As the death toll, horrific injuries, homelessness and environmental desecration increases every moment a news screenpage on the Victoria bushfires refreshes itself it is extremely difficult to think of anything else right now. I've cried so much this morning reading and seeing story after story, face after face reeling in shock, disbelief and bewilderment at their fate. I cried because I felt so ashamed at wallowing in my own petty whingeings yesterday when my now-home-state is suffering so terribly.
However, amongst all the hell, the good, the strong and the miraculous stories of survival, bravery and determination to start again are emerging. Even here, many kilometres away in the safety of Melbourne there are still some things to be proud of.
The Red Cross Bushfire Appeal is going strong. So strong, in fact, that their website is frequently jammed with donators and they're asking us to try again and be patient. I'm sure that no-one is 'Chucking a Connex' and complaining about their lousy internet provider or delays in service but will be prepared to log on later with their credit card details and blood type.
In addition, it seems that thousands of Victorians have heeded our girl River's advice to give blood, with the Red Cross' Chief Executive saying that "It's been overwhelming..... our resources are stretched.... it has been the single greatest interest we have to do a single event in the history of the blood service."
With blood having a rather limited shelf life and those shelves now full of the fresh stuff, Red Cross are asking that people stagger their donations by registering online. This will enable bloodbank staff to contact the donator when their blood is needed. "Giving a blood donation can save up to three lives," their CEO said.
One look at the poor man in the Burns Unit in the article alongside The Age's blood donor story is enough to realise that blood (among other things) will be needed for a very long time. His physical, emotional and mental agonies are only just beginning; let alone what might have become of other people found with him, alive or dead.
To think that these fires - still burning and likely to do so for a few more weeks - were deliberately lit by arsonists lies beyond my area of coherent reasoning. I don't believe in the death penalty, but if found, these morally stagnant shitbags should be forced to not only clear up the burned debris from all the homes, farms, community buildings and business that burned down, but also clean, disinfect and lovingly prepare every single bandage needed for those poor souls suffering in burns units.
They could do all of the above whilst donating their own blood, having their fresh skin scrubbed and scraped off and their other vital organs such as kidneys given to those who need it and deserve it more than they do.
Then, when those 'services' are no longer required, they can be set to digging out trenches for the installation of rainwater tanks and pipes that will enable every home and business to protect themselves from future firebugs. With their bare hands.
Then, and only then, the arsonists can atone by visiting each and every person affected by the disaster to apologise before replanting the ash-strewn land with regenerative and native species of plants that are used to fire and tough Australian summers.
......Or am I being too harsh?