Ashtrayalia burns and something needs to be done about it. New Australian Bulletin was weeks ago spruiking donations to the Rural Fire Service but our humble donations have been outstripped by celebrities, a comedian, and James Packer. Lots and lots of folks around the world are donating money to aid both the fire services and those who’ve been devastated by this epochal disaster.
It’s also a (pardon the pun) hot topic globally, with commentators declaring the fires to be the result of climate change. Thereafter, opposing sides are blaming different parties for more basic factors which might have triggered this mighty inferno to gain political purchase out of the events. It is all textbook stuff.
We have had a prime opportunity to observe the phases of disaster with this one so close to all Australians.
We’ve seen the phase before the impact, what they call the Pre-Disaster Phase, when the danger was in its nascence, a threat not yet fully evolved. Then, when we began to see victims, the impact phase setting in, and with it, the onset of the psychosocial effects, worsened by the skies being transformed from summer blue into an apocalyptic blood-red haze evocative of a post-nuclear fallout.
The air has become unbreathable for many, which, sadly, hasn’t led to a mass exodus by international students and other invaders as we might’ve hoped. We guess that’s too much to ask since they all come from countries with such high pollution rates that even with all the noxious smoke demanding Australians don breathing masks in our major cities it’s still more like alpine air to them.
We have certainly witnessed the Heroic Phase and its characteristic high altruism among those residents of the devastated towns and the ‘hero’ fire services. Heroes from overseas have come to help us, such as those from the United States, and our immediate neighbour, New Zealand.
Social media has provided heroic models for the mainstream media to exploit, in images and videos of ordinary Australians rescuing our distressed wildlife, such as the singed koalas filmed guzzling from water bottles offered by persons who’ve chanced upon the dear critters and had an opportunity to take them away to shelters, which, in the onslaught of all the bad news, signify a sliver of optimism, and help reinforce notions of compassion; much-needed virtue in a raging hellfire with so much destruction and loss of life and material.
Ordinary folks become saviours, and the furry refugees offer optimism among all the early assessments of catastrophe.
We have yet to encounter the Honeymoon Phase, in which survivors feel ‘a short-lived sense of optimism’. Likewise, still to come is the inventory process, where limitations of assistance will become apparent, and the full extent of hardship that must be borne alone by the survivors is realised. Thus, the Disillusionment Phase follows, where those who’ve suffered losses must grapple with their situation amid the dwindling attention of the nation, as the rest of society moves on. This is the hardest period of all for those damaged by events.
Then, as the years pass, the Reconstruction Phase gets underway, as the survivors look back and find that they’ve done all they really can — got on with rebuilding their lives.
That’s about as real as it gets and exactly how it will play out. But there’s interesting anthropological information to ascertain from all of this. For instance, the Woke narrative, which carries half the weight of all current thought, is in the grip of a revival of primitivism.
Those ecological alarmists from cults such as Extinction Rebellion have found a curious fusion, whereby they platform science while they placard medieval doomsaying.
These are contemporary illustrations of where mankind was once long ago when he attempted to compute disasters, inevitably attributing them to acts of God. But on the rightist camp, where Christian fundamentalists and other non-secular actors inhabit their non-scientific beliefs, they also reconcile themselves to viewing these disasters as the work of a higher power.
Pro-Aboriginal voices are already claiming the fires are karmic payback for crimes against the spiritually Woke ‘first peoples.’
However, in the ‘framing of adversity’ which is concerned with the study of disasters we also have examples of thought that came with the forces of Enlightenment Secularism, which concluded that such disasters were ‘acts of nature’.
Nowadays, we mainly attribute them entirely to ‘man’, which is what the Extinction Rebellion provocateurs do (Many fires were deliberately lit by firebugs who thrive during such times). However, they’re not alone, and this is where our poor witless conservative PM Scott Morrison has found himself: since in this scenario the finger of blame points to an individual, and usually one in government. It is they, or business, or others who are held responsible.
Morrison’s major mistakes have been to not heed advice from ex-fire chiefs and to forget his purpose is ultimately symbolic.
Sure, he can’t hold a hose to save his life, he probably can’t even water his garden, but that’s not the point — John Howard, or one of the more consummate actors on the stage of political theatre, would have known when it was time to creep the boards and perform. A crisis is a perfect time to sure-up your personal popularity and notch up higher figures for your party’s approval rating. It’s a no-brainer. This may indeed prove Morrison has no brains, for, in his ‘uh-oh, spaghetti-o’ moment, he forgot the cardinal rule which masters his life.
As for us true blue nationalists, the real nativists concerned with Australian independence, what do we make of it all?
We reckon that this disaster will afford opportunities hitherto not available to the quislings. There have been murmurs about moving Australians off farms and out of areas so that Chinese interests can gain a monopoly on natural resources like water. Morrison has already indicated he’s thinking of a rezoning strategy that would relocate Aussies out of townships on the basis of an omnipresent bushfire threat, but this may provide a screen for the redistribution of land and resources.
Then there is the ‘altruism’ angle which is worth comment with its hero defining. It is and will continue to be, exploited cunningly by migrant groups wishing to imbue their communities with nobility. We have already seen this as a token force of Muslims rolled up to a particular New South Wales area to cook for firefighters, and another hosted a sit-down meal for the ‘heroes’ which was naturally primarily about multicultural propaganda that neither side genuinely bought into.
It is in this way that outsiders will be touted by the media as heroes for simply getting under the feet of emergency services with pungent food that reeks so violently of spices that it actually overwhelms the smoke and is all you can smell.
After that, in the great reckoning, there’ll be scams, hapless victims will be ripped off. The government will be unaccountable about payments and services, pulling them back for some, if not most. Morrison will be keen to return to a ‘budget surplus’ which will require reining in spending on disaster relief, once more outsourcing it to charities. We expect that there’ll be controversy over donations made to the Rural Fire Services, which will be up in the millions. That temptation will be too great for some wretched soul, who’ll divert the money into supporting a newfound lavish lifestyle. This will coincide with the disappearance of ‘victim privilege’ which will be mostly a short-lived and ultimately valueless political currency.
In short, history will be our guide, and the altruism will have been an ember that burned quicker than the fires which will go on. There will be a Royal Commission, which will, in about two years, make recommendations that will be ignored by and large. Immigration will continue, and koalas will become displaced refugees, sitting puzzled on the scorched remains of the rural borders.
There is only one upside to the whole thing and it is not in especially good taste to point it out, however, we shall: soon there’ll be nothing left to burn.