Photo of evacuees on the beach at Bateman’s Bay, from the Twitter account of Alistair Prior.
This is the beach at Malacoota, on the Victoria side of the border. Photo taken from the Twitter account of Bluesfestblues.
This is, or was, the historic township of Cobargo, NSW. Three people are unaccounted for. Photo taken from the Twitter account of Siobhan Heanue.
Despite being ringed by fire, despite whole communities huddled on beaches watching their towns burn, despite the growing death toll due to these unprecedented fires…the Sydney Fireworks will go ahead.
What are we celebrating, exactly?
Both Gladys Berejiklian [Premier of NSW] and Clover Moore [Major of Sydney] have made glib remarks about ‘community’, and staging the fireworks for the community.
But which community? The ones with no homes to return to? The ones who’ve lost loved ones to these fires? The ones watching their towns burn even as I write these words?
Those communities don’t have tv’s to watch, but even if they did, do we honestly think they’ll enjoy watching pretty fireworks when their own skies are red with flame and ash?
Do we really think the fireworks will make the victims feel better?
Ah, but Clover Moore says she hopes the fireworks will make people donate to the victims…
Does she really think Australians are that callous, that selfish, that uncaring?
We didn’t need fireworks to donate after Black Saturday. We gave and we gave and we gave. We gave until it hurt because we all knew someone who knew someone who died in the fires, or lost everything. So much less than 6 degrees of separation.
We gave out of shock, out of survivor guilt, out of a genuine desire to help.
But it was more than that. We gave because it was the only way we could show our solidarity, our respect.
We gave as a way to mourn.
It was Australia and Australians at their very best.
No, the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Sydney have nothing to do with community, or caring. They’re all about the tourist dollar, and as such, they are obscene.
We are better than this.
I won’t be watching any fireworks, anywhere in Australia, because we are still burning. Every state, including my own. And things are likely to get worse as the fire season progresses.
There is nothing to celebrate this year. Not a single, bloody thing.