill their destruction obligations. States-parties are also required annually to report to the UN secretary-general their total APL stockpiles, the technical characteristics of their APLs, the location of all mined areas, and the status of APL destruction programs.
The convention, which is of unlimited duration and open to all nations, entered into force March 1, 1999. As of March 2013, 160 countries had ratified or acceded to the treaty, and one country, the Marshall Islands, has signed the accord but not ratified it. States-parties overwhelmingly come from Europe, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Almost no countries in the Near East and only about half of the countries in the Asia-Pacific region have signed the treaty.
Some key current and past producers and users of landmines, including the United States, China, India, Pakistan, and Russia, have not signed the treaty. The George W. Bush administration announced Feb. 27, 2004 that the United States would not join the Ottawa Convention. The United States is party to the 1996 amended mines protocol of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which restricts but does not ban APL use. †The Obama administration has stated that its current landmine policy is under review and plans to clarify its position on the Ottawa treaty in the future.
A precise accounting of the number of landmines planted globally is not possible. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a coalition of more than 1,400 non-government organizations working on landmine issues, has estimated that 59 countries have landmines on their territories. The coalition also has recently estimated that as many as 100 million APLs may be stockpiled around the globe, of which roughly 14 million are stockpiled by Ottawa Convention states-parties and signatories.
The following is a complete list of all Ottawa Convention signatories and states-parties:
Country Signature Deposit Afghanistan 9/11/02 Albania 9/8/98 2/29/00 Algeria 12/3/97 10/9/01 Andorra 12/3/97 6/29/98 Angola 12/4/97 7/5/02 Antigua & Barbuda 12/3/97 5/3/99 Argentina 12/4/97 9/14/99 Australia 12/3/97 1/14/99 Austria 12/3/97 6/29/98 Bahamas 12/3/97 7/31/98 Bangladesh 5/7/98 9/6/00 Barbados 12/3/97 1/26/99 Belarus 9/03/03 Belgium 12/3/97 9/4/98 Belize 2/27/98 4/23/98 Benin 12/3/97 9/25/98 Bhutan 8/18/05 Bolivia 12/3/97 6/9/98 Bosnia and Herzegovina 12/3/97 9/8/98 Botswana 12/3/97 3/1/00 Brazil 12/3/97 4/30/99 Brunei Darussalam 12/4/97 4/24/06 Bulgaria 12/3/97 9/4/98 Burkina Faso 12/3/97 9/16/98 Burundi 12/3/97 10/22/03 Cambodia 12/3/97 7/28/99 Cameroon 12/3/97 9/19/02 Canada 12/3/97 12/3/97 Cape Verde 12/4/97 5/14/01 Central African Republic 11/8/02 Chad 7/6/98 5/6/99 Chile 12/3/97 9/10/01 Colombia 12/3/97 9/6/00 Comoros 9/19/02 Congo 5/4/01 Cook Islands 12/3/97 3/15/06 Costa Rica 12/3/97 3/17/99 Cote d’Ivoire 12/3/97 6/30/00 Croatia 12/4/97 5/20/98 Cyprus 12/4/97 1/17/03 Czech Republic 12/3/97 10/26/99 Democratic Republic of Congo 5/2/02 Denmark 12/4/97 6/8/98 Djibouti 12/3/97 5/18/98 Dominica 12/3/97 3/26/99 Dominican Republic 12/3/97 6/30/00 Ecuador 12/4/97 4/29/99 El Salvador 12/4/97 1/27/99 Equatorial Guinea 9/16/98 Eriitrea 8/27/01 Estonia 5/12/04 Ethiopia 12/3/97 12/17/04 Fiji 12/3/97 6/10/98 Finland 1/09/12 France 12/3/97 7/23/98 Gabon 12/3/97 9/8/00 Gambia 12/4/97 9/23/02 Germany 12/3/97 7/23/98 Ghana 12/4/97 6/30/00 Greece 12/3/97 9/25/03 Grenada 12/3/97 8/19/98 Guatemala 12/3/97 3/26/99 Guinea 12/4/97 10/8/98 Guinea-Bissau 12/3/97 5/22/01 Guyana 12/4/97 8/5/03 Haiti 12/3/97 2/15/06 Holy See 12/4/97 2/17/98 Honduras 12/3/97 9/24/98 Hungary 12/3/97 4/6/98 Iceland 12/4/97 5/5/99 Indonesia 12/4/97 2/20/07 Iraq 8/15/07 Ireland 12/3/97 12/3/97 Italy 12/3/97 4/23/99 Jamaica 12/3/97 7/17/98 Japan 12/3/97 9/30/98 Jordan 8/11/98 11/13/98 Kenya 12/5/97 1/23/01 Kiribati 9/7/00 Kuwait 7/31/07 Latvia 7/1/05 Lesotho 12/4/97 12/2/98 Liberia 12/23/99 Liechtenstein 12/3/97 10/5/99 Lithuania 2/26/99 5/12/03 Luxembourg 12/4/97 6/14/99 Macedonia, FYR 9/9/98 Madagascar 12/4/97 9/16/99 Malawi 12/4/97 8/13/98 Malaysia 12/3/97 4/22/99 Maldives 10/1/98 9/7/00 Mali 12/3/97 6/2/98 Malta 12/4/97 5/7/01 Marshall Islands 12/4/97 Mauritania 12/3/97 7/21/00 Mauritius 12/3/97 12/3/97 Mexico 12/3/97 6/9/98 Moldova 12/3/97 