Thursday, February 12, 2009

Your Dream Is That Gun In Your Hand.

You know what I remembered the other day? I was reading the paper, scanning through the twenty pages of obituaries, trying not to cry into my weetbix for the fifth day in a row, looking at all the photos of destruction and suffering and pain. It's not every week we're confronted with such terror. And then I remembered Gaza.

And then, a couple of pages further on, I discover that Benjamin Netanyahu is about to take power in Israel. A man who refuses to consider a two-state solution in Palestine. A man who has never even claimed to be interested in peace in the middle east.

The fires in the Yarra Ranges have flared up again this morning. The roads I used to ride two or three times a week now wind through scenes of devastation rarely seen in this country. Disparate communities are pulling together - punks are organising benefit shows, couriers organising benefit alleycats, everyone passing the hat around, donating their blood and emptying their wallets.

It seems, however, that we only react this way to fleeting natural disasters. When the destruction is caused by humans, when it is deliberate and systematic and continual, we shake our heads and keep our hands in our pockets. According to Human Rights Watch:

"The fighting in Gaza from December 27, when Israel began its military operation, until Israel and Hamas unilaterally declared ceasefires on January 18, left some 1,300 Palestinians dead and more than 5,000 wounded, 40 percent of them children and women. In addition, the casualties included an undetermined number of male civilians not taking part in hostilities. "

Perhaps - and this is an idea so crazy it might just work - when all the pictures of that koala have faded from our collective memories we could continue to be generous. We could continue to work together to ease suffering, by donating our money, our time, and even our blood.

1 comment:

nat said...

Do you think our lack of action has more to do with "natural" v's "human-made" disasters or whether it's "close by" v's "the other side of the fucking world". I tend to think it's more the latter (we don't seem to do much about poverty in Africa where starving Africans don't have a well funded propaganda machine). Also, with natural disasters there is no moral ambiguity - dying by being burnt sucks. In human conflict the moral shades of grey becomes larger (Though I always get confused as to who it is now trendy to support over there these days anyway).