• Aisling Salisbury

Welcome, Inspiration and Captain Cook

Updated: Feb 16

So welcome to my little slice of the web and my first online post. The first question I would guess that many have is, why? Well, like many I am now getting concerned with the state of affairs in day to day life. Call me crazy if you want, however, I personally feel that there is a lack of facts and constructive arguments in the mainstream. What is more concerning is that debate is now made based entirely on emotion and character assassinations instead of a counter viewpoint. I guess now is the time to start with when the seeds to start this blog and express my passions and personal views came about. It started back in April of this year.


First I want to apologise as I do lack the screenshots of the comment thread. I have searched to see if Instagram can provide them but it appears not, the user who started this online debate has deleted their account and combined with the fact I blocked them due to the threatening messages I received from them, they seem to be gone?


Way to go here Ash, you said you would be "factual and truthful at all times". Ok, first post and I can't provide the evidence, I see the irony. So folks, please take my word on this.


Anyway, in April I posted the following to my Instagram feed:

My Instagram feed had a bunch of likes on ALL my posts from a certain user leading up to this one. When it came to the above post, I received a comment that was along the lines of "I was liking you until this. You are wrong and you know it!"


My response was simply "please explain?"


It went straight to a personal attack on myself. That I am trans and that those times wouldn't have looked too kindly on me etc.


To which I responded "may we dispense with the personal attacks and speak facts please"


I received the response "well please go ahead tell me the facts"


My response was very long but the summary was inclusive of the following points:


  • Cook was a master navigator. Consider hopping on a ship with none of the modern-day amenities we have now (GPS etc.) and not knowing if you would ever return. Circumnavigating the globe back then was an impressive feat, so the guy is a master navigator;

  • He kept his crew safe from scurvy, it was the first time the majority of a ship's crew had survived such a perilous and arduous journey;

  • The transition of Venus was an important step in scientific discovery and knowledge for the time. It also aided in navigational skills for decades later and also did provide a degree of understanding of the Solar system;

  • When arriving in New Zealand, Cook shot one of his sailors for killing a native Māori. Now, yes Cook did take a native from Tahiti which aided in the negotiating with the Māori tribes but Cook's belief was "an eye for an eye" because King George III had ordered that Cook make peace with any tribes or natives he came in contact with during his voyage. Cook also fulled charted the New Zealand coastline proving that it was two islands;

  • When he entered Australian waters he charted the East Coast, something that had never been done. It also resulted in much of the flora and fauna of Australia being catalogued for the first time. Many of those samples are still so well preserved that they are in the Archives in Sydney now, following England returning them to Australia;

  • Botany Bay (now Sydney) was considered neutral territory by the Indigenous Australians and thus this is the reason Cook and the crew weren't attacked or threatened on landing. Cook and his crew noticed that they were unable to communicate or form any relationship with the inhabitants. It was a society that they were completely unfamiliar with;

  • When Cook's 'Endeavour' took damage after striking the Barrier Reef, they landed in what is now modern-day Cooktown. Cook and the crew were able to negotiate with the indigenous people to gain food and wood to make repairs to the ship before leaving. From some of my reading what probably worked in their favour is that what is now modern-day Cooktown was also an area that was considered neutral territory and was used for trade.

  • I don't deny that English Settlement displaced and resulted in the deaths of many upon many of Indigenous tribes. But to blame that on Cook is not correct. Don't confuse the actual English settlement in 1788 onwards as being the same as Cook;

  • If Cook didn't land in Australia and the English didn't come back later to settle. Then no doubt another Empire of the time would've eventually and probably would have done very similar. We now live in a world where you can board a plane and be in another culture and civilisation in a matter of hours. Things were different back then.

The above is just a snippet of what I replied with. I finished asking for a rebuttal but didn't get one, instead, I got a lot of threatening messages from this person calling me all things under the sun. The fact that their account is now gone, does lead me to believe that this person was just a troll, however, as I'm sure you would agree my post was more about ensuring we go "hey this happened, we now have this country because of it. We now have our standards and understand the wrongs of the past. Don't burry it." Instead, I was attacked for expressing an opinion.


Whilst discussing the above with a friend, who was, at the time (and now too) is having to home school their children. They told me that they were concerned now in regards to how everything is almost spoonfed to their kids. Discussing the above Captain Cook issue, she told me "Like you, when I was at school if we had a report on Captain Cook to do, I would go to the Library, rent books, use an encyclopedia or Encarta (remember that?). I would even ask my parents and grandparents. Now my kids would virtually get two or three A4 sheets of Captain Cook and to write the report or answer the questions for their homework, everything is on there. Even if they were to 'Google' Cook, Google and online platforms can control content. I feel my kids now have lost the art of doing research and are just spoonfeed things to regurgitate."


I couldn't agree more. Now things aren't challenged or asked. I even remember the first time at school when it came to Cook and English settlement basically spending two weeks learning about it. Then the next two weeks learning about Indigenous history so you could see both sides of the coin and make your decisions. Learning both sides of the coin makes us more educated and better off as a society. As I say those who forget their past are destined to relive it.


We are now also seeing when it comes to modern-day journalism that all reporters are now writing as if it's an editorial. My father worked for a Newspaper back home and I remember learning from him and from visiting his office many times, that journalism was about reporting the facts, not an opinion. The editor's job was to write the editorial that effectively said: "hey those were the facts, but this is our standpoint". Now, yes, if the paper favoured one side of the political spectrum you might be 55/45 so the editor might publish your story, but you still reported both sides of the story and left the opinion to your editor. Now, reporting is an editorial from each individual journalist. It's concerning.


Anyway, that's the story as to what started my idea of beginning a blog and website. Especially during the period of instability the world now faces, COVID, protests, lockdowns etc. People need to research the facts, look at alternative viewpoints and make decisions instead of simply following a herd mentality. I will be sharing my opinions here but I will attempt to always back it up with facts and the arguments from both sides.


I do plan to post at least twice a week. I can assure you it won't always be of a political or social issue, sometimes I might just share a story or two with you. I do understand that sometimes things I post might not be the "mainstream" narrative. But as I say, I am happy for constructive discussions and opposing viewpoints. Therefore, any comments or emails please remember to be respectful to the debate.


This site is about being respectful, understanding and seeing another argument and to learn from one another. No agendas, just a viewpoint. I hope you enjoy what I have to offer on this site.


Ash

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