Catholics In Coalition for Justice and Peace

Blog Post

How a nation adapts to its own murder

Posted 30 Jan 2020 07:00AM

JOHN MENADUE's Pearls and Irritations BLOG, 29 January 2020


RICHARD FLANAGAN. How a nation adapts to its own murder.(NYT 27.1.2020)

Australia is going up in flames and its government calls for resilience while planning for more coal mines.

These words come from it, and they may be your tomorrow: P2 masks, evacuation orders, climate refugees, ocher skies, warning sirens, ember storms, blood suns, fear, air purifiers and communities reduced to thirdworld camps.

Billions of dead animals and birds bloating and rotting. Hundreds of Indigenous cultural and spiritual sites damaged or destroyed by bush fires, so many black Notre Dames — the physical expression of Indigenous Australians’ spiritual connection to the land severed, a final violence after centuries of dispossession.

Everywhere there is a brittle grief, and it may be as much for what is coming as for what is gone.

The dairy farmer Farran Terlich, whose properties in the South Coast were razed in a firestorm that killed two of his friends, described the blaze as “a raging ocean.” “These communities are destroyed across the board,” he said, “and most people are running dead.” Dead, too, is a way of life.

Many homes will not be allowed to be rebuilt in threatened areas. Where they are allowed, they may not be affordable because of new building codes; if built, they may not be insurable. Local economies, like local ecosystems, may never recover.

A new survey estimates that more than half of all Australians have been directly affected by the fires, with millions suffering adverse health effects.