Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The Other Ashes
There seems to be some sort of debate around at the moment about people visiting those areas of Victoria recently ravaged by bushfires.
Where to start?
On a single page of today's Herald Sun there were articles championing Kinglake residents' right to privacy. This is noble. Surely for a population that has lost not only every material possession but also friends and family and pets, just allowing them space to get back to their devastated homes and begin the process of grieving and rebuilding is about as much as we can now do for them.
However below that is another article championing Premier Brumby's initiative of spending some millions of dollars in advertising to "get people back" to these areas as tourists to support the desperate communities. And locals bemoaning the fact that every day they're not trading is another step closer to insolvency or foreclosure.
So what in the sam hell are we supposed to do?
You can't be asking good intentioned folk, many of whom have already donated generous amounts to bushfire relief efforts, to visit your town to spend more money - and then go flipping them the finger and yelling at them to fuck off back home.
And to the good intentioned folk who for some reason simply must visit the devastation first hand so you can see what it's like? What sort of human being are you? The streets have only just reopened for residents and you want to go sticking your nose in to their misery in some perversely macabre fashion. Just because you donated money to the cause does not give you a front row ticket to the aftermath.
Here's the scoop, people. Get back to business. Don't trespass. Don't gawk. Don't pry. Hell, don't even visit unless you have a reason that is as valid now as it would have been had the fires never happened.
I just don't understand some people.