There’s been a lot of reports in the news lately about the events happening in Queensland. I do not watch the news, or read newspapers, or listen to radio, or read internet articles. The reason I know about it is because people everywhere are talking about it. Their hearts are breaking. They are breaking. 15 people killed, 61 missing… Near-total destruction to homes, cars, and livelihood…
I’m having a little trouble empathising. To me, the floods in Queensland are a terrible but natural disaster. There is little that could have been done to stop it, and the people, like the water, must go with the flow. To yield so that they do not break, like grass in a storm. It is part of life, and I am suspicious that it is an indirect cause of human action through things like global warming, chemical pollutants or some other environmentally destructive lifestyle. I do not know for certain, and I am certainly not trying to blame the victims: it is indeed a most tragic and devastating event to effect 30 000 people directly, and many more indirectly. But 15 dead? Really? Is that the death count after the first few days? Let’s assume 100 people die by the end of this… Is that really any kind of dent on the human population? Can it even begin to compare to the 40 000 children that die every day from starvation? (At least, I think it was 40 000. I remember working it out to be one every three seconds. By the time you’ve read this sentence someone else has died of hunger around the world.) Or the person who gets maimed by a landmine every fifteen minutes? The countless deaths caused by preventable disease?
I do not wish to sound heartless, but once again I do not understand what Australia is mourning for. Natural disasters happen across the globe. Human disasters happen everywhere, every moment of the day. Why do we only care when it’s us?
I think that I am a unique person to take so little interest in the world outside my life. News, even news directly affecting me, matters little. I just accept what I hear and I carry on living as if I hadn’t heard it, or making minor adjustments to my way of life to avoid breaking the new law or to keep slightly healthier. Why doesn’t it make a bigger impact on me??
At any rate, good on anyone who has gone out of their way to contribute to the cause of coming together to heal through love and support. It should be done much more frequently, but it’s a start.
And, at the very least, I think it’s a beautiful way to wash out the house and give everything a fresh start. I doubt the reality is as poetic, but it seems deeply cleansing to me.