So. Um. We’re on fire here. Like the whole damn country. Fires on a scale NEVER seen before. Fires deemed ‘unfightable’ burning over millions of hectares of land from one side of the country to the other. With the two hottest months of summer yet to come. We’re safe where I am (so far) but its terrifying no matter where you are.
Led by the most inept man we could find for the job. Prime Minister Scott Morrison swanned off for a Hawaiian holiday right as this situation went from horrific to catastrophic. He’s told victims and volunteers alike on numerous occasions that it sucks that they’ve lost houses and family members and pets, but the Aussies are doing super good in the cricket so at least they can watch that to cheer themselves up! He turned his back on victims when he finally got off his bum and visited devastated towns. Actually physically turned his back on people who lost everything. Because they were angry and he couldn’t deal with it. One woman refused to shake his hand and he grabbed her by the arm and tried to force her to. Just for his happy photo shoot. He’s urging us to not play the blame game. But he’s the top of a pretty big pyramid of idiots who ignored and overlooked this way back when they could have done something to avoid it. We were warned again and again that this fire season was going to be awful. Now its beyond anyone’s worst nightmare and he’s throwing his hands up in the air shirking his share of the responsibility because he’s not a firefighter so what can he do?
Black Saturday was a decade ago. The last worst fire in our history. That one came quite close to where we live, only about a five minute drive away and we had burning embers falling in our yard that day. Black Saturday shook our country, especially Victoria. We were hit hard and you don’t get over it. Every person I know impacted by Black Saturday learned from it. Most of them chose to stay and defend their homes that day and from that experience decided to never take that chance again. People evacuate now. It isn’t worth dying. Pack a few things you can’t replace and get out before you can’t get out. People learned from Black Saturday. Why didn’t the government? It became so clear what was possible and absolutely NOTHING was done to prevent it from happening again.
Its not all bad though. The ‘aussie spirit’ that we’re famous for is visible even through the ever present smoke. In a couple of days we’ve donated enough supplies to overwhelm pretty much every charity we have. I do question how a bunch of nobody’s can be stocked and ready to mobilise in 48 hours but the government with endless resources can’t?
There isn’t much anyone can do now. We look after the victims. We donate money and food and water and supplies where we can. And we wait for the rain. We’re exhausted, we’re frightened, we’re angry, we’re frustrated, we’re changed forever again, we’re at an absolute loss but we go on. Again. I’d actually really like to see co-ordinated parties in major cities. Rain dance parties. All rain themed songs where people can get together and hurt and vent and scream cathartically and dance out the tension. And maybe raise some much needed cash at the same time because we all know our leaders can’t spare any to save us.