Posted 10 апреля 2023,, 08:17

Published 10 апреля 2023,, 08:17

Modified 10 апреля 2023,, 10:36

Updated 10 апреля 2023,, 10:36

A glass of criminal past: how Australia studies its history

A glass of criminal past: how Australia studies its history

10 апреля 2023, 08:17
Australian winemakers are releasing a line of wine dedicated to the crimes for which British citizens were subject to expulsion to this continent.

Russian journalist Sergey M., who lives in Finland, drew attention in a supermarket to the unusual name of one of the brands of Australian wine - 19 CRIMES (English: 19 crimes) – and found out extremely interesting details of its origin. It turned out that this is a kind of social advertising dedicated to the harsh past of the Green Continent:

"Behind the ingenious marketing is a memorial idea - to reveal the heritage of Australia as a colonial nation of exiled immigrants. 19 CRIMES is a list of 19 crimes that were punishable by deportation to Australia; each type of wine is a photo of a person convicted of a crime from the specified list and the real history of deportation. (Which, by the way, each hero can tell himself if you install their application and send a smartphone to the bottle).

The list of crimes is amazing, such catalogs were loved by Borges:  

  1. Grand theft in the amount of more than one shilling
  2. Petty theft for less than one shilling
  3. Buying or receiving stolen goods
  4. Theft, purchase or receipt of lead, iron or copper
  5. Impersonating an "Egyptian" (as Roma, Gypsies were called in England -- The Egyptians Act of 1530 criminalized vagrancy)
  6. Theft from a furnished room
  7. Arson of the undergrowth
  8. Theft of letters, mail and transfers
  9. Assault for the purpose of robbery
  10. Stealing fish from a pond or river
  11. Theft or damage of roots, trees or plants
  12. Bigamy
  13. Weaning, cutting or burning clothes
  14. Forgery of copper coins
  15. Underground marriage
  16. Stealing the shroud from the grave
  17. Transporting too many passengers across the Thames in case someone drowns
  18. Incorrigible villains who escaped from prison, and persons pardoned from the death penalty
  19. Theft of resin products.

But the most eloquent name here is the very type of punishment, conviction by transportation, "transportation conviction". Moving in space is seen here not as a benefit and an opportunity, but as a punishment, and this is the essence of colonial thinking, which considers space as a category of exile, exclusion, oblivion, erasure from memory. A decent life is concentrated in the metropolis, life in a colony is a punishment or public service for a large reward.

The Russian Empire was founded on the same principle, growing colonies, prisons, mines with convicts, Russian space is not the American frontier, El Dorado and the promised land, it is the territory of internal colonization (Alexander Etkind), repressive and penitentiary space, Chekhov's "Sakhalin Island", Solovki, Kolyma and GULAG, where they go by stage and disappear without a trace.

It's only in Australia that this colonial legacy has been overcome, reinterpreted and is now being served up in the form of this elegant marketing move. And in Russia, the "punishment by space" continues as before - take at least the inhuman practice of staging prisoners, when a person is transported for weeks or months on long-distance shipments, and all this time he is completely disenfranchised, without communication with lawyers and without news for relatives - and then suddenly appears 5 thousand kilometers away. Why is this being done? And the bottom line, there is no rational purpose in this, they do it because they can, they do it to show a person his/her insignificance in the face of the repressive machine and the silent Russian space. Not in the British 18th century, but in the Russian 21st century, conviction by transportation continues, and no one will dedicate a line of wine to this cruel tradition".