Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Pacific Scoop

Following the Balibo massacre’s whale

Shooting Balibo

Volume 15, Issue 2

October, 2009

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O'Donnell, M. (2009). Following the Balibo massacre's whale. Pacific Journalism Review, 15(2): 210-213. Review of Shooting Balibo: Blood and Memory in East Timor, by Tony Maniaty. Sydney: Viking, 2009, 320 pp. ISBN 9780670073580.
Author(s): Marcus O'Donnell
Reviewed book by: Tony Maniaty
Publication date: 
October, 2009

Early on in Tony Maniaty’s Shooting Balibo we come across Herman Melville, Michelangelo Antonioni and John Dos Passos. We quickly get the message that this is as much a journey of the imagination as it is a travelogue, memoir or investigation. Maniaty tells us that when he went to East Timor as an ABC reporter in 1975, just before the ill-fated journalists, his travel reading was Melville’s Moby Dick. Here we get a sense of the young journalist’s ambition, his questing commitment to follow the story, just as Ahab follows his whale.