9/8/00 Monaco 12/4/97 11/17/98 Montenegro 10/23/06 Mozambique 12/3/97 8/25/98 Namibia 12/3/97 9/21/98 Nauru 8/7/00 Netherlands 12/3/97 4/12/99 New Zealand 12/3/97 1/27/99 Nicaragua 12/4/97 11/30/98 Niger 12/4/97 3/23/99 Nigeria 9/27/01 Niue 12/3/97 4/15/98 Norway 12/3/97 7/9/98 Palau 11/19/07 Panama 12/4/97 10/7/98 Papua New Guinea 6/28/04 Paraguay 12/3/97 11/13/98 Peru 12/3/97 6/17/98 Philippines 12/3/97 2/15/00 Poland 12/4/97 12/27/12 Portugal 12/3/97 2/19/99 Qatar 12/4/97 10/13/98 Romania 12/3/97 11/30/00 Rwanda 12/3/97 6/8/00 St. Kitts & Nevis 12/3/97 12/2/98 St. Lucia 12/3/97 4/13/99 St. Vincent & the Grenadines 12/3/97 8/1/01 Samoa 12/3/97 7/23/98 San Marino 12/3/97 3/18/98 Sao Tome & Principe 4/30/98 3/31/03 Senegal 12/3/97 9/24/98 Serbia & Montenegro 9/18/03 Seychelles 12/4/97 6/2/00 Sierra Leone 7/29/98 4/25/01 Slovakia 12/3/97 2/25/99 Slovenia 12/3/97 10/27/98 Solomon Islands 12/4/97 1/26/99 Somalia 4/16/12 South Africa 12/3/97 6/26/98 South Sudan 11/11/11 Spain 12/3/97 1/19/99 Sudan 12/4/97 10/13/03 Suriname 12/4/97 5/23/02 Swaziland 12/4/97 12/22/98 Sweden 12/4/97 11/30/98 Switzerland 12/3/97 3/24/98 Tajikistan 10/12/99 Tanzania 12/3/97 11/13/00 Thailand 12/3/97 11/27/98 Timor Leste 5/7/03 Togo 12/4/97 3/9/00 Trinidad & Tobago 12/4/97 4/27/98 Tunisia 12/4/97 7/9/99 Turkey 9/25/03 Turkmenistan 12/3/97 1/19/98 Tuvalu 9/13/11 Uganda 12/3/97 2/25/99 Ukraine 2/24/99 12/27/05 United Kingdom 12/3/97 7/31/98 Uruguay 12/3/97 6/7/01 Vanuatu 12/4/97 9/16/05 Venezuela 12/3/97 4/14/99 Yemen 12/4/97 9/1/98 Zambia 12/12/97 2/23/01 Zimbabwe 12/3/97 6/18/98 Posted: March 4, 2013
Its May 1997, cold, wet at Moscow airport. A man holding a placard with my name on it; relief, the internet date was nowhere to be seen; disappointment. Off we trundle in the ancient combi toward the city caught up in the early morning traffic; drizzling rain from a gray sky, despondent faces staring out of ancient buses. The driver handed me a camel; what the hell! I’m jet-lagged and feeling very vulnerable. I took a drag, the quit smoking resolution over in a second.
A lot of important looking people were milling around in the hotel reception area, and what I guessed was the poshest hotel in Russia if not the world. Well-dressed men and women: military types, a soldier with one leg on crutches, doctors, diplomats, TV news teams, and the archbishop of the Russian Orthad oxy church, and the first lady of Russia. The ban the landmine lobby; mostly from Canada whispered nervously in a huddle. This was their day in the sun; a year’s planning to put on this convention. Will the Russians sign the treaty? But I knew the real talking will take place behind closed doors. This opening session was put on for the media and the masses.
I did my bit, a benefit cost analysis of clearing landmines in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, the benefits won by a mile. Would the Russians buy our pitch? After my gig and a few handclaps, who should walk in the door but Vittoria, the internet date. We had lunch, both nervous. After a long tense silence I excused myself and went to the restroom. As I returned a delegate waved and marched over, a retired US army general on our side’
“Have a look at this.” Handing me a newspaper cutting.
I read it over and over and felt hot and sweaty Rats. The one thing in all the universe I was terrified of, to be touched by one would bring on a fatal heart attack, I knew because my mind had held on to this phobia ever since I read George Orwell’s 1984, where a prisoner was held while a small metal cage was fitted over his scalp and sealed at his neck. There were three fat, very hungry rats in the cage. The image has been around for thirty odd years. Well, there had been field trials of using rats to smell for hidden landmines and it appeared to be a success. I shuddered, then walked slowly to our table. I put on a feeble smile when Vittoria glanced at me, during which my mind was going over my analysis, trained personnel, robots, tanks, dogs in the painstaking job of rooting out the millions of landmines scattered around the world.
I shook hands with Vittoria; we both knew it wasn’t going to work, and I went to my hotel room. What the hell, I’ll rework the data including the very terror of my existence; Rats.