Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Haven't They Suffered Enough?

It's a tragedy that never ends.

Eddie McGuire To Host Bushfire Appeal Telethon

It could have been worse. Daryl Somers is itching to return to Channel Nine.


By Darryl Mason

Okay, yes, that was a bit cruel. But if so many of the survivors of the Victorian holocaust are able to shrug their shoulders, smile and even have a laugh about losing everything, then we can ease up on the griefosity a bit, as well.

The Channel Nine Telethon will, hopefully, raise many millions to help the 4000+ homeless people of country Victoria. They're going to need it. They didn't just lose families, friends and their homes, many also lost their jobs in local farming and tourist-related businesses that were also wiped out. And probably gone forever.

The logistics and costs of finding accommodation for all these homeless people is monumental. Where will they all go? Where will they now find jobs and income and community? The scale of death and destruction, probably 200 people gone and more than 1000 houses, farms and local businesses destroyed, is staggering, but the work to come to help and house all the survivors and get them back into somewhat normal lives is of a task load rarely seen in Australia, at least since Cyclone Tracy.

And the good news out of all of this tragedy? That Australians will go out of their way to help fellow Australians, and show incredible generosity and national community when they're in trouble.....But is this really news?

It's great to see it, but the very same media that continually tells us, preaches to us, on how divided we are from each other, and so very often roars and wails about the 'great chasms' that separate us in our society - teenager vs adult, country vs city, immigrant vs born here, rich vs poor, privileged vs unlucky, Sydney vs Melbourne - now reveals that, what a surprise, most Australians are good people and really do care what happens to all the others, like them, who also share this magnificent, and sometimes extremely cruel, island.

Australia's are reportedly donating $1 million an hour to charities to help the Black Sunday survivors, and the people of Melbourne are now being asked to stop donating food and clothes and tents, as there is no room left in the emergency centres to store the kindness of so many.

Apparently, what survivors really need today is mobile phone chargers. So they can get their one means of communication happening again (since you can't find public telephones fucking anywhere anymore), so they can contact those who don't know if they're alive, so they can get back in touch again with those who love them and worry about them the most.

There's so much news, so many stories, from all this horror, it's easy to get numb and to tune out when you hear the 100th tale of 'How I Survived'. But some stories can still make you choke and shudder a few tears. This is just....so fucking Australian :

The flood-affected residents of Ingham in north Queensland are putting their own problems aside the help the victims of the Victorian bushfires.

The clean-up and recovery in Ingham began this morning after one of the worst floods in the region's history.

About 200 residents lined up at the community recovery centre this morning to receive financial assistance from the Queensland Government to replace items lost in the floods.

Many of them have lost everything but say their plight is insignificant compared to the loss of life and damage caused by the Victorian bushfires.

Communities Department spokesman Peter McCarthy says many of them are giving their grants to help bushfire victims.

'I'm going to give this money straight to the Victorian fire appeal so you may as well write this cheque out to them, not to me'.

So how long will the Attention Of The Nation remain focused on the holocaust in country Victoria? West Australian online newspaper readers appear to have overcome at least some of their National Grief, just enough, to worry instead about Miranda Kerr, and sky stuff :